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Old 03-13-2017, 08:29 PM   #1
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Kids & Boats

I was watching a boat the other day, it was one of those gorgeous sunny days, everything right with the world. The adults all chatting, with a glass of something in their hand , kids in & out of the water when I saw this little one trying to keep up with the older ones playing on the Marlin board.

To cut the story short, in she went. well all hell broke loose. She was fished out with no harm done and she was comforted by,I presume, her mother.For the record she was wearing a lifejacket.

The thing is, wearing a lifejacket is all well & good, IMHO kids need to know what to do if they accidentally fall into the water.

When my youngest was about five, we did the ritual 'in you go' initiation, that each of her brothers had to when they were young.This meant that with life jacket on her brothers threw her off the Marlin & she had to do a circumnavigation of the boat,to the cheers of all on board, and then climb out onto the Marlin board.

Now the thing is all her brothers had all undergone this on a previous boat we had owned, and the ladder set up on our present IG is a bit different, the result was she could not get out. This resulted in a family conflab as how to best remedy this. After some nifty carpentry and addition of various handles, we road tested it, with Das daughter jumping in and getting her self out again, we did this five times to ensure she was comfortable with getting herself out.

I think it is important that kids should practice overboard drills if they are going to spend anytime on the water. Accidentally falling in on a cold day is a different kettle of fish to jumping in with your brothers on a sunny hot day.

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Old 03-13-2017, 08:45 PM   #2
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Totally agree, and the adults should practice the same, and go thru any imaginable drill that would help them thru an emergency.

Learn how to rescue someone and how to be rescues, learn how to anchor quickly in an emergency, and how to hail help... I could go on and on, but training for an emergency can make a difference.

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Old 03-13-2017, 11:05 PM   #3
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Kids of all ages enjoy a challenge. Make the safety drill fun and a bit exciting, and they will remember it for life.
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Old 03-14-2017, 01:59 AM   #4
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We had a member who reported pushing his daughter off the boat at 30 knots with no prior warning or arrangement,to prepare her if it really ever happened.. Followed by a resounding chorus of TF disapproval!
Andy, your method sounds a lot better.
We had a tragic spate of child drownings here in January, mostly in back garden home pools, which must by law be safely fenced. It can happen with the most momentary inattention. I swim laps for exercise and every day there are toddlers and older children at the local pool, learning to swim or just using the shallow kids pool, under supervision. Anything to prevent the near daily tragedies we experienced.
And congrats to the parents who ensured their little girl wore a lifejacket.
2005 Integrity 386 "Sojourn"
Sydney Australia
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Old 03-14-2017, 07:36 AM   #5
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When swimming off of the boat I find it helpful to trail a line behind the boat with a float of some kind on it. It takes surprising little current to sweep you away; Swimming back to the boat against the current while fighting off panic can exhaust a swimmer very quickly. With a ~75' line by the time you notice you are drifting away from the boat, you still have time to swim across current over and grab it. The float on the end is always large enough to be easily seen, either a PFD or a tube.

There is a great write up I've seen shared a couple of times about drowning not appearing like what you might expect. The victim rarely thrashes around violently and yelling, instead they are expending all effort to stay up and fighting quietly for each breath. I ran into this last summer (I probably shared the story here already) at the Somers Cove pool in Crisfield. In a pool full of children an adults, a boy around 7-9 years old had wandered to far down the gradual drop off and was struggling to gulp air while jumping off of the tips of his toes. His mother was attentively watching her 3 kids (the boy had a twin and a younger sibling) and was rushing across the pool but didn't yell for help. My wife and I were busy with our own 3 kids and I have no idea how long this kid was struggling while he was in arms reach behind me. I finally noticed and yanked him unceremoniously up by the arm and at the same time saw his mother rushing across the pool. It was an interesting little insight to human behavior, everyone (including me) was minding their own business to such a degree that we become oblivious. The mother's reaction was also interesting in that she was clearly panicked but something prevented her for calling out for help.
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Old 03-14-2017, 08:02 AM   #6
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Have run scuba charter operations for 40 years. On all but the most confined waters, there is almost always some current. We put out a floating polypropylene trailing line with a float ball on the end. Even with fins on your feet, it's easier and more energy efficient to pull yourself along a line than swim. Also, the line offers you the ability to stop and rest without losing ground. We keep the line on a spool and adjust the amount we put out (up to 300') based on the current strength. Certainly very applicable to anchored cruising boats.

