Posts Tagged ‘yacht safety equipment’

Welsh coastguard rescues man twice!

Friday, June 11th, 2010

Last week a man, we won’t call him a yachtsman, alone aboard his 12-metre yacht, called the Swansea Coastguard in Wales when his yacht lost all power and he was unable to start his engine. The Coastguard sent a lifeboat from Mumbles to rescue him.

Less than 24 hours later the same man called the Swansea Coastguard again after suffering the same problem. The Coastguard sent a lifeboat from Barry to tow the yacht to safety. Crew on board the lifeboat found that the yacht had no navigation lights and the man’s mobile phone and handheld GPS had low battery strength. No mention was made of a VHF radio.

The Swansea Coastguard watch manager, Dave Jones said: “When we give out safety advice to people going out for a trip in a yacht we recommend that people take adequate communications and navigational devices, flares, and check their engines.

“Unfortunately, this man followed none of this advice and set out not once, but twice, knowing that he did not have sufficient power to reach his destination.”

He added: “We hope that the yachtsman will consider full equipping and preparing his vessel before he continues his journey in order that we do not have to send [lifeboats] out to his rescue for a third time.”

This man’s lack of preparation and the absence of yacht safety equipment strike me as even worse than the Sheppey boating fiasco.

No radio, but they did have a float plan

Friday, July 17th, 2009

Although the two young men I wrote about earlier this week were extremely irresponsible in setting sail without a marine VHF radio, life jackets and flares, they did at least do one thing right. They had told someone on land where they were going and that they planned to keep in touch, albeit by mobile phone.

They lodged their float plan with their parents who therefore knew:
* when they set out from Marina Del Rey
* when they expected to reach Santa Cruz
* to expect contact from the pair at least once a day

When the parents had heard nothing from the novice sailors on the Friday and Saturday, they contacted Coast Guard on the Sunday to share their concerns for the safety of the two men.

If they had not arranged to contact the parents daily and the sailboat had got into difficulties, their lack of radio and flares meant that they would not have been able to seek help.

Hopefully they now understand why there are rules covering the yacht safety equipment that must be carried on board – and why they should learn how to use it.

Having no radio was plain irresponsible

Tuesday, July 14th, 2009

In last week’s newsletter I talked about using a marine VHF radio to keep in touch while at sea. The story below demonstrates how failure to do so caused a major search, fortunately with no loss of life.

Last month two young men took to sea in a yacht bought for US$2,000. They had no sailing experience and were relying on their mobile phones to update their parents on their progress to Santa Cruz from Marina Del Rey, a voyage of over 200 miles.

After some calls in the first 24 hours at sea, the parents heard nothing from the yacht for two days so they contacted Coast Guard, who initiated a search using a plane and two helicopters.

The men were found safe and sound and were completely unaware that they had been ‘missing’. They had lost contact with home when their mobile phone batteries ran down and they had no way of recharging them.

Coast Guard also found that they had no life jackets, flares or radio communications equipment on board.

Undeterred, the two planned to buy the necessary yacht safety equipment and continue their voyage. Fortunately for them, neither they nor their families will be charged for the cost of the search and rescue operation.