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Old 02-26-2014, 04:18 PM   #1
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Thumbs up What to Consider When Abandoning Ship

Good Article:

What to Consider Before Abandoning Ship | Boating Safety
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Old 02-27-2014, 09:16 AM   #2
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A number of good articles at that site.
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Old 02-27-2014, 01:46 PM   #3
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The number #1 thing to remember when abandoning ship is that a few of your fellow boaters regard this as an income opportunity and if your boat is found you will pay dearly to get it back. I made the grave mistake of suggesting in another forum that I would simply give the boat back without seeking legal salvage rights and I was nearly run off the forum. It was a real eye opener and I'm curious about my fellow boaters here. In this case the solo sailor had a medical emergency and was airlifted off his boat, it was subsequently found drifting a few miles off shore & towed to port by a fishing boat. No matter what the circumstance's were, medical emergency or not and whether I had a legal right or not, I would never hold another mans boat for ransom.

I might help myself to a beer or two in his fridge but he would get his boat back without a price tag attached.

(I'm talking fellow boater to fellow boater here, not professional salvage operators lucky enough to find it or called to tow it, that completely changes the paradigm)
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Old 02-27-2014, 01:50 PM   #4
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Most of us arn't going to be 30 miles from shore. What would I do. Say you hit a dead head.( a log floting straight up and down in the water ) With swells they go up and down like a battering ram. Or a thru hull breaks off. Water is coming in.
If I have something like that happen or even a fire.

I am heading for the closest shore. Full speed ahead.
Run her up on the beach. or even the rocks.

I live in Alaska. If you have to go into the water with a PFD and not a survival suit.

The PFD just makes it easy for your body to be found.

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Old 02-27-2014, 02:21 PM   #5
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Most of us arn't going to be 30 miles from shore. What would I do. Say you hit a dead head.( a log floting straight up and down in the water ) With swells they go up and down like a battering ram. Or a thru hull breaks off. Water is coming in.
If I have something like that happen or even a fire.

I am heading for the closest shore. Full speed ahead.
Run her up on the beach. or even the rocks.

I live in Alaska. If you have to go into the water with a PFD and not a survival suit.

The PFD just makes it easy for your body to be found.

sd
Yep Amen to that brother. PFD is recovery of your body.

For those in the L48 though running it up on the beach could also mean many many $$ for clean up......
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Old 02-27-2014, 03:06 PM   #6
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Prince William Sound, AK water temp 38 degrees
Atlantic City, NJ water temp 37 degrees

Lake Superior...whatever you ice fishing hut is heated to....
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Old 02-27-2014, 05:00 PM   #7
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Prince William Sound, AK water temp 38 degrees
Atlantic City, NJ water temp 37 degrees

Lake Superior...whatever you ice fishing hut is heated to....

Now that is funny. But I never knew that

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Old 02-27-2014, 05:21 PM   #8
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PS-the difference is that in July the NJ water temp will be 70+ and the AK temp 45.
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Old 02-27-2014, 06:05 PM   #9
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PS-the difference is that in July the NJ water temp will be 70+ and the AK temp 45.
OK...so if you go into the water between now and then...and the water really doesn't get back into the 50"s till May...same thing happens as Alaska...

hey I was stationed in Alaska for 2 years and I love it dearly...but in the big scheme of things...you can die boating in your backyard lake from all kinds of things no matter where.
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Old 02-27-2014, 06:27 PM   #10
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If you read the well written books detailing the 1979 Fastnet Race and the 1998 Sydney Hobart Race where hundreds of boats were blasted with 70 knot plus winds collided with currents creating steep unpredictable waves in excess of 50 feet for over 24 hours, the take away is you don't abandon ship unless you are stepping up into your life raft and you know that your boat is going down because you are satnding on the last floating part of it. As terrifying as it may seem to stay aboard, your boat is a better life raft until it isn't. Many boats abandoned in the Fastnet were later found floating and and were salvaged. A fair few who abandoned these vessels died in their life rafts. The mostly experienced sailors in the moment believed the boats were going down. Wait until you know.
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Old 02-27-2014, 06:36 PM   #11
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If you read the well written books detailing the 1979 Fastnet Race and the 1998 Sydney Hobart Race where hundreds of boats were blasted with 70 knot plus winds collided with currents creating steep unpredictable waves in excess of 50 feet for over 24 hours, the take away is you don't abandon ship unless you are stepping up into your life raft and you know that your boat is going down because you are satnding on the last floating part of it. As terrifying as it may seem to stay aboard, your boat is a better life raft until it isn't. Many boats abandoned in the Fastnet were later found floating and and were salvaged. A fair few who abandoned these vessels died in their life rafts. The mostly experienced sailors in the moment believed the boats were going down. Wait until you know.
Unfortunately that explanation is as simplistic as the link in the first post...

