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Old 06-09-2016, 10:40 AM   #1
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20 hours in the water with no PFD

... I seriously doubt I'd make it.

Fisherman Falls Overboard, Rescued After Treading for 20 Hours * | Field & Stream
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Old 06-09-2016, 12:24 PM   #2
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... I seriously doubt I'd make it.
More miraculous to me is them seeing him. As to lasting 20 hours, possible, but most people would not. There is a course taught at some colleges, called "Drownproofing." First developed at Georgia Tech in 1940. Used by Navy, Marines and Coast Guard. It's a good technique if the water isn't cold. It involves using the body's natural tendency to float and floating upright just below the surface, rising up to breathe. Everyone has a different natural floating height. Females generally float higher than males.

When I took the course, I weighed less than 120 pounds so actually could float with most of my face above the water. 10" taller and 80 pounds heavier, I still float pretty high naturally. Our "final exam" was 6 hours and it was amazingly easy for me, just very boring. The real issue though is that everyone has a different amount of bouyancy. I have a lot today, but not what I had in college. My wife has more than I do.

I would think, even if physically you could do it, mentally it would really be challenging. Yes, you're fighting for your life, but convincing yourself someone was going to save you and remaining positive would seem very difficult. However, I do think of the roughest thing in life we ever faced and we were always sure and the odds against us just didn't impact us. Guess when your backs are against the wall, you find extra.
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Old 06-09-2016, 12:45 PM   #3
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Lucky guy. I wonder if he'll learn from this and wear a PFD the next time he's out alone.
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Old 06-09-2016, 02:21 PM   #4
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Lucky guy. I wonder if he'll learn from this and wear a PFD the next time he's out alone.
Or if he'll believe he's immortal and lose his life in some fool-hearty manner? I hear some kid now telling their parent, "but he was fine and he didn't wear a life jacket."

Or if he becomes scared to go out?

Life and death situations can impact you in so many ways. Very profoundly. Often it's what you learn from them. Hopefully he'll gain in many ways. Perhaps even help others as a result.
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Old 06-09-2016, 02:38 PM   #5
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To piggyback on B-the USMC taught drownproofing as a part of SEAR (survival) school (back in the early 70's). We also had the 6 hour "final exam". The basis of using the "deadman's" float is that one can float at a natural buoyancy level and use the absolute minimum energy to raise and breathe. One funny note-we did ours in a 30 foot deep pool, had to jump off a 20 foot tower in full pilot gear, get gear off after hitting the water and float for six hours. We had one guy who just had no, as in like zero, natural buoyancy. The only thing that stopped him from sinking was the bottom of the pool. Because no one had ever seen that, they actually had some Drs down from Bethesda Naval Hospital to examine him and they figured out he had the densest skeletal structure they had ever seen. On the flip side, we one guy like B, he floated with everything from his shoulders up out of the water. He probably could not have drowned if he wanted to. On a not so funny, but ultimately good note, we did have a pilot go down about 100 miles off NAS Jax. He spent 32 hours in the water before being rescued. Other than pretty substantial dehydration, he was in amazing shape. And I can confirm what B said, floating for 6 hours is really, really boring!
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Old 06-09-2016, 03:58 PM   #6
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Or if he becomes scared to go out?
Maybe. I have a friend who moved to Hawaii a number of years ago. When he was back in the area he repeatedly declined to go out sailing with us. And he's done a bit of sailing in his time, so it's not that.

Spoke to his brother a little later and he told us why. Seems my friend, while in Hawaii, rented a Hobie Cat type boat and took off into the ocean. Capsized, couldn't get the boat righted and was drifting out to sea. Fortunately, after a really, really good scare, either the rental company or just some people on the beach noticed and called for rescue.
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Old 06-09-2016, 05:26 PM   #7
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Before I was allowed to fly out to rigs. I had to go through marine survival training including ditching from a helo. Very informative class. Tropical is a one day class and cold water is a couple days. If you have to means and the time i would highly recommend going. The school was in Alexandria la. And i don't think it was more than a couple hundred.
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Old 06-09-2016, 06:32 PM   #8
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It is easy to become complacent about PFDs. I was always very good about wearing one when going on the foredeck of my sailboat or during docking. Now we don't have a foredeck, but I still tend to have my wife and I put on the PFDs when leaving or coming into a dock.

