Please select your home edition
Edition
Safety at Sea - Baltic - 4

Irresponsible activation of EPIRBs - bush walkers and sailors

by Nancy Knudsen on 15 Jun 2013
I guess you would have to agree there was a valid reason to let off the EPIRB in this case. Photo by US Coast Guard, incident subject of a book by Michael Tougias, ’’A Storm too Soon’’ SW
In a case that, to my knowledge has not been replicated in the sailing world, the Rescue Co-ordination Centre New Zealand (RCCNZ) launched an investigation into claims that a bush walker had activated the beacon because he was running late and wanted a ride back to his car. It is an interesting case for the sailor because of multiple opinions among the sailing fraternity that often sailors activate their beacon merely because they are frightened. The incident occurred in February this year, and the bush walker has just been cleared of the charge of misuse. The bush walker, from Nelson on the South Island of New Zealand, has dodged a hefty fine after, it was found, wrongly being accused of misusing a personal locator beacon while tramping on the West Coast in February. Ben Winnubst, 67, activated the beacon on the third day of a five-day off-track 'tramp' in the Hooker Wilderness Area, south Westland. He told Solid Energy rescue helicopter's crew who airlifted him out that he was struggling with the challenging terrain and had underestimated the time it would take him to tramp out. In February after the incident, Maritime New Zealand said a tramper 'who appears to have activated his personal locator beacon simply because he was running late and wanted a ride to his car wasted time, taxpayers' money, and potentially put others at risk'. Maritime New Zealand's general manager of safety and response services, Nigel Clifford, said the man, who had written books about tramping, had now agreed to plan future expeditions more carefully to avoid underestimating the difficulty of terrain. No further action would be taken. 'If he had continued tramping, it was likely a search and rescue operation would have been initiated because he would have been overdue and the area's conditions would have made it difficult to find him,' Mr Clifford said. 'We certainly do not wish to discourage people from activating beacons when they are in distress but it is not a decision that should be taken lightly.' He reiterated the need for people to be prepared, saying beacons were not a substitute for good planning. 'People going into wilderness areas should be aware of weather forecasts and carry suitable communications equipment such as a mountain radio. Cellphones should not be relied upon.' At the time, Mr Clifford said the rescue of the tramper had cost $10,000 and tied up the helicopter for two and a half hours. Back to the sailing world, there are many cases where the crew have abandoned their boat but the boat, unaided, makes it to shore. In an iconic case about four years ago, also in New Zealand, the crew of a sailing boat who insisted on activating their emergency beacon against the wishes of the owner/skipper of the boat ended up paying for the rescue because of the outcry in New Zealand. The yacht, which had to be abandoned, washed up several months later on Australian shores. See http://www.sail-world.com/index_d.cfm?nid=56974!Sail-World_story. The question remains: When and how should officialdom step in in the case of potentially irresponsible, inexperienced or frightened cruising or racing sailors?
Zhik AkzoNobelb 660x82Beneteau SAIL Oceanis 35.1 37.1 41.1 660x82 1BandG AUS Triton2 660x82

