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olegunny 31-08-2010 07:01

Foreign Capts
In receipt of you e-mail. I don't recall making any comment concerning foreign flag vessels and their Captains. The only problem i can see of them would be one of communications. With the small crews aboard that could perhaps present some problems. Other than that I am sure their assistance would be most welcome.


Originally Posted by goboatingnow (Post 512555)
Thats a rather unfair assessment of "foreign" captains.

Pelagic, I put your methods to a commercial capitan, He does not agree.

Firstly no ship will approach the yacht per say. WHat they do is provide a lee and if the yacht has power then it approaches. Only if the yacht is dead in the water does the ship approach.

The transfer, as already stated, is the most difficult, and in practice you will have to accept that your yacht may be trashed in the process.

Its worth noting that in the 2009 ARC, there where two transfer to ships,one at night , both where completed succesfully ( both were foreign). In one the yacht life raft was used , but it was regarded as a very hair raising process, that alomost resulted in the loss of the person.

The commercial capitan said that deploying ships liferafts is a complete no no as they are not designed to be retrieved by the ship, and in most cases are bigger then the yacht.

Often using scrambling nets is the only option and usually that results in damage to the yacht, usually the rigging comes down.

There is no safe way. the yacht liferaft is frought with dangers and was regarded by the yachts skipper as a desperate last resort as they needed to maintain a sea worthy yacht. The ARC transfer took over two hours to actually complete!.

The best method is that the ship lowers a RIB or boat and does the pickup, but lots of commercial ships dont have thoses faclities or the conditions prevent deployment.

In practice in a complete abandonement will more then likely result in severe damage to the yacht alongside.

As to who controls the rescue, actually under GMDSS rules , the control of a rescue is handled to the "on scene commander" and in practice and in the absence of specific rescue personell, that will be the commercial ships master, not you the rescurer. You as the yachts skipper can obviously request help be provided in a particular way , but untilmately the rescuer controls the rescue.


Pelagic 31-08-2010 07:01


Thought I was having déjà vu since my post was written in 2008.

Ironically there is a video illustrating exactly what we are talking about in the recent capsize thread and subsequent rescue. See others comment in post 331 of

The rescue methods you describe are fraught with danger, and the advice you were given by your captain friend only underlines what I stated that most commercial freighter captains do not appreciate that the greatest moment of danger to the crew being rescued would be if they created a potential crush point between the ship’s hull and the foundering yacht.

There are a number of ways to make a soft transfer between ship and yacht and in extreme conditions floating a life raft (not lifeboat) down to the yacht can make for a safer transfer of already injured or stressed yacht crew.

Life rafts can easily be retrieved by ship’s crew and I have used that method myself in an offshore rescue in extreme conditions.

But perhaps some commercial captains don’t want to risk company equipment and will try to get the yacht alongside. :rolleyes:

The “Foreign” issue relates more to language barriers but also levels of training in 3rd world Certificates of Competency

What I am advocating to yacht crew is to be proactive in managing your own rescue in the safest way possible and to avoid the creation of a crush point if that appears to be what the well meaning rescuer intends to do.

Once you are on board, you are in their hands, but up until then, it is still the yacht captain’s responsibility to take care of his crew.

I don’t say this from just reading books, but with a long career as a professional captain (Master Mariner) and yachtsman, I have rescued and been rescued.

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