Countless novels, movies, and TV series have been made about castaways and survivors of shipwrecks.
As with any potential disaster or travel emergency, the best way to survive a shipwreck is to take every precaution you possibly can to avoid one, and to be fully prepared to survive and be rescued should an accident occur. That starts on dry land before you launch. Before you board your motor yacht you need to make sure you have everything you might need in the event of an emergency.
Must Have Emergency Gear for Motor Yacht Owners
Items to call or signal for help need to be very high on the list. That includes a VHF radio to communicate with other boaters, flares and, depending on how far you’re traveling, an emergency position-indicating radio beacon (EPIRB), or a personal locator beacon (PLB).
Life jackets that are regularly checked are also a must, as well as a life raft in case you have to abandon ship.
If you have to abandon ship, you want to make sure you’ve got what you need while waiting to be rescued. That means you need to have a “Go Bag” filled with basic first aid and survival gear. In addition, your “Marine Emergency Go Bag” should include:
- Portable Emergency Flares
- Additional Water Proof Matches
- Additional Food and Water Rations
- Desalinization tablets
- Thermal or Cold Weather Gear in watertight containers
- A portable Solar Still
- Fishing line and hooks in a watertight tube or container
Tax Free Holiday on Disaster Supplies This Weekend!
If you do not have the supplies listed above, now is a great time to buy them. In recognition of the start of the Atlantic Hurricane Season, The Florida Department of Revenue has announced that The 2017 Disaster Preparedness Sales Tax Holiday has been passed by the Florida Legislature and signed into law by Governor Rick Scott. This sales tax holiday begins at 12:01 a.m. on Friday, June 2, 2017, and ends at 11:59 p.m. on Sunday, June 4, 2017.
During this sales tax holiday, qualifying items related to disaster preparedness are exempt from sales tax. You can find a complete list of the available items by accessing the Department’s Tax Information Publication on the Tax Free Holiday 2017.
If your yacht is taking on water, find the leak and stem the flow using whatever you can, such as sails or cushions. But if the hole is too big or you’re not able to contain it, then call the Coast Guard for help and get everyone ready to abandon the yacht.
Only leave your boat if you have no other option. Use flares and your EPIRP and PLB to attract attention from rescuers. If you sent a proper Mayday or Distress Call, help will be on the way. Even if you see land in the distance, you are better off staying put in the water. This is especially true if you are in the water without a raft.
It can be very tempting to try to swim to land if you see it in the distance, but distances can be very deceiving out on the open water, and unless you know for a fact that you are close enough within your physical ability to swim back to your departure point, the best thing to do is to stay in the water.
I’ve worked closely with the Coast Guard and I know that a lot of people drown near the beach because of rip currents or high surf. So don’t frantically head for what you think is land. If you are with a group of passengers, the best thing is to stay together as a group. The larger target will make it easier for rescuers to spot you, and you can more easily stay warm and conserve energy in the group.
Surviving at sea can be the most grueling, the most mentally and physically demanding survival situation you are likely to ever find yourself in. It will take all of your mental and physical preparedness skills, but it can be done, as proven when:
- In 1820, a sperm whale savagely attacked and sank the whaleship Essex, leaving its desperate crew adrift to survive for more than ninety days in three tiny boats. The sinking of the Essex was the inspiration for the classic novel, Moby Dick, and was the subject of the 2015 movie, “In the Heart of the Sea.”
- World War 1 pilot Eddie Rickenbacker and his crew were flying from Hawaii to an air base in the South Pacific when their plane crashed into the ocean. The eight crewmembers survived 20 days in three life rafts with a handful of chocolate bars and oranges, and a fishing hook and line.
- 67 British sailors survived 20 days and 1,200 miles adrift at sea during WW2 after their ship sunk following a U-Boat attack. They floated on four lifeboats and survived on water biscuits, raisins and the odd raw fish caught by hand.
As you might imagine, what these and many similar stories of survival at sea have in common was an insurmountable will to live, coupled with the right knowledge of what to do.
On Demand Yachting Provides Peace of Mind
Our On Demand yachting solution includes providing for all of your yacht’s safety and maintenance needs. When it comes to making sure you and all of your guests are as safe as possible, having the right crew is only part of the equation. You must make sure you have all of the right safety gear on board, and that it is all where it should be and functioning properly. That means, in the unlikely event that they are ever needed, your life raft, along with all PFDs, fire extinguishers, smoke and CO detectors, etc., are all serviced and maintained as necessary. You never want a piece of safety gear to fail, when you need it most!
Maintaining your yacht’s safety gear at operational readiness is just one of the services you can count on from our On Demand Yachting Solution.
Operating a motor yacht can be costly. You can reduce your expenses, and avoid costly repairs by keeping her well maintained. On Demand yachting from FYM can help. If you would like to learn more, or if you have any questions or comments about this blog post, do not hesitate to contact our Yacht Management specialists, or call us at (954) 900-9968.