Join Date: Feb 2018
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Re: Catamaran Knocked Down Near St George Island
So do I, I wear a 406 PLB on my lifejacket as well as a submersible VHF, but I haven't found that to be common practice by majority of coastal sailors that I have personally observed. What I have typically seen is more line with the video SD posted above on the Catalina. Street clothes, key hole life jackets, no PLBs or radios. I am not just talking about the Gulf of Mexico, that's how I see a lot of sailors equipped every where I have sailed.
Even for the folks who carry an EPIRB there are challenges when you have a sudden capsize like that. If its manually activated, you have to be able to get to it to activate it. Not so easy on a capsized cat. Even a float free auto activate EPIRB is going to have challenges with a sudden capsize of a catamaran. It has to be submerged enough to activate the hydrostatic release and to get a clear signal it may have to somehow float free of the wreckage of the inverted catamaran.
I am all for EPIRBs, PLBs, SPOTS, Delormes etc, but there are limitations to each in certain situations.
Its like working under a car. We all should have jack stands, wheel chocks and a helper just in case but many don't have more than a service jack. Me I have all or at least have the stands with the wheel chocks and tell family that if I am not back inside in a set time period to check on me or set up a phone check with them if they are going to be out and about since I am working under the car. Yes some get distracted and such so its not perfect but you do all you reasonably can to be safe.
At the sailing center if I am working out in the remote yard I set up check ins with the Boat Shed Mechanic or one of the Yard Mule Drivers along with notify whoever is going to lockup that evening. It's not beyond me to take a few old sail bags full of old life vests to put beneath a boat I am crawling under just in case to add some margin of safety. Some of the guys will lift a boat on a gantry and work underneath just trusting the brake on the hoist to hold with out slipping and then start hammering, grinding, etc laying underneath it.
Try to lead by example in not compromising my own or anyone else's safety for convenience, to meet a schedule, stay in budget or pander to any other agenda.