Posts Tagged ‘liferaft’

Make sure there’s an EPIRB in your grab bag

Monday, January 25th, 2010

Another recommendation from the Flinders Islet yacht race incident preliminary report* was that yachts should have “a ‘mini grab bag’ that is easily accessible from the cockpit of the yacht containing at least a VHF handheld radio, 2 flares and, if possible, an EPIRB.”

Personally, I don’t think the EPIRB should be optional. I’d be much happier knowing that there was one in the grab bag if I needed to abandon ship.

If you do plan to get one, it needs to be a manually operated EPIRB so that you can activate it when necessary. And preferably with GPS, which can update rescue authorities with details of your position – particularly important when being blown along in a liferaft.

* You can read our report on the Cruising Yacht Club of Australia (CYCA) Board’s recommendations in our Newsletter Archive.

Why you should only ever step up into your liferaft

Monday, October 20th, 2008

A skipper and his two crew were lucky to survive when their yacht struck a reef in rough weather and sank near Fiji last week. They were rescued by an American family who heard their mayday, sailed for two hours to their location, found the three clinging together in the water, effected their rescue, applied first aid and took them to safety.

Quite correctly the survivors had transferred to their liferaft only when the yacht’s deck was sinking below the water. Unfortunately, as it was only a two-person liferaft, the skipper was forced to cling to the outside while his two female crew mates huddled in the raft. Their next misfortune was that the mast of the yacht struck and holed the liferaft, causing it to deflate and sink. The survival rations, fresh water and first aid kit from the raft had already been lost in the heavy swells – a not uncommon experience.

Although all were wearing lifejackets, one of the group felt that she would not have survived much longer – an hour at most. Despite being in the tropics, they were all suffering from hypothermia after spending six or so hours in the water.

Sadly for the skipper, the yacht had been his home for nine years and was uninsured.

Read more about sea safety

EPIRBs – where do you put them?

Thursday, September 18th, 2008

I have been thinking about EPIRBs and where best to stow them. Some people favour putting them in a grab bag. Others believe close to the companionway is better. I think there is a good argument that they should be outside the boat so that they can be activated by water pressure in the case of a really quick emergency.

Then I thought the best bet of all would be to have one packed in the liferaft itself. After all, you cannot then forget it. And now that they are so much cheaper than they used to be, why not have two? One in the raft and another wherever you like.