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Old 09-03-2019, 10:57 AM   #1
davej
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Boat safety in lieu of the fire

Hi Guys,
After watching the news the last few days got me thinking about safety on boats. Over the years I have had a few close calls but all ended well due to good planning and cool heads. This applies for all boats but want all the guys jumping on private small craft to be aware that those go down frequently and your survival will depends on what boat you get on and how safe the captain is.

Before you get on a boat.
  • The captain should give you a run down of all the safety features, fire extinguishers, radios, etc. This should include what to do if the captain is incapacitated. How to run the boat.

  • Know where the life jackets are and how to use them. Same for life rafts it the boat has them.
  • Know where the boat ditch bag is, See this site for what it should contain https://www.westmarine.com/WestAdvis...ng-a-Ditch-Bag
  • Know where the exits are and how to use them
  • know the boat and where its going. If you have a buddy who has a 14 rib and wants to take to SCI, prob not a safe match for that boat and you should pass
  • Bring your own ditch bag, Have a waterproof radio with GPS, flash light, knife(I carry a leatherman multitool) signal devices, water and some basics ready to go and easy to get to at all times. inflatable life vest. Its worth the money but carry your own epirb https://www.westmarine.com/personal-...r-beacons-plbs
  • file a float plan, This could be as simple as telling a few friends where you are going, with who, include boat name, type, size. Where you are going and when you should be back.
  • Check the weather, Not just the day you are going but the day after. If something goes wrong and a search needs to happen to save you having good weather is key. Going out the day before a small craft advisory is a bad idea.


Bottom line don't just jump on someones boat because they say they have room and going after BFT. Vet the captain and boat. If they get offended that you are asking questions you don't want to be on that boat.

I am sure others will add what I missed.
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Old 09-03-2019, 12:00 PM   #2
joshrau
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Re: Boat safety in lieu of the fire

All good advice, Dave.

I would add that since Epirbs are registered to the boat, a PLB is perfect for a personal ditch bag that you bring from boat to boat along with you. They're registered to an individual. They're much smaller and lighter. The battery is only guaranteed for 24 hours (there might be some with longer batteries). So they're only intended for coastal water, but that's where we are all diving for the most part anyway. I got a pair of name brand PLBs for 150 bucks on craigslist from somebody ending a year of sailing/cruising. They're also appropriate and intended for on-land uses, I bring mine if I'm going to be off trail in the sierras, or other places where a simple sprained ankle could end up fatal without help.

They operate on the same satellites as epirbs and are just as accurate. I keep mine in my pocket on all offshore sailing passages. When you have that 4am shift at the helm and the rest of the crew is asleep, it's nice to know that if somehow I'm stupid enough to unclip to make a sail change and then fall off, I have a fighting chance of being found. It's about the size of one of those old Nokia phones from the early 2000s, so very easy to carry it on your body somewhere.
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Old 09-03-2019, 12:13 PM   #3
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Re: Boat safety in lieu of the fire

Thanks for the correction Josh, I also carry a spot device which is sat based and works on land as well.
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Old 09-03-2019, 03:22 PM   #4
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Re: Boat safety in lieu of the fire

Quote:
Originally Posted by davej View Post
Thanks for the correction Josh, I also carry a spot device which is sat based and works on land as well.
Oh yeah, spots are great. Definitely could replace my PLB suggestion with a spot suggestion instead, they accomplish the same goal, plus spot is fun since you can use it for some non emergency messages as well.
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Old 09-03-2019, 04:08 PM   #5
Otis Driftwood
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Re: Boat safety in lieu of the fire

I have had Spot devices and a Garmin in reach. The coverage is much better with the garmin.
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Old 09-04-2019, 10:34 AM   #6
joshrau
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Re: Boat safety in lieu of the fire

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Originally Posted by Otis Driftwood View Post
I have had Spot devices and a Garmin in reach. The coverage is much better with the garmin.
I'm curious where you didnt have coverage? Both claim full coverage everywhere in the world except for a few mid ocean locations. Of course, they cover themselves with saying its "98% effective" coverage or something like that.
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Old 09-04-2019, 12:53 PM   #7
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Re: Boat safety in lieu of the fire

I give a safety rundown to all passengers beginning with asking what is the most important piece of safety gear onboard a boat?
The answer might surprise some of you. It is the anchor.
First, when things hit the fan and your engine fails and you are drifting towards the rocks, toss the anchor in.
Second, you need a really good anchor 'system'. If you are all on the bottom it could be disconcerting to come up with your boat on the horizon. It should have chain at least the length of the boat to keep it from being 'walked' into deep water by the bow bobbing up and down. At absolute minimum, it should be long enough for a 3:1 scope.
Third you should have a couple backup anchors, possibly a 'rock' anchor and definitely a 'sea anchor'. If your engine fails mid-channel, you will likely find yourself broadside to the swell - not good. Tossing out a sea anchor will keep you afloat until help arrives.
Fourth, you should always secure the anchor rope to the boat before tossing it out. I got my main anchor for free - diving just off Santa Cruz where people anchor.
My 'ditch system' consisted of a tow tube lightly attached to the top of the pilot house with just a bit of air. The theory was that it would break loose in case of capsize but not blow away too fast to retrieve.
EDIT:
Forgot to mention about attaching the anchor. It should have an honest-to-goodness splice with a stainless thimble and clevises to connect line to chain and chain to anchor. You should also run a wire thru the clevis screw to secure it from unscrewing. I used marine epoxy on the threads rather than loctite as well. A quick hit with a propane torch will undo the epoxy.
As for the rock anchor, there is a method to 'double hitch' it such that the main connection will break away under full engine power, leaving the extra one on the front to pull it backwards out of a jam.
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Last edited by PigStikr; 09-04-2019 at 01:06 PM.
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Old 09-06-2019, 11:23 PM   #8
Bob Ballew
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Re: Boat safety in lieu of the fire

All good bits of advice....If everyone is in the water, do not use a wired break away anchor that flips over and pulls loose when enough force is applied...They are ok for fishing on board wherein no one can dive it up, but, will get you in lots of trouble otherwise..
...Then, it is big bilge pumps set up for automatic float and manual use...the smaller the boat, the bigger the pump should be...floats eventually fail, so, manual is necessary backup for emergencies..
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