This is a scary thought for boaters to see they are taking on water, unless it is in your water tanks for drinking. Dan tells me… “Keep the sea water out of the people tank!!” Meaning… keeping it out of the bilges of Angelique.
Did I wake you up yet? Good, because safety is #1 priority, and this could easily have happened to us. Dan and I talk a lot about “what if’s” and safety around those items. So much can go wrong and you can die if you are thinking the risks aren’t real.
“People we know; one had a fire and they jumped overboard, the other took on water and was able to stay afloat, but came close to sinking”
So, if we were to take on water that was more than our normal Bilge Pumps could handle. We have portable pumps that can assist with the incoming water. But determining what the cause of the leak as soon as possible and stopping it is critical, otherwise we will be abandoning ship.
If we have to jump in the water an Immersion/exposure suit would be a good thing, which we have. It is a waterproof dry suit that will increase our odds of surviving hypothermia while exposed to the water and elements.
The other option is to deploy our Life Raft and get in, if we have enough time to do that. Once we are inside the raft we need supplies. We have to survive (food, water and protection from elements) and attempt to communicate what happened and where we are at. Which is where the Sea Ditch Bags, EPIRB, (emergency position-indicating radio beacon station) & our Garmin InReach satellite communicator come in to play.
We work hard to stay safe and not use our safety gear, but if we did, we will be grateful for our planning. I spent one full day early September refreshing, organizing, and putting in new items in our Ditch Bags. When was the last time you reviewed yours? Is it time? Have you done your planning and prep for safety?
One day while we were in Sausalito CA I saw a Chandlery (shop selling nautical items). We love going to these types of shops.
“It is the hunt for what we didn’t know they had, that we need”
As we walked in, we could smell the salty, nautical, items waiting for us to snap them up and have a new home. The owner asked as we browsed the shelf’s “what are you looking for” One of the items was a sea anchor, but the likely hood of them having the right size was extremely rare. Shop owner said “I have one, but it is really big”… that’s what we need, really big. It ended up being the exact right size for us and we purchased it. It had never been used. We felt very lucky as it was an item that we didn’t have before leaving Portland.
A Sea Anchor is parachute shaped and is used in rough weather and/or if we had to stop for some reason in the ocean and couldn’t put down a real anchor. When deployed, it keeps us facing in the direction of the waves and almost completely stopped, about 1 mile a day.
If you are a boater you know how important safety is… and I’m guessing that most non-boaters would say safety is really important part of boat life too. Everyone needs a reminder once in a while. Whether you are a boater or just a home owner, take time to checkout your safety gear, smoke detectors/extinguishers etc. Don’t assume it won’t happen to you. Make Safety First and make it a habit and it won’t be hard.
Wear your PFD/Life Vest! There are so many varieties today, you don’t have an excuse. Do your safety checks and refresh your safety gear not just for big trips for your weekend and river trips.
I’m glad this was just an article about safety and I wasn’t telling you about something bad that happened. Hope you didn’t mind me starting off the article with a scare. It is sometimes needed to get the attention. Please also don’t assume that these are the only safety items. There are so many safety items. Do your own analysis and update what is right for you and your boat, trip, size and risk.
Thank you all for being safe!
STAY TUNED for our upcoming articles; ** Angela called “Repel Boarders @ 4am and Dan responds” (true story) and ** The Dinghy Saga Continues