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  #1  
Old 12-12-2012
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Errors in judgement...

Well, I have been boating a long time as everyone knows. It doesn't keep me from making an error in judegement sometimes...

We went out last Saturday night on a friends 68' power boat to watch the boat parade. Had a great time. On the way back in, we helped him tie to the dock but the wind was blowing us off. I secured the stern while another friend of mine secured the bow. The captain (he is a friend) got out of the cockpit to resecure the lines on the bow the way he liked them and apparently kicked the boat into forward. I screamed for him to stop but he didn't hear me. I quickly made my way to the stern cleat that was made fast and tried to get the line off before he jerked out the cleat. I only made it halfway.

In something less than a millisecond, the line tightened and before I could get away, the cleat blew off. FOr those that have never seen that happen (especially on a large yacht), it sounds like a cannon and comes out like a bullet. It hit my middlefinger, twice on my wrist, and tore into my forearm faster than I could pull my arm away.

SPent the rest of the night in the ER. Luckily (and miraculously), I did not shatter any bones. I think that is because the cleat went across the top of my arm instead of directly into it. I did partially tear my bicep and tricep and now find myself waylaid in St Pete for a month or two until I can heal. Bit of a bummer beacuse we were heading to the keys in the next couple of weeks.

THe morale of this story is obvious: don't get anywhere near a cleat that is being tensioned. But another morale is that accidents can happen on the water quicker than we can react. Luckily I was near an ER and they took care of me. But if I had been in a remote location, I would have had to tend to this injury on my own. I immediately thought about what we had in our med kit to stop what was a LOT of bleeding, and how I could secure my arm if it were shattered. Did Kris have the knowledge to bandage me up? Would the kids have had it and known what to do?

Just a thought to those who are in the offseason (and certainly those who are not) to take a peek at your onboard medical kit and books. Do you have sufficient supplies for where you are sailing and time-to-help? Is your medkit well stocked and is it in a VERY easy to access location? When an accident like that happens, I can guarantee you that the person hurt will not be much use for medical advice, and the person doing the patching will need to think fast. Trying to track down a med kit or figure out where your supplies are could mean the difference between life and death.

In my experience, I find many cruisers carry lots of extra engine parts, lots of extra lines, a few fenders here and there, of course every tool imagineable... but the items most often overlooked the most are their medical kits and knowledge of them. A few bandaids and some trip-antibiotic doesn't cut it. You cannot think of your medical kit in terms of how many miles you sail offshore. I hear that all the time and it is wrong. You have to think of it in time to rescue or hospital. For example, you might be anchored off an island only a few miles from the mainland, but your time to rescue could be a half a day or better.

I know everyone here will immediately think they would never make the same mistake I made. Hey, I hope not. Just remember, I know better than to do it too, and knew better before I did it. I guess my point is that even those of us who have done this for a long time make stupid errors in judgement. That will never change, and even the oldest salt amongst us will screw up at times. What is important is that we have the equipment and skills to deal with most of those mistakes, especially when cruising. Because let me tell you, when it happens (especially if it is to you), you will not be thinking clearly.

Just some food for thought...

Brian
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Old 12-12-2012
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Re: Errors in judgement...

Wow! That's frightening, CD. Glad your injuries weren't even worse. Both tips are appreciated. I don't know that I would have thought of that consequence from an overloaded cleat.
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Old 12-12-2012
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Re: Errors in judgement...

Brian,

I could have stitched up your arm, slinted it, administered some pain killers (from a bottle) and supplied you with 10 days of antibiotics. I have three first aid kits onboard, one of which I can't seem to locate right now, but the big guys with all the goodies are readily accessible.

Guess you won't be here this season, at least prior to my departure on March 1.

Good Luck,

Gary
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Old 12-12-2012
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Re: Errors in judgement...

Jeeze Brian--Hopefully that injury will heal without lasting effects. I'm sure that was profoundly painful and regret your suffering.