Related Articles

Fifteenth blog from on board Perie Banou II - BVIs
I am on the yacht. Back on air with the iridium. Paul Stratfold, with his partner Shiralee, plus owner and his friend I am on the yacht. Back on air with the iridium. Paul Stratfold, with his partner Shiralee, plus owner and his friend (another Paul from Hawaii). Are on the specially constructed 60ft catamaran named 'Gizmo'. Carbon fibre hull, carbon fibre mast, carbon fibre rigging, carbon fibre sails. There are no turnbuckles with the rigging (holding the mast up). Just Dyneema lashing.
Posted on 19 Apr
Debbie says the 8thP with Insurance is Patience
This all stems from the learnings in the widely read, ‘Debbie says there are 7 Ps and 1 C with insurance’. This all stems from the learnings in the widely read, ‘Debbie says there are 7 Ps and 1 C with insurance’. As time unfolds some more, we learn that indeed there are a lot of reasons you need to apply patience with both your dealings with your insurance company, and also all the many trades that are working feverishly to get all the jobs done.
Posted on 19 Apr
Fourteenth blog from on board Perie Banou II - British Virgin Isles
32 days back I departed the British Island of Saint Helena. Clearing port, customs, immigration simple. Jon has arrived in the BVI ahead of his estimated arrival. He had somehow managed to completely disconnect from the on-board communication system that they set up for him, and as a result we didn't have communication with him while he was at sea. of course, that is nothing strange for Jon, and perhaps he wanted it to be more like his circumnavigations of old? Hmmmm.... Accidentally on purpose?
Posted on 12 Apr
A very difficult day - Got fuel to Cape Town
Well after my dismasting I have spent the last two days motoring North towards Cape Town trying to collect myself Well after my dismasting I have spent the last two days motoring North towards Cape Town trying to collect myself and to intercept Hong Kong container ship M/V Far Eastern Mercury who had been diverted by Maritime Rescue Coordination Center Cape Town (MRCC Cape Town) when I had issued a Pan-Pan during my dismasting.
Posted on 8 Apr
Debbie says there are 7Ps and 1C with Insurance
Debbie says there are 7Ps and 1C with Insurance If you have been on the planet or around boats long enough, you’ll know all about the 7Ps. The one ‘C’ mentioned here refers to consequence, and in the legalese that surrounds insurance, it gets applied distinctly to consequential damage. We’ll come back to all of that in a while, but for now, our mission is to look at the consequences of actions prior to TC Debbie making landfall.
Posted on 5 Apr
Lisa Blair heads to Cape Town under motor following dismasting
A PAN PAN was called at 0300 (AET) / 1900 (SAST) signalling an urgent threat to her safety and this remains in place. Lisa Blair has assessed the damage to her yacht, Climate Action Now, after being dismasted 895 nm south of Cape Town in 40 knot winds and seven metre swells early in the morning of April 4, 2017. She made a PAN PAN call over the radio at approximately 0300 (AET) / 1900 (SAST) signalling an urgent threat to her safety and this remains in place.
Posted on 4 Apr
Queensland Cyclone – Hamilton Island faces massive five-month rebuild
Hamilton Island chief executive Glenn Bourke yesterday told almost 600 staff of the massive task ahead to clean-up Hamilton Island faces a massive five-month rebuild but will partly reopen for business next Saturday after “all hell broke loose”. Exclusive pictures obtained by The Sunday Mail shows the “apocalyptic” scale of destruction to privately owned homes, luxury hotels and yachts at ground zero in the cyclone-ravaged Whitsundays.
Posted on 2 Apr
Ex-Tropical Cyclone Debbie tracking southwards today, bringing rain
Heavy rain and flooding is expected as Ex-Tropical Cyclone Debbie moves south-east. Heavy rain and flooding is expected as Ex-Tropical Cyclone Debbie moves south-east. A Flood Watch has been issued for coastal catchments between Gladstone in Queensland and Bellingen in northern New South Wales. The Flood Watch extends inland to parts of the Central Highlands and Coalfields, Central West, Maranoa and Warrego, Darling Downs and Granite Belt forecast districts...
Posted on 29 Mar
Ayr, Airlie Beach and the Whitsundays to meet Cyclone Debbie
Having intensified to a Cat4 TC now, Debbie is expected to hit during the course of Monday night and into Tuesday mornin Having intensified to a Cat3 TC now and Cat4 when it will make landfall, Debbie is expected to hit during the course of Monday night and into Tuesday morning (0400hrs). Thus far, there have been police enforced evacuations around Ayr, as it is expected that this will be the biggest event since the all-powerful TC5 Yasi hit back in 2011. There are also reports of residents refusing to leave
Posted on 26 Mar
X-Yachts advisory board announces ambitious strategy plan
X-Yachts now has three unique and different ranges. All three lines will be further developed and refined. Catering for a complete cross section of sailors prioritising Superb Sailing Pleasure, X-Yachts now has three unique and different ranges. All three lines will be further developed and refined.
Posted on 24 Mar