Posts Tagged ‘safety at sea’

What was John Bonds best known for?

Sunday, June 20th, 2010

He’s the man who pioneered the Quick Stop method of retrieving a crew member from the water.

As a member of the Safety at Sea committee, John Bonds conducted some 600 tests with midshipmen and using different equipment before concluding that the Quick Stop was the most effective manoeuvre.

It took some years for the Quick Stop to be adopted as the preferred man overboard response but it is now taught in sailing courses around the world, displacing the traditional, broad reach method.

What other significant innovation was he responsible for?

The answer is in this week’s newsletter, where we acknowledged John’s impact on sea safety.

Vendee rescue – valuable operation or waste of taxpayers’ money?

Monday, December 22nd, 2008

While everyone following the Vendee Globe is relieved that Yann Elies has been rescued by the captain and crew of HMAS Arunta, some people in Australia are querying why such a rescue should take place, and at taxpayers’ expense. It’s an easy question to answer. Australia, by nature of its position in the world, has responsibility for a large amount of the Southern Ocean. And it’s good that it takes that responsibility seriously.


Such a rescue operation is also so much better than any practice exercise – there’s nothing like actual experience to learn and develop skills.


Also of note is that Vendee organisers requested that two yachts divert to give moral support to the injured Yann Elies. Sam Davies, although she knew that she couldn’t reach the stricken yachtsman before HMAS Arunta, maintained her course until she was stood down by the race organisers. Marc Guillemot was standing by and watched the transfer take place: “Some highly professional work. They prepared Yann for the transfer. Still heavy swell but they carried out manoeuvre perfectly. Yann is now aboard the frigate and has a doctor taking care of him.”


All this was done to meet the obligations under International Convention for the Safety of Life at Sea (SOLAS) and, for the whingers, consider how you would feel if you had carried out such an operation successfully, your morale would be sky high.


You can discover much more about safety at sea in The Boating Bible Manual of Seamanship – Safety and Emergencies.

Will you be wearing your harness when you REALLY need it?

Friday, November 21st, 2008

The best way to ensure that you and your crew members are wearing harnesses (and clipped on) is to set some basic rules and allow NO exceptions.

The Storm Trysail Club, an American association of experienced sailors who have survived storm conditions and are capable of skippering a vessel in those conditions, sets down the following guidelines:

A harness (with tether) and lifejacket with whistle and reflective material shall be worn:
a) between the hours of sunset and sunrise
b) when alone on deck
c) when reefed
d) when true wind speed is 25 knots or above
e) when visibility is less than one nautical mile

Additionally, each crew member shall carry a personal strobe between the hours of sunset and sunrise.

Don’t feel obliged to adopt the above guidelines but, as skipper, please do develop your own and enforce them.

Wearing a harness gives crew members confidence when moving around the boat. I’ve seen sailors who were reluctant to don a harness, reluctant to venture on to the foredeck when they are harnessed on, because they hadn’t learnt to trust the equipment.

Safety at sea is often a matter of common sense and avoiding taking unnecessary risks. It’s surprising how many times people quickly pop up on deck without a harness and find themselves overboard. Make sure you’re not one of them.

For detailed information on safety at sea, please visit Safety and Emergencies.