It is a rare day here when you can expect to maintain function or consciousness beyond an hour in the water. Even a buoyant person, trained in the deadman's float, won't make it much beyond an hour.

I did spend close to an hour in the water last Sunday. Very odd. It was 90+ degrees and we were anchored in a shallow inlet with 15 foot tide swing. Late in the day after the tide had come in, we went swimming. As long as I floated in the top foot of the water I was fine. As soon as I allowed my legs to dangle down, I got chilled in a hurry. We tried going in earlier in the day and none of us was able to last more than a few minutes.
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Old 06-09-2016, 07:00 PM   #9
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This is my favourite swimming story

http://www.inthepresentsea.com/the_a.../swimming.html
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Old 06-09-2016, 07:07 PM   #10
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As soon as I allowed my legs to dangle down, I got chilled in a hurry. We tried going in earlier in the day and none of us was able to last more than a few minutes.
Water where we live a good bit warmer than yours, but we do boat in cold water areas. Surface temperatures where we are at the moment is 52 degrees.

As to wearing PFD's, that was something entirely new for us when we moved to Fort Lauderdale and started coastal and offshore cruising. We never wore them on the lake in NC. We do have discipline now.
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Old 06-09-2016, 07:09 PM   #11
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Reminds me of a story of Web Chiles... He intentionally sank his sailboat while in the Gulf Stream (divorce???) and had second thoughts after hitting the water. Threaded water for something like 36 hours (???) before being picked up by a fisherman...
Read the story in Cruising World years ago. He admitted sinking the boat intentionally later.
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Old 06-09-2016, 07:13 PM   #12
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Reminds me of a story of Web Chiles... He intentionally sank his sailboat while in the Gulf Stream (divorce???) and had second thoughts after hitting the water. Threaded water for something like 36 hours (???) before being picked up by a fisherman...
Read the story in Cruising World years ago. He admitted sinking the boat intentionally later.
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That's his original article I linked to above. Didn't hear that it was intentional, but always wondered after reading the article when it was originally published.
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Old 06-09-2016, 08:48 PM   #13
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That's his original article I linked to above. Didn't hear that it was intentional, but always wondered after reading the article when it was originally published.
How could I have missed that???
Perhaps it was the Manhattan!
Yes this is the article I first read too. Web later admitted that he was in crisis and sank the boat intentionally... He clearly had second thoughts and survived to tell the story.
He is one amazing man!
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Old 06-09-2016, 09:13 PM   #14
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It wouldn't happen here in the Puget Sound area. This water is just too cold.
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Old 06-09-2016, 10:24 PM   #15
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It wouldn't happen here in the Puget Sound area. This water is just too cold.
No, it wouldn't. So the message is that if one intends to sink their boat and wants to survive with no PFD, then they better do it in an area with warm water.
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Old 06-09-2016, 11:50 PM   #16
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It just means that when we are in cold water it is even more important to wear a PFD. It also points up the issue that we should have a way to get a MOB back on board. While I have a swim ladder and know how to use it, I likely would not be able to climb out of the water under my own power after 45 minutes in the water on most PNW days.

The PO of my boat not only had a Lifesling, he also kept a block and tackle on the boat deck that he or his wife could use to get the other on board.
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Old 06-10-2016, 02:25 AM   #17
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PFD or not, if you fall in up here in the PNW, you better hope someone gets to you quickly. In 50-60 degree water, unconsciousness in 1-2 hours, death in 1-6 hours. In 40-50 degree, unconsciousness in 30-60 minutes and death in 1-2 hours. Not good to fall in really cold water!
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