Originally Posted by Omatako
When I singlehanded across the Indian Ocean, the last thing I wanted was to be snug in my weather gear with a great PFD and a flashing strobe and an EPIRB and watching my boat sailing off to the horizon. I often wondered if the strobe would still be flashing when I died. Forget about ropes over the back and all that stuff. Stay on the boat or you're dead. End of story. And out there, nobody is going to see your strobe and nobody is going to come and fetch you if they get an EPIRB signal and nobody is going to receive the VHF signal from a 5W handheld. You're on your own mate.
I had my boat netted from the top guard rail to the toe rail the entire length of the boat both sides. Whenever I moved around the boat in dodgy conditions, I did it on hands and knees and tethered my self when I got to where I wanted to be with a tether that prohibited me from going over the side. I concur with the three rules mentioned somewhere before "Stay on the boat" X 3.
I agree wholeheartedly with STAY ON THE BOAT
. Besides, the strobe will light up the insides of the shark that eats you quite nicely...but no one will see it there.
I'd also like to point out that the majority of fatalities in sailing have to do with falling off the boat. Even on a well-equipped boat, with a highly skilled crew, falling off the boat can easily result in fatalities
—look at the Volvo Open 70 race, with ABN Amro One, where Hans Horrevoets died after falling off the boat. I doubt that most of us will be sailing with a crew as quailified as that of the ABN Amro One.
In the distant past, many sailors on the commercial sailing ships didn't even know how to swim—their job was to sail the boat, and if they fell of the boat, it would not return for them. Swimming after a boat is not generally an option—you won't catch it.
My favorite story about not swimming in the Ocean comes from Tania Aebi’s book, I’ve Been Around
. Tania was doing a boat delivery with the owner of a new boat and several other people. The owner decided to jump off the bow and swim to the stern of the boat. He found it so refreshing that he did it a second time. Seconds after he got out of the water a second time, a 17+ foot shark hit the hull of the boat where he had exited the water.
As many of my sailing friends say, "We're sailors, and if we're not on the boat, we food for fishies—shark-bait."