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Old 05-10-2012, 12:16 PM   #14
Marin
Scraping Paint
 
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There's another major issue regarding where one carries their dinghy that trumps every other consideration as far as I'm concerned, and that's the ability to get the boat in the water fast in an emergency, like a boat fire. I know some people carry life rafts for this purpose and so are not reliant on launching the dinghy or shoreboat to get off the boat in an emergency.

But most recreational cruisers I see don't carry emergency life rafts. So the dinghy is their lifeboat.

I've watched the owners of cruisers launch boat-deck carried dingies--- particularly bigger and heavier ones like large-motored RIBs and hardshells like Boston Whalers and such that require a power davit---- and I could write and publish a book in the time it takes for the thing to creep down the side of the boat and into the water.

This on top of the time it takes to remove covers and straps and tie-down locks and unstow and swing the power davit over and hook up the lifting bridle.

All very well and good in a nice calm anchorage with all the time in the world although I've seen people do damage to their boat and themselves even under those benign conditions.

Now imagine that same guy on that same boat in mid-cruise in swells or choppy or rough water--- even nice sunny day rough water--- and an electrical short or something starts a fire. Hopefully the fellow can get the fire out, but we all know what happens once fiberglass and fuel start to burn. And now imagine getting up on that high boat deck and going through the process of getting the dinghy ready to launch and then actually over the side. The higher off the water you are the more magnified and violent the boat's motion becomes. And imagine the dinghy on the end of that cable halfway down with the boat rocking and pitching in the waves. And imagine it halfway down when the power on the boat cuts out.

A likely scenario? I would hope not. But possible? Absolutely.

I met a couple I have mentioned before who have decades of boating experience, blue water and coastal. And they ALWAYS tow their dinghy today. Why? Because they had a boat fire years ago and had to abandon their boat. Fortunately, their shoreboat was carried in such a way that it could be in the water in a couple of minutes. But this experience changed their philosophy to where today they want the dinghy in the water NOW ready to use anytime. (They are coastal cruisers today so towing is a viable option. Blue water is another story.)

The only place we will consider carrying our dinghy is on the swimstep or on a transom-mounted davit. Both places permit the boat to be in the water in minutes without the need for electricity. If the configuration of the boat was such that carrying the dinghy this way was impossible and a cabin top or boat deck location was the only option then we would either tow the dinghy or we'd carry it up top but with an emergency life raft of a size and type that could accommodate the number of people on board and be almost instantly deployed.
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