On the matter of First Aid, even as I type our first aid gear sits on the counter in my work-shop having been gone through last evening and expired medications removed for replacement (later today at our pharmacy) and bandages, wraps, and various supplies checked for continued effectiveness with a list of necessary replacements made up. Unfortunately, in southwest Florida, the conditions will deteriorate First Aid supplies fairly rapidly, even if well stored, so they require annual up-dates and I suspect the same may hold true in other venues. For example, my (much) better half reacts very badly to stings/bites, so we must carry supplies of Epinephrine in single dose injectors as a safety precaution for her but the heat on the boat when we're not aboard renders these ineffective reasonably quickly so they must be replaced often. Other antibiotics and analgesics are also effected by the heat and must be watched/replaced at regular intervals. Our kit is fairly extensive as we often go off the beaten path (or did) so updates are not--unfortunately-inexpensive, but necessary.

Beyond the foregoing, having the supplies on board is not enough. One needs to know how to use them effectively. For this one needs take a few of the classes on First Aid offered by the Red Cross, at the least. Although I was trained in emergency medical procedures in the military, that was a l-o-n-g time ago so my wife and I, and my daughter, have taken several of the First Aid classes offered by our local Red Cross. We also participate in a volunteer civilian "First Responder" program in our neighborhood/community that was begun after 9/11, that has annual training and refresher courses that we find quite useful. On board ship, potential injuries are not inconsequential and being able to deal with them is extremely important, but such skills often seem to be overlooked. They should not be.

Good luck Brian. Hopefully you will have a fast, full recovery. (And stay the heck away from motor boats! No good ever seem to come of them.)

FWIW...
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Re: Errors in judgement...

Quote:
Originally Posted by travlineasy View Post
Brian,

I could have stitched up your arm, slinted it, administered some pain killers (from a bottle) and supplied you with 10 days of antibiotics. I have three first aid kits onboard, one of which I can't seem to locate right now, but the big guys with all the goodies are readily accessible.

Guess you won't be here this season, at least prior to my departure on March 1.

Good Luck,

Gary
Don't count me out yet.

Brian
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Old 12-12-2012
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Re: Errors in judgement...

Glad you weren't hurt any worse.

Besides the issue of first aid, there's the fact that some people have a problem with what I will call "first reactions." That is, they see a cleat pulling out and their first reaction is to try to grab at it, instead of realizing that it is a very dangerous situation and they should just get out of the way.

My wife has this problem. We've talked about it several times, but she just can't seem to do anything about it. For example, if a knife slips out of her hand in the kitchen she'll reach out and try to catch it.

No, no, no. If a knife slips out of your hand you GET OUT OF THE WAY AND LET IT FALL!!! This has happened to her three times now in the nearly 30 years that we've been married, and she got really nasty cuts (like, head to the ER) one of the times and needed a bandage or two the other times. She just can't stop herself from acting on that "first reaction."

Another one was one Christmas (in Denver) when her father stepped out of our front door onto a sheet of ice, slipped and fell. Her first reaction was to run out after him, to try to help. Of course, she slipped and fell also. I saw it happening, and knew I couldn't do anything to stop it. I stepped out slowly and gingerly to help both of them. Luckily, that time, neither was hurt too seriously.

And, please understand, CD, I am not criticizing your for what you did. I'm just saying that in all of life, but especially in activities like sailing, there are times when we need to realize that stepping back and letting something bad happen is better than following our first reaction and putting ourselves into even more danger.
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Old 12-12-2012
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Re: Errors in judgement...

See what yo get for being on a stinkpot! Plus the middle finger! What are you going to do?????

Seriously though, that really stinks. Thanks for sharing...good reminders about first aid kits and how they are often not well thought out or stocked.

Wishing you a full recovery, get well soon, I have no doubt
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Old 12-12-2012
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Re: Errors in judgement...

Immorals to the story:

Boats are bad
Big boats badder

Kid 14 was killed when same incident happens a few years back, the cleate didnt come off, just the rope broke and hit her in the head.
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Last edited by MarkofSeaLife; 12-12-2012 at 01:16 PM.
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Old 12-12-2012
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Re: Errors in judgement...

Brian,
Good tip about the first aid kit. I'm going to bring mine home and go through it.

Sorry this lesson had to cause so much pain. Just remember to lift Fatty with the other arm

Jim
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Old 12-12-2012
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Re: Errors in judgement...

Here's a question to go along with Brian's suggestion.

Have any of you found a first aid book you'd recommend for a novice?
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