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Old 08-19-2018, 12:47 PM   #1
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Safety gear

We are getting close to closing on our "new" boat. Wondering what everyone's list is for essential safety gear and procedures? I know cruising destinations, boat set up and personal preference will play into the discussion, but would love to hear everyone's thoughts on what works for them, what doesn't, and what they consider essential as we head off on our new adventure.
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Old 08-19-2018, 01:55 PM   #2
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Well this will be a long thread, I'm sure, but I'll start you off:

All uscg required equipment
Anchor and spare
Mounted vhf x 2
Both full time crew (em and I) have designated inflatable life jackets with a whistle, light or strobe, and vhf attached. Considered required during night ops.
GPS
Radar
I carry a plb but that's cruising range dependent, I'd say.
Sea anchor
Med kit
Horn or two
Training to use this stuff
I'm sure I forgot something
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Old 08-19-2018, 02:12 PM   #3
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Where and how the boat will be used is very important to come up with the right list.
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Old 08-19-2018, 02:51 PM   #4
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Where and how the boat will be used is very important to come up with the right list.
How true this is. For coastal cruising like we do...

Of course standard required safety equipment. Inflatable pfds WORN by crew during passage, with knife, whistle and light attached. Life sling at the stern ready for deployment and crew training in using it. Dinghy ready to deploy. AIS, multiple GPS, charts of the area and a plan. Handheld VHF ready at all times. Boat carefully maintained to reduce chances of issues. Both my wife and I trained in operating safely and using all equipment (both of us ex USCG). One can have all the best equipment but if crew isn't trained and proficient in using it then it won't help.

My biggest concern is an MOB situation during a passage. Most everything else is easily handled with reasonable preparation.

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Old 08-19-2018, 04:23 PM   #5
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A damn good quality folding serrated knife that you can keep on your belt or in your pocket. Four inches long blade at least.

If you get one with a spike all the better.
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Old 08-19-2018, 04:55 PM   #6
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How true this is. For coastal cruising like we do...

My biggest concern is an MOB situation during a passage. Most everything else is easily handled with reasonable preparation.
Ken
Agree with the other comments but Agree completely with kchase - hopefully it doesn't happen often but have a plan and practice ahead of time w/ normal crew so it is second nature.

In addition to a USCG req'd throwable we carry a "throw bag" - 50 ft of floating line that you can toss to a POB. We have never had the need but it has come in handy when assisting others with other problems. With a little practice you might be surprised how accurate you can throw it.

A 50 ft floating line you can attach to a throwable is my preferred method to pick up a POB. Attach them and attach to a stern cleat... toss overboard and circle the POB to pick up the line / flotation. That allows you to stop the engine and pull the POB to the boat vs having to maneuver close w/ engine(s), which can provide additional hazards.

Practice - practice - a best practice is to designate a spotter that immediately after be alerted of a POB gets and maintains a constant visual on the POB and points at the person. The spotter should then move to a position the helmsman can see the spotter and maneuver in the direction the spotter is pointing towards.

If you have a chart plotter w/ a MOB function learn how it works and practice, practice. A plastic gal jug w/ a small wt attached w/ a short line makes a great practice aid. It is about the size of a persons head and help illustrate how difficult it can be to see the POB.

The other practice we use and have gotten others in the habit of is using a swim line... a 25 - 50 ft floating line attached to a stern cleat and floating off the stern whenever we are swimming from the boat. We frequently just drift in open even when rafted up. We try to have at least the outside boats in the raft deploy their swim lines.
We have had 1-2 drowning deaths / season locally where boaters stop on a hot day and everyone (or at least everyone capable of handling the boat) jump in. The boat drifts away from the swimmers and they can't get back to the boat. Either anchoring or using a swim line would have prevented multiple deaths.
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Old 08-19-2018, 06:55 PM   #7
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Ok, here's some of mine:

