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Old 13-04-2010, 08:43   #16
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bottom paint

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Please consider using brightly colored bottom paint, even if you only use it on the keel. In a single day last summer I responded to two capsized boats. The weather was absolutely perfect, the sun was up, and the boats were 25 and 38 feet long. They both had the typical blue bottom paint, and I could not see either of them until I was within a quarter mile or so. Blue bottom paint is camouflage, and camouflage is not helpful when you want to be found.
I'm guessing that the advice about brightly colored bottom paint is far more important for multihulls than monohulls.
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Old 13-04-2010, 09:06   #17
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why we threw away our 121.5 EPIRBS

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ELTs are not useless. I’ve seen several posts on the internet about how 121.5MHz transmitters are no longer useful, and some posts even directed readers to throw them away! Crazy.
Mine went into e-waste disposal at the point that the batteries were dead and the manufacturer no longer would service them. Like mine, a lot of these devices had been purchased in the mid-1990's, and were long past the expiration dates for the battery packs.

It wasn't just "posts" advising people to dump their old 121.5 EPIRBS. In my case, that advice came from a Coast Guard Auxiliary inspector who saw an older unit sitting next to my flare kit.
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Old 13-04-2010, 09:21   #18
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If the device no longer works, then of course dispose of them. If it does still work and you need to be rescued, take solice in the fact that I will be listening for it in the helicopter.
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Old 13-04-2010, 10:42   #19
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For those travelling in Canadian waters, I'll add our list of Coast Guard contact info for reference: Incident Reporting - Canadian Coast Guard - Canadian Coast Guard and some areas, apparently, will also respond to *16 on a cellphone. For an emergency, though, I agree that the VHF is far superior to cellphones.

Thanks again, "Prerequisite", for the excellent tips. I'll share my thoughts on two of my favourites:

Big boats far away: Let the CG know BEFORE you actually have a serious situation. Someone gets hurt, or the weather turns ugly, but you think you can deal with it? Call them anyway, non-emergency on a working channel. Now they have your position and have already mapped out what units could reach you if the situation does escalate. And if nothing happens, no harm done and no money wasted.

Little boats (the kind I spend my time in): The time you have to respond to an emergency will be on the order of five seconds or less between the first sign of trouble and when you end up in the water beside a flipped, half-sunken boat. You don't get an opportunity to put lifejackets on, or to brace for impact, or any other pre-disaster prep: you have to be ready all the time.

And yes, just about anything goes as distress signals if need be- 121.5 transmitters, flapping your arms like a bird, even gunshots or fire in a bucket, if that's all you have. You're trying to attract attention, by any means possible.
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Old 13-04-2010, 13:06   #20
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Well Jef you have encouraged me to put in a little. I am now retired but was a cox'n on a RNLI lifeboat for a few years and have spent nearly 30 years trying to get the message over to people about safety. I was asked to give a speach about yacht safety to a yacht club and asked them what the average they spent in the bar over a season. The response was from £300 to £1000.Then I asked them how much they spent on safety equipment on their yachts. The answer was simular. So I put this to them. For the price of the bar bill they could buy a cheap waterproof H/H GPS,a Waterproof H/H VHF and a pack of personal flares. My wife and I carry these in our waterproofs at ALL times and should one of us go over board we can contact the yacht that we have fallen off. I asked the local lifeboat to run a test with a few friends and this is how it went. In winds of F5 we got a volonteer to jump over board without the helmsman knowing and then he contacted the yacht by VHF gave his possition and we recovered him by seeing his flare which he fires when he saw the mast apprching. The total recovery time ws 26mins.
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Old 13-04-2010, 14:34   #21
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Pre- I have a question for you. I have just been out sailing (more than once) and found a person or group of people in the water close to drowning. Other than picking them up and getting them back to port, what should I be doing over the VHF?
The last kayaker I picked up (he was being pushed out away from land) barely even said thanks as he untied his kayak from our boat, got into his car and drove away. I wondered what people were out looking for him and who or what I should call.
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Old 13-04-2010, 14:39   #22
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[QUOTE=Wotname;436245]Thanks Jeff for taking the time to post this


Jim,

Not sure where you read the article but I am 99.99999% sure it (the article) was WRONG.

1. AMSA does not control the radio spectrum in Australia, freq.use comes under the Radio Communications Act (1992) and AFAIK there has been no change to the act. Also the proviso in the act that any freq. may be used in an emergency remains.

2. AMSA website advises that after 1 Feb, 2010, older analogue 121.5 EPIRBs and PLBs will no longer be LICENCED for use. http://beacons.amsa.gov.au/essential_info.html

My reading of this is:
1. 121.5 MHz remains a valid distress frequency.
2. An old analogue 121.5 MHz EPIB or PLB can't be licenced.
3. The use of such a transmitter in a genuine distress situation remains legal (under the controlling act).

It seems to me that there is an increasing amount of mis-information dished up in semi official publications every year - or perhaps I am just a cranky pedantic old bastard .

Well, G'Day you CPOB!

The reference is not to an article, but an advertisement from AMSA itself, published on p.47 of the March issue of AFLOAT, a free publication concerning boating on the east coast of your country. They have a circulation of over 32,000 copies monthly, so it gets wide attention.
And my quotation is verbatim: "From 1 February 2010 it will be illegal to use a 121.5 MHz distress beacon FOR ANY PURPOSE" (my emphasis).

So, I'm concerned that the wrong message is getting out, and that info like JEff's is far more significant than bureaucratic BS.

Cheers,

Jim
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Old 13-04-2010, 18:21   #23
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Newt,
If the person you save is OK and all they want is to be brought back to shore, there's not a lot more you can do... -UNLESS you are leaving their boat behind (because it's capsized, sinking, on fire, simply broken, etc), call the CG on VHF and let us know. Tell us the type of boat (the best description you can give- it doesn't need to be perfect), where it is, the time you last saw it, it's condition, the color, and local winds and current if you can. That will help us avoid starting a new search later in the day when another good samaritan reports seeing a capsized boat with nobody aboard!

If they need medical attention or there are more people still missing in the water, immediately contact the CG or another similar type agency (marine police, etc) and request assistance. They will either arrange for an ambulance to meet you on shore, send an asset out to you to reduce the time that passes until medical attention is provided, or provide more assets to augment the search for the remaining missing people.

Hope this helps,
Jeff
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Old 13-04-2010, 20:38   #24
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Regarding the ungrateful kayaker

I'm wondering if it might not be a bad idea to contact the CG anyway, with his name, or at least a description? That way if the guy stops for a beer on his way home and meanwhile his family calls and reports him missing, it might avoid an un-necessary search. Or at least moves the Point Last Seen onshore.

I'm a member of a local volunteer (land) SAR group. When a search is started, we often also start a "bastard" search where we check nearby bars, campgrounds, etc. The term comes from "What, you mean we spent all night thrashing around in the brush and rain looking for him, and that BASTARD was in the bar drinking beer the whole time?"
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Old 13-04-2010, 23:18   #25
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This sounds like a good idea, and one that I will incorporate into the situation. I will inform the USCG that my vessel has picked up so and so and the disposition of their vessel and perhaps the current coordinates. If they want to meet me or want me to do anything else I'm sure they will tell me...
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