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post #30 of Old 11-29-2011 Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by killarney_sailor View Post
All the people who pushed the EPIRB button or put out a MAYDAY call were scared sh*tless and thought that their lives were at considerable risk.... The problem to my way of thinking is that some of the people who put out premature SOS calls do not have enough experience to really know how bad the situation is.....

To the orginal poster, would it be your intention not to take an EPIRB or long distance radio equipment? Would seem what an independent-minded person would do.
Yes you are right. Around here it is pretty normal to have 20ft waves, some pretty steep, and that does not represent any real danger to sailing but sometimes when I go out with friends with small sailing experience they get scared sh*tless with that.

I am pretty sure that a professional ocean solo racer will have a much higher threshold in what he considers worrying sea conditions than me. I have seen solo racers going in small boats at full blast in conditions that would scare and put relatively experienced sailors doing defensive sailing.

It is obvious to me that to go seriously offshore there should be a minimum experience and that experience should not only be attested by the "candidate" but by some much more experienced sailor. The sea is dangerous and it is a social irresponsibility to allow someone, that does not have a clue about what he is doing, to put not only his life in risk, but the life of his family and all of those that would have to rescue him.

This is not only about money and resources (the ones that are wasted rescuing a crew that should not have need to be rescued) but also a question of social responsibility.

Probably on Europe we have a more social approach about responsibility. Here it would be unthinkable that someone could drive a car, pilot a plan or carry a gun without having to prove to society that he or she can do that safely and without endangering other's lives. I don't see why with boats it should be different, after all if one is competent at sailing, navigation and knows the sea regulations there is no reason to be worried regarding a practical and theoretical test.

Of course I think that everybody going offshore should carry an Epirb. I even consider that should be mandatory (it is mandatory in many countries) because in case of real trouble it is not only the life of the skipper that are at risk, but all the lives of the ones that are with him. Also an Epirb will make a search and rescue much more effective, wasting less resources that can be used to save someone else.

The problem is simple, a Mayday, as state the rules, should only be deployed
when "a situation is one in which a vessel, aircraft, vehicle, or person is in grave and imminent danger and requires immediate assistance. Examples of "grave and imminent danger" in which a mayday call would be appropriate include fire, explosion or sinking."

Mayday - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

These cases on this thread are in my opinion not Mayday situations but PAN PAN situations:

In radiotelephone communications, a call of three repetitions of pan-pan is used to signify that there is an urgency on board a boat, ship, aircraft or other vehicle but that, for the time being at least, there is no immediate danger to anyone's life or to the vessel itself. This is referred to as a state of urgency. This is distinct from a Mayday call, which means that there is imminent danger to life or to the continued viability of the vessel itself.

A pan pan situation has a complete different treatment than a mayday and in a sailboat in bad weather, with a disable engine and taking some water but without the risk of sinking does not call for a rescue.

What is happening is that many people, or sailors as you prefer, are calling maydays when they think the situation can lead to a life threatening event. That is no reason for a mayday. A mayday should only be called when life is effectively at imminent risk.

Having no control over the boat is no reason for a mayday if the boat is intact and the ingress of water can be controlled and a lee shore is not close. I have friends that have been for 3 or 4 days closed inside the boat on floating anchor (and on small light boats) in horrible conditions, waiting the storm to pass without calling a mayday. This is quite normal and all sailors that go out deep on the ocean should know that can happen and be prepared for that.

It obviously seems that is not the case.



Last edited by PCP; 11-29-2011 at 12:46 PM.
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