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Old 05-09-2017, 10:16 AM   #1
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Abandon Ship Preparedness

How prepared are you to immediately abandon ship.

Do you have a liferaft
If so, where is it, and have you thought about how you will get in the liferaft in an emergency?
Do you rely on your boats skiff as your emergency egress, and if so it it in a location that is immediately deployable, or does it rely on a ships crane?

Do you have a ditch bag that is ready easily accessible?
Does your ditch bag have a radio, eprib, and valid credit card or some money (something fire survivors often wish they had), along with some water and perhaps an energy bar?

In an emergency, how long do you estimate it would take you to abandon ship.
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Old 05-09-2017, 10:21 AM   #2
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I'll start...

We have a liferaft in the cockpit of the boat. This makes it immediately deployable, and easily accessible.

We also have a skiff, but we need the boats crane to deploy it. Our common practice is to leave the crane attached to the skiff to make it easy to deploy (we do this for convenience not safety)

We do not have a ditch bag, but I'll be getting one outfitted this week.

I'm guessing a minute to deploy the liferaft and then as long as it takes us to herd the dogs and us onboard it.
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Old 05-09-2017, 10:43 AM   #3
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I will never abandon my ship, I will end with her, we will remain together for the best and for the worst

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Old 05-09-2017, 10:50 AM   #4
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Abandon Ship

We have a self inflating life raft on the upper deck in a very easy to get location. Packed in the life raft is food (I use the word loosely), water and other necessary supplies. We carry a ditch bag that, when cruising, has extra water, several energy bars, our EPIRB, some money and a credit card (if cruising outside the U.S. we always put our passports in a waterproof container and put that in the bag), a knife, handheld VHF, Flashlight, handheld GPS, and some flares. Our life jackets are each equipped with a knife, whistle, and personal strobe light.

Word of caution - I understand that life rafts, especially those with soft floors are extremely difficult to get into. Thankfully we have never had to test that information. I do know that even a 6 person raft is claustrophobic for even one person - when I last had my life raft recertified and repacked the shop invited me to get in the inflated raft, not sure I would want to spend much time bobbing around in rough seas inside of it. On the other hand the alternative is much worse.

Whether or not I would choose to use the dinghy rather than the life raft would depend on several factors. First of which is deployability, second is proximity to shore. If I can see land I would probably try the dinghy first. It might be wise to have the cable from the crane loose enough that you can remove it if you have no power and can't use the crane. I have also been told, and consequently changed my tie down system, that you should use either rope tie downs so they can be cut or at least use quick release latches (I use both),
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Old 05-09-2017, 11:37 AM   #5
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I will never abandon my ship, I will end with her, we will remain together for the best and for the worst

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Even during fully involved fire?
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Old 05-09-2017, 12:10 PM   #6
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We are coastal cruisers - will never make a passage in our current boat - so we kept that in mind setting up our emergency gear and procedures.

We routinely wear our inflatable PFDs (with PLBs) while underway.

Our hardside dinghy is carried on Weaver Davits on the swim step and can be in the water in less than 20 seconds. It is a Portland Pudgy, designed to double as a life raft, although we do not have the canopy. We do not have the outboard on the dinghy while it is on the swim step, but oars are always stowed in the dinghy.

We have a ditch bag sort of half-full with water, rations, first aid kit, knife and exposure blankets. The plan is to add to this as we are heading out of the cabin. Right next to the salon door (aft) is our hand-held VHF (stored in its charger) and flare kit. Our InReach and cell phones live in the pilot house and should be grabbed on the way out. Also next to the door is a waterproof plastic container in which we store our passports and copies of important ships papers (documentation, insurance, etc.)

In over 45 years of boating I have never had to abandon ship, or even been close, so I can only imagine an emergency timeline. It would have to be a pretty extreme situation for us not to have a few seconds to grab the things we need. We have done Abandon Ship drills, but in calm water & controlled conditions, likely not what we would face in a real emergency. Under drill conditions, we can go from cruising mode to free-floating in the dinghy, with emergency gear, in under two minutes.
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Old 05-09-2017, 12:34 PM   #7
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Offshore we have the sailing dink prepped to be tossed overboard .

Flotation , sails VHF and survival gear.

Cruising the AICW where walking ashore might be done the dink is available , but not prepped for a fast departure.

Mostly of use to set an anchor to get off a sand bar.
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Old 05-09-2017, 12:37 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ksanders View Post
How prepared are you to immediately abandon ship.
Not very.

Quote:
Do you have a liferaft
No

Quote:
Do you rely on your boats skiff as your emergency egress, and if so it it in a location that is immediately deployable, or does it rely on a ships crane?
Yes, and most of the time it is on a SeaWise davit on the stern, so very quick to deploy. When it is on the top, it would take more time to deploy it via the crane.

Quote:
Do you have a ditch bag that is ready easily accessible?
Yes.

Quote:
Does your ditch bag have a radio, eprib, and valid credit card or some money (something fire survivors often wish they had), along with some water and perhaps an energy bar?
No. My ditch bag is relatively useless as it doesn't have any of the above.

Quote:
In an emergency, how long do you estimate it would take you to abandon ship.
5 minutes if the dinghy is on the stern. That would allow for donning of PFDs, grabbing the ditch bag, and more importantly grabbing some cold weather gear from the boat.

I'm not entirely reckless. I boat in inland waters that are heavily trafficked by other vessels, have good USCG response, and even good emergency and LEO response. Not to mention tow services. So if we have to ditch, as long as we are wearing our PFDs and were able to get off our DSC distress call, we would be in relatively good shape.

When I am outside of Puget Sound, it is during the high boating season in BC and again there are lots of boats and good Canadian Coast Guard response. The auxiliary there are very good and the Coast Guard does a good job of coordinating responding boaters.