Inflatable PFDs with whistle, strobe, and PLB
Self deploying EPIRB
Self deploying life raft (came with the boat)
Tag line. 30' of 1/2" polypropylene rope with small fender ball on the end. Deployed at anchorages to facilitate getting back to the boat if you fall in. Also as a grab line when in a dinghy or kayak.
First aid kit
Oxygen therapy kit

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Old 08-19-2018, 07:05 PM   #8
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One thing I have on board that I have never heard of anyone else carrying, is an emergency surgery kit complete with a trauma surgeon. The doctor is one of my friends who fishes with me often. He donated the surgery kit. Not sure what is in it (sealed to keep it sanitary), but he says it is everything needed to conduct a simple surgery, including removing a burst appendix.

We carry one other rarely seen item: wrist bands that will set off an alarm if its wearer falls overboard. They suit our style of boating -- running through the night with only two guys at the helm, except when one of them is making an ER check, etc.
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Old 08-19-2018, 07:14 PM   #9
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One thing I have on board that I have never heard of anyone else carrying, is an emergency surgery kit complete with a trauma surgeon. The doctor is one of my friends who fishes with me often. He donated the surgery kit. Not sure what is in it (sealed to keep it sanitary), but he says it is everything needed to conduct a simple surgery, including removing a burst appendix.

We carry one other rarely seen item: wrist bands that will set off an alarm if its wearer falls overboard. They suit our style of boating -- running through the night with only two guys at the helm, except when one of them is making an ER check, etc.
I use to have a US Army surgeon for a customer. Got all sorts of medical supplies for my charter boat. 2 interesting items were the see through bandages and the field cauterizing tool. Whenever a customer would need a bandaid, I would tell them I was dying to try the cauterizing tool.


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Old 08-22-2018, 11:26 AM   #10
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We went remote, so in addition to standard items Med kit included:

medical stapler, self catheter kit, prescription pain meds, antibiotics, anti nausea suppositories, IV supplies, dental supplies, etc.

It is important to know how to use items. For instance my wife can’t handle blood and gore, hence the stapler I could use with one hand if necessary. It doesn’t hurt to carry extra, as we were able to provide assistance to others, and came across several EMT, nurses, Doctors, that could use supplies.

It can get really expensive as some items need to be renewed often. If you choose to go remote, a wilderness medical course/class would be a great benefit, and provide you with a good idea of required supplies.
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Old 08-23-2018, 11:46 AM   #11
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Think about how far offshore you will venture and in what sea conditions. We carry a sea anchor. Not so much for storm survival conditions but for loss of propulsion offshore. Can be pretty miserable when dead in the water in even moderate seas.
I am not too concerned with loosing both engines do to mechanical/fuel issues, but a lightning strike can be a show stopper for the ECU's.
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Old 08-25-2018, 08:34 AM   #12
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Thank you all for your thoughts -- making a list!
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Old 08-25-2018, 10:58 AM   #13
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Having taught a couple of courses aimed at the spouses/significant others of the main boater my thoughts include training of the second person to be able to radio for help in an emergency, this includes boat name, type etc and how to read the GPS. Also repeated training in how to handle a man-overboard situation. Especially how to get the life ring to the person in the water and how to hoist a disabled person aboard.

Further how to assist the captain in a fire or sinking situation. Who does what.

Sailors are better at this then trawler boaters but with a little effort everyone can be ready for an emergency.