I understand the comment about stepping up to a liferaft as a friend of mine I think was the one who coined it and I understand the Coasties fear of people who wait too long to abandon ship..

I feel sorry for the skippers who don't see the obvious difference between the 2 needs- stay/go...as ultimately by what are the chances your boat will be the best shelter for your survival...

There are some decisions only a captain can make...even thought the USCG does have some limited authority and legal actions to allow them to order you off your boat.

Somehow as skipper...if in the situation...you have to make the call and your life and maybe others will depend on it.

Books on Fastnet or articles written by a few experienced Coasties don't give near enough info to make a truly informed decision so easily.
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Old 02-27-2014, 06:42 PM   #12
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No insult taken psneeld. It may be simplistic, but keeping in mind that your own boat may still be the safest place to be may save your life.
Simple is not necessarily the enemy of survival
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Old 02-27-2014, 10:39 PM   #13
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No insult taken psneeld. It may be simplistic, but keeping in mind that your own boat may still be the safest place to be may save your life.
Simple is not necessarily the enemy of survival
The key word is "may"....

Preparing for survival includes how to consider each factor that comes along the way fits into the "plan"....

Absolutely no right/wrong answer until all is said and done....what works for one person or in one situation may not work for all...there are guidelines like "step up to your raft" or "get out early if you have the chance because things could get worse"...but ultimately the captain has to use a crystal ball and only vast amounts of experience will help when that call has to be made in minutes or less.
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Old 02-28-2014, 07:20 AM   #14
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For most AICW cruisers the question is which side of the ditch has the road , and to walk ashore to that side.
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Old 02-28-2014, 12:45 PM   #15
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Being able to "have a choice" whether to stay or go is one thing and I agree it calls for instant life or death decisions despite the best of plans but my biggest fear is capsizing. For all other situations the wife & I have a rehearsed plan and we have been through enough storms to appreciate the effect severe conditions could have on those plans. This is where the instant decisions have to be made. Capsizing however is extremely difficult to develop a plan for. If you remain on the bridge you risk getting crushed by the boat or tangled in the bimini as it goes over, if you remain below at the lower station you risk getting killed by flying furniture, refridgerators and heavy hatches not to mention motors and fuel tanks which are now on the ceiling and were never designed to hang upside down. There is a video of a staged capsize on the web and the violence inside the cabin is a real eyeopener. Then there is the dingy / life raft issue, if it was lashed to the hardtop as many are, it is now 20ft below the water on a boat that is sinking fast.

It's all to easy to dismiss and say it could never happen, but this can only come from one who has never strayed far from shore and caught in a violent storm. The risk is very real, particularly in a slow top heavy trawler. I don't know what the statistics are but I bet more power boats sink in a storm due to capsizing than flooding or structural failure.

The wife & I have discussed this at length but have yet to come up with any plan we feel may increase our survival chances in a capsize situation. We do however feel more at ease being outside the boat in these conditions so she sits on the aft deck clear of furniture and I on the bridge hanging on for dear life. Our only real plan is to move to the low side as it goes over "if we can" so as not to be slammed & crushed by the boat. After that....... its in the hands of the lord.

Prince William Sound, AK water temp 38 degrees
Atlantic City, NJ water temp 37 degrees
Lake Superior...whatever your ice fishing hut is heated to....


PS-the difference is that in July the NJ water temp will be 70+ and the AK temp 45.


...........and Lake Superior will "STILL" be dotted with ice fishing huts.
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Old 02-28-2014, 02:02 PM   #16
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all the more reason to cruise where your "top heavy" trawler so you never get caught in weather that will capsize you....if that means never being more than 50NM away from a port, cove, anchorage etc...then that's the way many coastal cruisers in non-bluewater boats do it.
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Old 02-28-2014, 03:20 PM   #17
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The number #1 thing to remember when abandoning ship is that a few of your fellow boaters regard this as an income opportunity and if your boat is found you will pay dearly to get it back. I made the grave mistake of suggesting in another forum that I would simply give the boat back without seeking legal salvage rights and I was nearly run off the forum. It was a real eye opener and I'm curious about my fellow boaters here. In this case the solo sailor had a medical emergency and was airlifted off his boat, it was subsequently found drifting a few miles off shore & towed to port by a fishing boat. No matter what the circumstance's were, medical emergency or not and whether I had a legal right or not, I would never hold another mans boat for ransom.