Still, I should up my game.
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Old 05-09-2017, 12:41 PM   #9
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Ditch bag for the essentials of the area.

Life jackets at tbe door.

Sharp knife launches the dingy in 20 seconds or less.

Despite everything else, the captains brain is at least 50 percent of the decision to go or stay and damage control.

Thats where most boaters are the least prepared.
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Old 05-09-2017, 02:57 PM   #10
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Ditch bag for the essentials of the area.

Life jackets at tbe door.

Sharp knife launches the dingy in 20 seconds or less.

Despite everything else, the captains brain is at least 50 percent of the decision to go or stay and damage control.

Thats where most boaters are the least prepared.
Wifey B: Burt Bacharach sort of summed that part up...slightly edited by Wifey B.
Knowing When to Leave
Go while the going is good
Knowing when to leave may be the smartest thing anyone can learn.
Go!

I'm afraid your heart may not be so smart.
Fly while your still have your wings
Knowing when to leave will never let you reach the point of no return.
Fly!
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Old 05-09-2017, 04:05 PM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ksanders View Post
How prepared are you to immediately abandon ship.

Do you have a liferaft

Do you have a ditch bag that is ready easily accessible?
Does your ditch bag have a radio, eprib, and valid credit card or some money (something fire survivors often wish they had), along with some water and perhaps an energy bar?

In an emergency, how long do you estimate it would take you to abandon ship.
No Liferaft, but inflatable dinghy is on the roof.
No crane required; just drop it in the water, or untie and let the boat sink under it.

No formal ditch bag, but Epirb, radio, flares, v-sheet, first aid kit, etc are all in one easy location.

Time to abandon ship (and level of preparedness) would be dependant on the nature of the emergency. (2 seconds - 2 hours)
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Old 05-09-2017, 04:28 PM   #12
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Despite everything else, the captains brain is at least 50 percent of the decision to go or stay and damage control.

Thats where most boaters are the least prepared.
When we "abandoned" our boat during the last hurricane I started by prepping the people who were on board on what was going to happen and how it would go down IF I made the call to leave the boat.

About an hour later, the weather got worse, a large boat broke free from it's mooring and the docks started coming apart so I made the call.

The 4 of us got off the boat in less than 2 minutes which also included lowering the dinghy. Once I made the decision we were committed to doing it safely.
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Old 05-09-2017, 04:28 PM   #13
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I have the 8' inflatable with 2 hp o/b motor ready to go on the stern boat deck with the 12 volt davit line attached for lifting and lowering. The davit winch motor is directly wired to my battery bank and wires run thru the davit post and compression post. Fall back lanching can be done by manual lifting and adrenalin power. I would only do this if fire drove us to abandon ship or eminate sinking.
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Old 05-10-2017, 12:46 PM   #14
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We took a safety course conducted by a local safety equipment supplier that included life raft safety. One thing that sticks with me is that we were warned "you very seldom get to walk off the boat into the raft". The most likely scenario is that you end up in the water trying to climb into the raft - easier said than done!! Point being, it is good to have a LR but it is very important to know how to deploy and get into it in the water, most likely with serious wind and waves scenario.
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Old 05-10-2017, 01:24 PM   #15
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After hundreds of rescues, I diagree with the liferaft manufacturer if he was talking about coastal cruising boats. I believe the vast majority of sinkings/abandon ship situations are not in severe weather.

If properly deployed and ready to go, the vast majority of the crew should be able to enter by jumping in the raft, not the water. Many co atal cruiser do get into dingies, let alone rafts.

Buy being able to get into one is difficult and if one has never done it, some instructed practice is a great help.

Offshore, sure, people arent going to abandon ship till all lost of saving the boat is lost. But most of us are coastal, US cruisers.

For all others, plan around your own rescue resources and boating habits for a good orocedure.
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Old 05-10-2017, 03:52 PM   #16
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Like any procedure, practice makes perfect.

Nothing like an "Abandon ship" or "Man Overboard" drill on a cruise to liven up the party.
It will be surprising how many shortcomings it exposes.
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Old 05-10-2017, 05:43 PM   #17
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I mainly cruise the ICW but occasionly cruise several miles out. We regularly wear our type III lifejackets with pockets that neatly contain the following:

- Two small rocket flares
- Dye pack
- Stainless steel multipurpose tool
- Small mirror
- Waterproof flashlight
- Cord (15' I believe)
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Old 05-11-2017, 12:29 AM   #18
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I have a 4 person life raft that will be in the cockpit when we go offshore.
-a ditch bag ready to go that has all the essentials and more.
-Two hand held VHF's on board, usually one in the salon/galley area and one on the fly bridge.
-an EPIRB that is mounted in the fly bridge ready for manual deployment.
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Old 05-20-2017, 05:54 AM   #19
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We cruise in Florida. We have very specific abandon ship procedures in place.
If boat sinking
Notify all on board
Run to refrigerator
Grab two beers
Climb to top deck
Enjoy the rest of the day
The water in Florida is only 10' deep.
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Old 05-20-2017, 06:57 AM   #20
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Like any procedure, practice makes perfect.

Nothing like an "Abandon ship" or "Man Overboard" drill on a cruise to liven up the party.
It will be surprising how many shortcomings it exposes.
Yep, one procedure is usually to chose an assembly point.....

Maybe good on a cruise ship.....hard to determine on a 50 foot or less boat as that might be where the smoke is, fire is, wrong side for launching the raft/dingy....

Practice where one of the crew tells the captain last minute things to exercise the brain cells can be more productive than a canned plan as many "experts" recommend after some years as a military or merchant guy on big boys that they use for reference.
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