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I want to spend some time, Not come and go in a heated rush.....
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Old 03-14-2017, 08:56 AM   #7
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Rant against dime store swim goggles, masks and gear.

Ok, it's not dime store, it's mass merchant, or Amazon or anyone that's not got a professional snorkel mask fit correctly. There are many stories and reports regarding these and quite a few pools have banned the use of goggles and masks. Disney does not allow any mask that covers the nose. Too many kids end up inhaling water. I had a cousin nearly drown wearing one. He was an excellent swimmer with another cousin who also was. They were in a very crowded pool. Suddenly my other cousin turned around and the first was no longer there. Fortunately, the life guard heard him yell and saw the body under water and saved him from drowning. Still it was a long journey back due to time without air and brain damage. He was lucky that with rehab and time he regained full mental capacity.
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Old 03-14-2017, 10:29 AM   #8
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I saw a video years ago of a child drowning at a small wave pool. The child is rescued but watching what happens is a real eye opener. It is a very educational video and would apply to someone drowning in a pool or off a boat. Well, off a boat you have less time to react...

The pool was full of kids and when the child starts to drown, none of the other kids reacted to the child struggling in the water. It took the lifeguard about seven seconds to see the child in trouble and go after the kid which is not a damning statement about the lifeguard. I was really surprised the lifeguard saw the child struggling as fast as he did because the pool was so crowded.

The following is from page 14 of a US Coast Guard publication:

Characteristics of the Instinctive Drowning Response:
1. Except in rare circumstances, drowning people are physiologically unable to call out for help. The respiratory system was designed for breathing. Speech is the secondary, or overlaid, function. Breathing must be fulfilled, before speech occurs.
2. Drowning people's mouths alternately sink below and reappear above the surface of the water. The mouths of drowning people are not above the surface of the water long enough for them to exhale, inhale, and call out for help. When the drowning people's mouths are above the surface, they exhale and inhale quickly as their mouths start to sink below the surface of the water.
3. Drowning people cannot wave for help. Nature instinctively forces them to extend their arms laterally and press down on the water surface. Pressing down on the surface of the water,
permits drowning people to leverage their bodies so they can lift their mouths out of the water to breathe.
4. Throughout the Instinctive Drowning Response, drowning people cannot voluntarily control their arm movements. Physiologically, drowning people who are struggling on the surface of the water cannot stop drowning and perform voluntary movements such as waving for help, moving toward a rescuer, or reaching out for a piece of rescue equipment.
5. From beginning to end of the Instinctive Drowning Response people's bodies remain upright in the water, with no evidence of a supporting kick. Unless rescued by a trained lifeguard, these drowning people can only struggle on the surface of the water from 20 to 60 seconds before submersion occurs.
Below is the video but before watching, go back and read the five behaviors to see how many the child does. I have tried to not leave any clues as to which child is going to get in trouble, so you have to watch the pool knowing that something bad is about to happen but you do not know to which child. You only know a child is going to get into trouble and then be rescued.

I counted seven Mississippi's from the time the child gets into trouble before the lifeguard jumps into the pool. Step 5 says one only has 20-60 seconds and it took the Lifeguard seven to jump into the water and a few more seconds to get the child. What was scary to me is that if the child had breathed in water, and sunk to the bottom of the pool, it would have been very hard to see the kid because of the number of people in the pool. This was in the clear water of a pool. How hard would it be to find someone who is underwater in less than clear water?

The child is surrounded by other people, including another child who was playing with the kid who starts to drown and NONE of them reacted to the child. The drowning child's playmate just watched and did not know what was happening. Lifeguards who are supposed to know these behaviors, have watched people drown when they thought they were playing.

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Old 03-16-2017, 01:29 AM   #9
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My wife used to hate driving the boat, but every year we'd do a man overboard and she'd have to drive....I wanted to make sure she could come back for me if I was the one who went over the side. I don't know if she would....but at least I knew she could if she wanted to.
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Old 03-16-2017, 06:46 AM   #10
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Better check your insurance policy, it's better to be worth more alive than dead.
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Old 03-16-2017, 07:33 AM   #11
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We have a policy on our boat that anything that is dropped overboard accidently, is immediately retrieved, no matter what it is (unless it immediately sinks), and no matter where we are. Even a drink coozy or a sandal, we turn around and go back and get it. Because, it's good practice for MOB.

"It's the tides. They can work for you, and they work against you. And, confidentially, I've had this problem with the tides before." Captain Ron
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