Dauphin Island Race Incident Findings and Safety Recomendations. - SailNet Community
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post #1 of 6 Old 04-19-2019 Thread Starter
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Dauphin Island Race Incident Findings and Safety Recomendations.

Happened across this report about the Dauphin Island Race in 2015.


https://www.sailingscuttlebutt.com/2...n-island-race/

My understanding it was an 18 mile race. The wind got serious. A number of boats got into trouble, some serious.

Any way there are some interesting recomendations for race events in the US, including mandatory PFDs on deck and hand VHFs being mandatory in the cockpit.
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post #2 of 6 Old 04-19-2019
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Re: Dauphin Island Race Incident Findings and Safety Recomendations.

I heard that many of the people who got into trouble because of the weather were not racing. Coast Guard recommendations include things like mandatory life jackets. For everyone, on every boat, in every race, for the whole race. People in Houston could pass out from the heat. Other ideas involve having the RC be responsible for a definitive crew list for every boat in each race. Steve was on the list submitted by "Dumb Luck", but got stuck in traffic and the boat took Fred in his place, off the dock. How does "Dumb Luck" amend their crew list? Who on the RC is responsible for updating it? If the Coast Guard wants copies of all these lists, who makes sure their list gets updated? I can just imagine them checking boats coming back from a race and hearing that Steve is not aboard "Dumb Luck" and sending out a helo to look for him. Putting rules like this into effect would be impractical and of minimal benefit.

Most accidents on the water involve powerboats. Sailboats tend to be handled by people who know that they need to be careful.
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Re: Dauphin Island Race Incident Findings and Safety Recomendations.

I would think one would need to be pretty frail to pass out from the heat from wearing an inflatable PFD?
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Re: Dauphin Island Race Incident Findings and Safety Recomendations.

Not everyone can afford inflatables. I don't use one. The recommendation would apparently be to have the RRS changed for EVERY sailboat race in the U.S. It hits 100 F in many places in the summer down here. Sometimes often, and often miserably humid. To be totally safe, perhaps people could stay home in bed?

Of course, this change would only affect racers, who are probably already better aware and equipped safety-wise than many other recreational sailors. Racers sail in bunches - so there are boats nearby to effect rescues. Class rules require equipment like tow ropes, paddles, buckets, and anchors in order to race. Racers often have RC or crash boats on hand to monitor the fleet and provide help. Races are run in conditions that might send non-racers to the mall, so racers learn how to deal with nasty weather. They sail frequently and know their boats. Yes, sometimes weather events can overcome even the best-prepared sailors or their vessels. Buildings and roads can be damaged or destroyed by weather too. Does that mean we should live in holes in the ground and travel only by tunnel?
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Re: Dauphin Island Race Incident Findings and Safety Recomendations.

Well, any way, as near as I can tell they are just recommendations.

I don't use an inflatable either, but I do use a higher end foam jacket that would be comparable cost wise to a good inflatable. It's so comfortable you hardly know it's there, even in hot weather. But I can understand people not wanting to wear around $30 Walmart PFDs.

Agree one size fits all rules aren't always the most effective, but thought the report and recommendations were interesting none the less.

Last edited by Arcb; 04-20-2019 at 08:40 AM.
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post #6 of 6 Old 04-20-2019
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Re: Dauphin Island Race Incident Findings and Safety Recomendations.

Around here many boats are very casual about wearing pfds, mainly because races are typically in light to moderate wind and protected waters. It is written into the race instructions that the race committee can fly the "I" Flag which means "Lifejackets Mandatory". Any boat that does not comply will be disqualified. When that happens I am always surprised at the crappy keyhole lifejackets I see people wearing!

Personally I believe the skipper should take responsibility for their crew's safety. They should provide decent quality comfortable lifejackets for their crew. These days when I crew on other boats I bring my own inflatable, and always wear it, although I did not wear it as often as I should have back in my young and invincible days!

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