Originally Posted by Rustic Charm
There are those on here, as I have on numerous occasions, smelt a deceased person. There is no ability to keep the deceased on board. No living human being would be able to stand it and the example someone gave of the lady who left the body on board and went to the dingy is an example of that. Anyone suggesting you would leave it on board has simply not been there. And oddly, there is something quite different to the smell of a human than that of an animal.
If someone dies on my vessel and I'm five hundred miles out then that to me would be justification for an epirb
to be set off and a mayday. And I don't believe any rescue
organisation would criticise it. I'm not qualified to declare someone dead for a start. With that sort of emergency
response, you just might be able to get within reach of a rescue
before needing to dispose of the body.
In college I had a part time job next to a hospital morgue...nothing stinks like a long dead human. Was there when they brought in a few murder victims whose bodies had not been discovered quickly...whew! Agree, no way that keeping the body on a small boat
is a viable option.
I would not view a death as a MAYDAY situation. There is no emergency
...they are dead. An EPIRB will illicit an emergency response, for nothing more than a body recovery. I think communication with authorities over SSB
or other comm method would be a more appropriate response.
In many venues, a foreigner showing up under such circumstances would be seen as a golden opportunity by some. So, I would definately also contact the nearest embassy and discuss with them. I would feel much more comformtable if emabassy staff and/or legal
representation were at hand for our landfall. An advantage of being a US Citizen is that we still have Embassys all over the place.
Contacting the Coasties could potentially be useful too. They patrol in many international venues (common here along the Central America
coast). If they had a vessel nearby, or even on your planned route
, they could potentially recover and stow the body. Having them come aboard, document the death, and handle it in a official capacity could alleviate a lot of headaches for you down the road. Showing up in port with a Coastie escort is likely to dramatically dampen any opportunistic plans by local authorities.
Another factor to consider is the deceased's survivors. For some, actually seeing the body helps with closure. Given that storing the body while far offshore on a small boat
is not feasible, this might be a good subject to discuss with crews family
members before departure and get their perspective.