Safety drills can be dangerous

Five crew members died when a lifeboat drill went amiss. CNN has an article which provides more information on this most recent tragedy.

YouTube has a dramatic video (where nobody is hurt) of just how dangerous this can be

It is not that we shouldn’t train but it is obvious that lifeboats with their complex lifting davits and great weight poise a special danger.

Along with those at CNN our thoughts are also with the families and friends of those lost in this tragedy. As was said on Hill Street Blues, “let’s be careful out there”.

Seattle Boat Show 2013, the aftermath

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The 2013 Seattle Boat Show is over. Ten days is a long time for a show and for small companies like Westpac it can be quite an ordeal. The good news is this year customers were back out looking at products and asking questions. Time flies when you are busy in the booth and for the bulk of the days we we busy. Evenings were another story, it was dead but Seattle always seems to head off early for dinner (and a cocktail?) rather than going to a boat show.

This year there was some new equipment to see. We had the Kannad R10 manoverboard device and our own 5:1 lifting tackle. The lifting tackle was a big hit. Using an idea from rock climbing we were able to lower the price to $150.00 and still provide a super high quality piece of equipment. Check it out to see how we put it together. All the hardware is sailboat grade and the rope is actually made in the US by Sterling Rope.

There was some time to get out of our booth to check out what others had on offer. Satellite communications seems to be replacing single sideband radios. Following the recent sailboat race around the world shows how much information can be transmitted back and forth (if you have the money) with this type of equipment. LED lights are everywhere, maybe saving power for the satellite antennas, both for use inside and outside. Then there was the floating hot tub which did not look overly seaworthy. It was good to see new products after several years with nothing. Hopefully this is a trend brought about by a strengthening economy.

Man Overboard App

They say there is an app for everything, now there is one which allows you to use your phone to help locate someone who has fallen overboard. I have not tried this and can’t quite come to grips with the idea of using ones phone to carry out a primary life saving function, but if you have an iPhone and want to give it a spin it is at the iTunes store.

If you are looking for a device which is designed to be worn the Kannad R10 is new on the market and works with the vessel’s AIS system.

Kannad R10

The R10 is the first device I am aware of that does not require a dedicated receiver on-board your vessel. For under $300.00 you can equip a crew person with this device which has a typical range of 4 nautical miles and transmits a unique emergency alert to all AIS receivers and AIS enabled chart plotters within its range.

While the iPhone app is less expensive, I would put my money into an R10 if I really wanted to be rescued after falling overboard.