Please select your home edition
Edition
Pantaenius - Worldwide Support

Death by Dinghy

by Allan Riches Brunei Bay Radio on 30 Aug 2014
Anchoring at sunset .
Having operated adventure training organisations - trained staff and dealt with incidents, on land and water for more than thirty years - I've seen that the simple, the routine and the mundane are the most likely places to have problems. When embarking on a great adventure, stepping into the unknown or preparing for rough weather, we take precautions, wear safety equipment etc.



The dinghy seems to be that routine place where too many people come unstuck, perhaps because they become over-confident. Death by Dinghy happens repeatedly. And very often when making the trip back to the anchored yacht after dinner, in the dark with perhaps a few drinks to help people drop their guard, impair judgement and make them more susceptible to any problem becoming a disaster.



A strategy I often teach is to consider the situation in terms of risks and consequences. The risk of a problem might be low, but the consequences very high, so take precautions. If the risk is high and the consequences are high, avoid it. Better to sleep on the beach.

Small outboards are notoriously problematic. Fixing them or pulling repeatedly on the start cord in a floppy dinghy (no longer a tight pontoon because the sun is down and the water is cooling the air inside) with a flexible floor on a choppy sea is a recipe for going over the side. A risky enterprise. Falling out of the dinghy at night, in the dark, with no lifejacket, drunk, in a choppy sea has to be a very high risk activity.

Because water is not our natural environment, the situation can change very quickly from fun to really serious. We don't have gills, we don't float well, we get cold quickly in water and we are not natural swimmers. Everything is against us. Therefore it's vital to offset our natural deficiencies with some technology and smart strategies.

1. Wear a life-jacket; the inflatable type is not a big burden.

2. Check what yachting organisations require when wearing a precautionary life-jacket on-board in Cat 2 or Cat 1 events at night or rough seas; a PLB. If it is proven prudent to use on-board a far more secure and robust vessel when connected with a safety harness, it's smart to use in a relatively risky dinghy in far less difficult conditions.

3. Effective oars, an anchor with line, drinking water and bucket. Waterproof torch if either journey - to or from the beach/jetty - could occur after dark. (Any other suggestions?)

4. Do not overload the dinghy. Always a fun favourite when the crew has a few drinks, or some people want to go back early and others stay behind. But a disaster waiting to happen in the wrong circumstances.

5. Report in. Take the waterproof VHF radio (with DSC) and setup a reporting arrangement with someone on a nearby yacht and/or on shore. Tell them when you arrive safely on the beach/jetty, when departing the beach/jetty again, and when safely back on-board. Have an agreed strategy about what will be done if you do not arrive as planned/expected.

6. If travelling with a rally or cruise-in-company group, establish some standard procedures which everyone can count on without making specific arrangements, Such as everyone keeps their VHF (with DSC) radios switched on in their boats when at anchor. And everyone agrees to take certain items with them in their dinghy. Makes solving problems much more reliable and eliminates many uncertainties; such as did they have lifejackets, did they have a radio, is someone listening on-board if we call, etc.

7. In marginal conditions - current, dark, long distance etc - send one dinghy at a time, so others are in a position to help or raise the alarm if needed.

8. If the risk is high, but the technology and/or smart strategy advantages to tip the balance in your favour are not available or not sufficient, don't do it. It's really that simple. This is recreation. Nothing is so important to justify dying. Stay on the boat or stay on the shore. It's not compulsory to put yourself, family and friends in danger. The repeated evidence is dinghies are deadly.

------------
About Alan Riches Brunei Bay Radio:

Brunei Bay Radio operates a Limited Coast Station providing HF/SSB radio voice and email services, for recreation, tourism and commercial vessels. The assigned call-sign is V8V2222.

Brunei Bay Radio is located at the geographic centre of South East Asia, at approximately 5 degrees North and 115 degrees East. This central position facilitates an effective HF/SSB radio coverage throughout this rapidly developing region where isolated islands, coral reefs, and forest areas are the venue for conservation projects, cruising yachts, exploration, adventure activities and traditional communities.

