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Well I certainly found a couple people that I would never want to crew with. More worried about violating a law rather than saving a crew member.
Let’s see, twenty Styrofoam plates weight about an ounce or two, they are made from hydrocarbon so that means I’ve dumped about 2 ounces of crude oil into the water. Contrary to unlearned opinion, Styrofoam does not last forever. It actually breaks down into smaller and smaller particles when exposed to UV rays, in a short period of time those plates will have disappeared. Can a body of water handle millions of tons of Styrofoam repeatedly? No. Can it handle a couple of ounces that might have helped to save a life – I believe so. I wouldn’t hesitate to dump the whole Exxon Valdez if I thought it would save a life.
I really think that the people - that off the bat dismissed my suggestion have probably never been off shore to see how big the ocean is. There is nothing out there but miles and miles of nothing. I heard another person say that if you drop a basketball in the water in 6 foot seas, in 15 seconds you can’t see the ball any more. I believe that. While I’m not a huge blue water sailor, I have made several crossings of six hundred miles or more. Many times I’ve seen some float sum going by and by the time I could point it out to a fellow crew member it was gone.
The person I referred to in my original note that gave me the idea of marking a MOB with Styrofoam plates does have a bit of sailing under his belt, he’s an Ausie and he has sailed in the Hobart race among others, he’s also a solicitor, so I wonder how much he’d laugh to hear that the legality of tossing a few plates in the water out weights the possibility of saving a life. And that’s what this tread was about. Mallory (the guy from Sailnet that started the thread) wanted to get some discussion about this very serious subject and many people had good ideas. It’s something that we don’t think about enough, but when it happens you better be acting out of instinct. That person in the water might only have a few minutes if it’s cold and if you have to go read up on what to do, then it’s too late.