SailNet Community banner

1 - 11 of 11 Posts

·
Registered
Joined
·
1 Posts
Discussion Starter #1
Hi Sailors,

I'm a non-sailor - way too much of a coward to sail, but absolutely fascinated by it and the people who do it. I watched 'All Is Lost' last night and now i cannot stop googling lost-at-sea stories. I have a question that I would love to know the answer to.

Obviously in the movie, RR's boat sank and he had no choice but to get in his life raft. But I've seen other stories of people abandoning ship with their boats still upright - with sails shredded or the mast severed or power out, but still basically intact. My question is what would be a reason to do that? I would think it would be safer to stay in your boat and wait for rescue. I think of a life raft and all I can think of is sharks tearing it to pieces! On the boat it just seems that you're more protected - from predators and the elements?

Am I wrong? How safe is drifting in a life raft opposed to in your non-working boat? Why would someone abandon their boat if it hasn't sunk, like in the photo attached?

Thanks for listening!

Too Chicken :D
 

Attachments

·
islander bahama 24
Joined
·
1,842 Posts
My recommendation is always step up into a life raft as the mother ship slips beneath the waves bigger is always safer. And you can always rig something as a sail I have used a sleeping bag once not pretty but will work my dad can't swim but he's a great sailor put on alife vest and give it a try
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
3,264 Posts
TC,

It happens more often than people think, but there is no good reason for it. Ideally you never get off the larger vessel until it is sunk, not just sinking but actually under water and headed for the bottom. For a lot of reasons, but primarily because all your stuff (food, water, supplies) are on the large ship and you will never have enough time to scavange it all during a storm. The larger vessel is also much easier to see from a search and rescue craft than a liferaft.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
2,086 Posts
Maybe that movie was trying to show that when extremely fatigued even an experienced mariner can make really poor decisions.
Most people can sail their whole lives and 10's of thousands of miles being able to "self rescue" when problems arise.
 

·
Mermaid Hunter
Joined
·
5,689 Posts
I've seen other stories of people abandoning ship with their boats still upright - with sails shredded or the mast severed or power out, but still basically intact.
Your observation is correct. The only reasons I can think of to get off a boat are: it's definitely sinking, it's on fire, you're pounding on a reef, and search & rescue is there to get you.

I suspect as an armchair psychologist that in a situation that seems out of control people make poor decisions like prematurely abandoning their boat in the effort to take some control over their situation. It makes them feel like the are actively doing something. Wives (statistically) or friends or crew screaming "get me off this boat!" contribute to the overwhelming desire to do something.

Sometimes it takes a very strong leader to do nothing and make that course of action acceptable to those being led.
 

·
Administrator
Joined
·
7,555 Posts
Lol! This is a great question and on this forum we often ponder the problem!

We have a sub forum specifically on boats that have got into trouble so we can try and work out why and what we would do. Have a read. Vessels Lost, Missing, or in Danger - SailNet Community

Why does someone get off into a flimsy life raft? Psychologists tell us that perhaps theres a real, though imagined, reason to get off... Safety. They think in their exhausted minds that Pushing the Red Button or jumping into the liferaft will make their situation better. The fear of death is so bad on the mother ship they think the liferaft will be less dangerous.. Maybe because we call them a LIFEraft. Instead of The last Resort.

The Red Button is the EPIRB the satellite communications system that the Coast Guard picks up and then dispatches a rescue plane or boat or ship.

Again exhaustion is the big motivator. People have lost capacity to reason through fatigue and tiredness. Push the button and all the fear will be over. Salvation.

Can someone really get that tired? Yep! Thats why the CIA uses sleep deprivation as a torture to make a criminal spill the beans.

So when you read of some horror remember that the person was trying to do their best, trying to make the right decisions but their brains were fried from lack of sleep and fear of death.


Mark
 

·
Old soul
Joined
·
4,917 Posts
There was a thread about the efficacy of EPIRBS and liferafts. I and a small others pointed out that the mere presence of a liferaft will change the psychological dynamic of a disaster situation. I'm not saying you shouldn't carry a liferaft, but I'm sure that most people in a rapidly deteriorating situation, where exhaustion, fear and frustration have been grinding for hours or days, will begin to look to a liferaft as the simple way out. It may be the right decision, but as the OP has pointed out, there are too many examples when staying with the mothership would have been the better decision.


Why go fast, when you can go slow
 

·
islander bahama 24
Joined
·
1,842 Posts
I am the person that would really stay to the last and considering my boat has positive floatation I don't carry a " liferaft" you can always find spots for adding foam floatation to a sailboat
 

·
██▓▓▒▒░&
Joined
·
13,645 Posts
Chicken-
"All is Lost" has got nothing to do with sailing. It happens to be set on a sailboat, yes, but it has nothing to do with sailing, is nothing about sailing, or about sailors. It could easily have been rewritten with the same character in a forest, or in a hot air balloon, or in a slum.
Just like the whale is irrelevant to Moby Dick.
So, don't think that movie has anything to do with sailing. Or life rafts. Or anything else besides "the human condition".
 

·
Administrator
Joined
·
7,555 Posts
But the human condition is what the OP is asking about.
 
1 - 11 of 11 Posts
Top