Old saying of mine: Emergencies don't occur on sunny days in calm waters right outside of the marina. Usually all h*ll is breaking loose.
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Old 08-25-2018, 11:42 AM   #14
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Thank you, Marty. Definitely a fully operational two-person crew on our soon-to-be-boat. No "admiral" or reluctant wife here.
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Old 08-25-2018, 11:48 AM   #15
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We are both pilots -- husband is a professional, I have all my ratings, including CFI, multi, etc. The thought of not both being skilled and capable boaters together would never cross our minds. We're in this adventure together!
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Old 08-25-2018, 01:20 PM   #16
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Old saying of mine: Emergencies don't occur on sunny days in calm waters right outside of the marina. Usually all h*ll is breaking loose.
YES. had to deal with thunderstorms with heavy seas, rain, wind, lightning, and dodging waterspouts at the same time. And that is really just one event.
Those with small ones might consider ambu bags and O2. I carried a couple sizes when out of the country. And, docking/mooring is a place where drownings happen too.
Those with trauma kits might talk to a Dr about closing major wounds in non-sterile conditions. I'm hearing Don't. My Dr tossed all my suture kits. EPI pens are good if doing swamp stomps and someone who is sensitive gets stung.
VHF #2 I recommend being a handheld. VHF#3 can be the second fixed.
Dinks might aught to have a 2nd means or propulsion, even if it is human powered and slow. Take ur air band portable with you and some green books. Might have to flag down someone who is otherwise busy on an approach freq.
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Old 08-25-2018, 02:01 PM   #17
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We are both pilots -- husband is a professional, I have all my ratings, including CFI, multi, etc. The thought of not both being skilled and capable boaters together would never cross our minds. We're in this adventure together!
Wifey B: My kind of woman. No admirals or 1st mates, all the way in. Your piloting experience will benefit you. I don't pilot planes, but am a licensed captain and love gathering all the knowledge and experience I can.

I'm not suggesting everyone get a license but when thinking emergency and safety I do think of a couple of courses that are perhaps the least fun but the most important we've done in that regard. So don't have to take the courses but anything you can learn in the regard is helpful.

1. Fire fighting
2. First aid and beyond...we took Medical Person in Charge
3. Survival craft and rescue

You learn things you hope you'll never use or need to.

They forced us to push closer to our limits too, to do things we didn't know we could. Fire fighting was toughest for me. It's so physically demanding. My hubby's tough one was the time we had to do in the Emergency Room. He never liked blood and gore. He learned he could handle it though and one time since has shown he can handle it in helping a stranger.

Emergencies and serious safety issues will put most of us far outside our normal comfort zone and that's part of being prepared. Everyone here comes from a different background. Those of you with military backgrounds have done physically demanding tasks we never have. We're younger and in better shape than some and probably swim better than some. Then there's the mental prep of what we'll do individually and as a team in different circumstances.

Medical kit, I'm sure we've gone far overboard, but the last thing we ever want to face is saying we couldn't help because we didn't have something we needed with us. Sealife listed some items.

We have always worried about what if something happened to one of our friends aboard, but our 4 year old niece, Aurora.....I must say the most beautiful and incredible 4 year old in the history of the universe ....Aurora traveled off shore with us this summer and that made us really think. We went through all the what if's. What if she got terribly sick, what if she cut her foot or broke her leg, what if she got stung by a bee or bitten by a snake or spider. Suddenly the value of being prepared sky rocketed. We feel a responsibility for everyone's safety, but when it's your wonderful niece, or child or grandchild, it really hits.
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Old 08-25-2018, 06:18 PM   #18
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Lots of things to think about and so many good suggestions for us as we go forward. I especially appreciate your response, "Wifey B" -- because honestly, where are all the empowered women on this site? Please, make yourselves known!
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Old 08-25-2018, 08:24 PM   #19
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Lots of things to think about and so many good suggestions for us as we go forward. I especially appreciate your response, "Wifey B" -- because honestly, where are all the empowered women on this site? Please, make yourselves known!
Wifey B: Pilou and Dorsey and their husbands left. Janice is the most empowered here. Donna is a very empowered lady as well. A few others remain. Star is active. Trying to think of others.
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Old 08-25-2018, 11:55 PM   #20
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If you are cruising, emergencies may happen at midnight, in the rain, in an isolated anchorage, and you may not have cell or vhf coverage. Even of you do, CG boat may be 3 hours away, CG helicopter may be an hour away, You're really on your own. Plan accordingly.

Most essential safety procedure is training the mate to safely operate the boat without you. You may fall overboard.
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