The website – www.bruneibay.net/bbradio - has lots of useful information for sail and engine powered cruising yachts; in particular those planning to visit SE Asia and surrounding areas. Contact Allan via email – radio@bruneiaby.net

Pantaenius - Fixed ValueT Clewring CruisingInSunSport - NZ

Related Articles

Auckland on the Water Boat Show - Showers don't deter crowds on Day 2
A tsunami of boating fans of all persuasions swept through the gates of the Auckland On the Water Boat Show this morning A tsunami of boating fans of all persuasions swept through the gates of the Auckland On the Water Boat Show when they opened this morning. Whether it was a result of the morning weather forecast or Friday was just a convenient day - who knows?
Posted today at 11:30 am
Auckland On the Water Boat Show opens full of the Joys of Spring
The Auckland On the Water Boat Show enjoyed a beautiful Spring day for its opening. Despite the inclement weather that has been the New Zealand's daily fare for too long, the Auckland On the Water Boat Show enjoyed a beautiful Spring day for its opening. Today was the first of the four-day show and is also the first time that the Show has been held in the school holidays.
Posted on 29 Sep
Knowing Harken takes years and years (Pt.II)
We looked at how Grant Pellew became the MD here in Australia, and how they rigorously go about testing their gear In Part One of getting to know Harken, we looked at how Grant Pellew became the MD here in Australia, and how they rigorously go about testing their gear. We also looked at some of the other brands Harken distributes in Australia and so we move on to the last category.
Posted on 25 Sep
Olympic Gold medalist and Volvo Ocean Race winner up for WS Board
Torben Grael (BRA) is amongst the 15 nominations for one of seven places on the Board of Directors of World Sailing Torben Grael (BRA) is amongst the 15 nominations for one of seven places on the Board of Directors of World Sailing in November. The five times Olympic medalist, Volvo Ocean Race winner and several times America's Cup competitor will bring a much needed sailing edge to the Board of World Sailing if he can navigate the politics of the controlling body of the sport.
Posted on 25 Sep
Amel - Do you fit the bill?
Perhaps it is equally as fascinating as the many features that go into either the Amel 55 or 64 It is certainly an interesting set of criterion. Perhaps it is equally as fascinating as the many features that go into either the Amel 55 or 64 and make them a definitive part of the quintessential bluewater cruiser armada. We’ll come to all of those in due course, but firstly we’ll tackle the hero image and why in so many ways, this explains, so, so much.
Posted on 21 Sep
Knowing Harken takes years and years (Pt.I)
You could imagine that being familiar with all that Harken produces and stands for is a lengthy process. You could imagine that being familiar with all that Harken produces and stands for is a lengthy process. So if you were going to be the person at the top in Australia, it would be best for you to have immersed yourself in sailing from an early age. When you grew up, being one of the technical service team would be more than a handy apprenticeship, as it were.
Posted on 19 Sep
Brookes and Gatehouse Videos with Knut Frostad
Navico, the parent company for Brookes and Gatehouse (B&G), Simrad and Lowrance have prepared some terrific videos Navico, the parent company for Brookes and Gatehouse (B&G), Simrad and Lowrance have prepared some terrific videos with Knut Frostad, the legendary Volvo Ocean Race sailor and former CEO. See him talk about sailing in general, the B&G product choices and placement he made for his own boat, and then why he loves his Outremer 5X.
Posted on 8 Sep
Boat Books of the Month - How to Read Water and False Flags
How to Read Water: Clues, Signs & Patterns from Puddles to Sea & False Flags: Disguised German Raiders of World War II. This month the Boatbooks Australia: Boat Books of the Month are How to Read Water: Clues, Signs & Patterns from Puddles to the Sea and False Flags: Disguised German Raiders of World War II.
Posted on 6 Sep
Soft Padeyes – light, strong and versatile
Several types of soft padeyes are now available and are proving increasingly popular over traditional stainless steel pa Several types of soft padeyes are now available on the market and are proving increasingly popular over traditional stainless steel padeyes. They all capitalise on the incredible strength to weight ratio and abrasion resistance of Dyneema® which offers a reliable, robust, flexible and safe termination.
Posted on 6 Sep
The X Factor starring X-Yachts
X-Yachts do indeed have plenty to sing about. X-Yachts do indeed have plenty to sing about. Testament to that is the three-year-old Xp38 on display at the recent Sydney International Boat Show still looked brand new. This was no mooring minder either, but rather a boat that had gone up to Hamilton Island Race Week for each of those years and campaigned hard.
Posted on 31 Aug