Search, rescue and survival

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  • 22 Jan 2020 00:28
    Reply # 8645535 on 8567997

    On the topic of fire extinguishers. Locate them near the companionway.Best practice is to get to safety then consider if you want to attack the fire. Nothing worse that having a developing fire between you and fresh air. 

  • 21 Jan 2020 16:17
    Reply # 8641598 on 8567997

    We are of course straying from the original question of the utility/relevance of pyrotechnics, and other ways to seek help.  I tend to think of flares as being most useful for close quarters where there are other vessels able to assist - sometimes just to show which of the yachts out here radio'd a Mayday.  But I don't like them.  David raised the point that a fire extinguisher is sensible - too right; fire is a real concern onboard.  And the thought of a drawer-full of flares going up isn't pretty.

    [I feel I'm more likely to want to abandon ship because of fire than because of sinking.  But I can't justify that feeling]

    But back off-topic.  I recall the story of the usefulness of audio signalling equipment in Kincardine, Ontario, on the Great Lakes.  The story goes that in 1856 on a cold October day, a small ship left the Port of Goderich bound for Kincardine with Donald Sinclair and his immigrant Scottish family aboard. As the ship approached Point Clark, the sky turned black and a strong breeze started to blow out of the west, churning up the waters of Lake Huron. Late afternoon turned to dusk as the vessel slowly made its way north along the shore, and the captain began to fear that he would not make Kincardine before nightfall.

    Concerned for his family, Donald Sinclair retired to the ship’s hold, prayed for safe passage, and then retrieved his bagpipes and started to play a lament. The heavy drone of the pipes along with their sharp melody drifted across the waters to Kincardine and prompted a fellow Scotsman to join in the lament. Hearing the second piper, the captain was certain he was nearing Kincardine and was able to safely follow the sound into the harbour. For many years after his family’s safe voyage, Donald Sinclair could be found at dusk at the harbour, where he would be piping down the sun in honor of the Phantom Piper who had saved his family.


  • 21 Jan 2020 01:48
    Reply # 8635267 on 8633112
    Anonymous wrote:

    One of the things that astonishes me is that when you decide to be responsible for your own life and death, you are invariably referred to as irresponsible.

    Perhaps a "dog tag". This be Sailor Sam, I chose to go sailing alone and when I got into trouble I chose not to waste resources getting someone to save me. Please dispose of this body in the most environmentally friendly fashion as I no longer have need of it.
  • 20 Jan 2020 20:42
    Reply # 8633112 on 8567997

    I suspect the skirl of the Great Pipes would carry further than most foghorns!  Great idea.

    I strongly object to any mandatory equipment on small craft beyond those in COLREGS.   Quite honestly, with the world going up in flames, the oceans filling up with jellyfish and species dying out at an unprecedented rate, I think Our Masters should stop making stupid laws to limit people's freedom and get on with ensuring that the next generation still has an inhabitable planet to live on!

    One of the things that astonishes me is that when you decide to be responsible for your own life and death, you are invariably referred to as irresponsible.

    I accept that I am in a tiny minority.  These are my views and I have no intention of foisting the way I choose to live on others.

  • 19 Jan 2020 13:39
    Reply # 8619715 on 8567997


    I agree, there are some vaguenesses in the PDF. I suspect that they mean that nav lights etc are mandatory to comply with COLREGS rather than SOLAS V. Yes, the firefighting equipment is only mandatory on inland waters, but I wouldn't want to be without an extinguisher in any case.

    That type of foghorn is excellent. Makes a very loud noise, emanating from both ends of it, with only a light puff into the hole in the side. Can those instruments of war claim to be similarly bi-directional, without the drone?

    Last modified: 19 Jan 2020 13:45 | Anonymous member
  • 19 Jan 2020 13:29
    Reply # 8619634 on 8619359
    David wrote:


    The other mandatory items are nav lights, day shape (anchor ball), sound signalling equipment, firefighting equipment. No argument from me with any of that.

    Are you sure about that?  I know the RYA list them as mandatory in the PDF you linked, but elsewhere they say "For Pleasure Vessels of less than 13.7 metres in length there are no statutory requirements for safety equipment other than those required under SOLAS V." (ie radar reflector and list of signals).

    I'm deliberately being picky because the RYA are being far from clear.  The link to nav lights points to a page that doesn't exist on their site.  The link to fire fighting equipment points to the Boat Safety Scheme, which is solely for inland waterways.

    I like the lack of regulation in the UK that gives us the responsibility for our own safety.  I get annoyed when organisations like the RYA try to claim there is more regulation than there is. 

    Rant over (and it's a rant at the RYA, not you David!)

    ps I see your sound signalling equipment.  I have been known to carry one of these on Black Sheep, but I need to disable the bass drone to comply with Annex III of colregs...

  • 19 Jan 2020 12:41
    Reply # 8619359 on 8567997

    This topic has got me reviewing the Mandatory, Recommended and Discretionary items that I should carry aboard, and I now have on order an inflatable Echomax radar reflector

    There's no way at all that I want to be encumbered with a radar reflector in clear fine weather, but it's mandatory to have one aboard, and I might be glad of one if I find myself in thick weather in a shipping lane. An inflatable one that spends most of its life in a pouch seems to fill the bill.

    The other mandatory items are nav lights, day shape (anchor ball), sound signalling equipment, firefighting equipment. No argument from me with any of that.

  • 19 Jan 2020 12:26
    Reply # 8619258 on 8583176
    Annie wrote:
    David wrote: That is unless one is in a boat of 6 meters or less in which case everyone must wear an approved life jacket whilst the vessel is underway. If you are in a vessel of 6.1 meters in length, or more, there is no need to wear the life jacket, so perhaps that extra .1 of a meter renders the vessel safe?! 
    Which means, of course, that Shane Acton, who sailed one and a half times around the world in the 18'4"/5.6m Shrimpy, would have had to wear his life jacket all the time he was sailing, even if he was having a quick snooze on his bunk!  John Guzzwell,on the other hand, would be OK in Trekka.  Of course, some local councils say you must wear the life jacket at all times, which would mean that poor Shane could never take his off.
    Countries are quite entitled to make regulations about how vessels are to conduct themselves - but only within their own territorial waters. Once a vessel passes the 12 mile line into international waters, the high seas, those regulations no longer apply. Shane could have taken off his lifejacket and heaved a sigh a of relief as he left NZ waters. In UK waters, the wearing of a lifejacket would have been at his discretion. I almost never wear mine aboard Weaverbird (but wear a safety belt and tether when appropriate), but almost always wear it in the kayak.
  • 17 Jan 2020 20:08
    Reply # 8603868 on 8567997

    Careful with expired flares. A fellow I sailed with sustained bad burns to his hand when an expired flare simply vomited its inflammable contents upon ignition.

  • 16 Jan 2020 08:48
    Reply # 8588941 on 8588213
    Anonymous wrote:

    A few days ago a 15 m sailboat was in trouble on the south coast of Britanny after crossing the golfe de Gascogne, with no electricity for the chart plotter, the vhf, and no means of communication until they can phone near shore. They were wrong of 23 miles with their position, and they have been locating only after firing their flares.

    Why they don't have an EPIRB, or why they don't use the GPS on their phone, I don't know, but in this situation the flares were useful.


    Sounds as of they were very ill prepared to me. Flares are all very good if someone os nearby to see them. New Zealand has some very isolated coastlines, and do many parts of the world so depending only on flares for rescue is leaving a lot to 'chance'.
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