I might help myself to a beer or two in his fridge but he would get his boat back without a price tag attached.

(I'm talking fellow boater to fellow boater here, not professional salvage operators lucky enough to find it or called to tow it, that completely changes the paradigm)
I'm with you on this Cap, and I thank you for posting it. I suppose I'm terribly old-fashioned, but I don't believe in taking what is not mine through the distress of a fellow boater. I can't remember when The Golden Rule was suspended in our society; but it clearly seems to be forgotten today.
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Old 02-28-2014, 03:39 PM   #18
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From the posts here and on other fora I frequent regarding at-sea rescues, most are sailboats, which makes sense as most boats out there are sailboats. And most of those rescues do not involve an imminent sinking threat. Anecdotally, or to the extent I remember, most involve either injury or seasickness of some sort to persons on board, or sea states that are too uncomfortable and difficult for the people to endure. Again relying on my memory, most capsizes and similar incidents seem to be cats rather than monohulls. Monos seem to survive pitchpoling and even full rolls to end up in a floating position. So, the idea that your boat may ultimately be the best floating thing around has some merit if you can deal with any injury/sickness and the sea state. I can't recall many or really any at-sea rescues from powerboats. I am sure that is due in large part to the very small number of powerboats out there 300 miles offshore. I will say though, that a power boat does have an advantage in rough water in that it has power. Sailors are dependent on their sails, and engines usually small enough to not be much help in very rough seas. Assuming running engines, a powerboat can at least maneuver to where the boat and crew can best deal with bad conditions. Often, a sailboat's only option is to heve to and try to ride it out.
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Old 02-28-2014, 06:49 PM   #19
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all the more reason to cruise where your "top heavy" trawler so you never get caught in weather that will capsize you....if that means never being more than 50NM away from a port, cove, anchorage etc...then that's the way many coastal cruisers in non-bluewater boats do it.
If I read it right I think essentially your suggesting, if your uncomfortable cruising more than 50mi off shore then don't do it and I completely agree. There are many who are quite content cruising the ICW or coastline because of the increased risk & I fully respect them for that. I also think a 50mi max is reasonable, but even within this boundary you are still 5 hours out from safe harbour and by the time you get there you may be facing a far-far greater risk entering than you are standing off & riding it out. I guess my point is despite a diligent eye to the weather and playing it safe by staying within 50mi, there are still very realistic circumstances where you can get caught. Just cruising from place to place on Lake Superior "when there is no ice fishing huts on it" can easily put you 100mi out from any shore. (a hilarious comment by the way)

In my case however, I know my boats limitations and I know my limitations, I am comfortable cruising offshore but in doing so I am intimately aware I substantially increase my risk of getting caught so I try to mitigate that risk as much as possible. Mostly that is watching the weather like a hawk but sooner or later, regardless of who screws up, you the weatherman or nobody, you do get caught. I only needed to get the fear of god put in me a couple of times to know how real the risk is so having well thought out emergency plans and actually talking about them & "rehearsing them" is a "religion" for us.

Perhaps there is nothing one can do to increase survivability in a capsize situation but surely I'm not the only one here who has thought about what they would or could do.

Thanks for the thumbs up Colony Cove, glad I'm not alone. I sort of hijacked Sea-Duction's thread when I threw that rant in there.
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Old 02-28-2014, 07:04 PM   #20
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I have thought about cruising around pretty much the whole US including Great Lakes, Bahamas, Cuba...maybe even the Virgin Islands and never really saw too many places where you would be more than 50 miles from some place to duck into if the weather changed.

Sure you can make longer legs...but you don't have to put yourself that far from safe havens with a little planning...mabe a few as I haven't mapped it all out...but it would certainly be the exception than the rule.

I have never thought about capsizing in rough weather, except maybe a breaking inlet which in every case that I have been...if in a trawler..I would just proceed to the next safe inlet. I have been on the water my whole life and never was in anything bad enough to capsize my trawler...

Lucky or weather smart I'm not sure...all I know is after 2 careers of watching marine weather..capsizing is no where's in my worries...plenty of other stuff...but not capsizing because I don't ever want to be in that situation.
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