Emergencies

Boat Engine Failure – what to check

By on Apr 18, 2015 in Emergencies, Practical, Preparation | 1 comment

Engine failure If your engine fails or is overheating there are a number of things to check immediately: • Air filter blocked – check, clean or replace • Cooling water low – fill when engine is cold. Check for leaking hoses • Exhaust pipe blocked • Fuel filter – a blockage reduces power and can stop the engine stop. Check, clean or change the filter • Lack of lubrication – check engine and gearbox oil levels • Oil filter blocked – replace • Raw water inlet filter – a blockage causes overheating and can lead to engine failure. Close seacock, check and clear filter. Re-open seacock. Check object (eg. plastic bag) is not obstructing seacock • Water pump impeller failure – cooling system fails and engine overheats. Check the rubber impeller is slightly flexible, not hard, and replace if necessary • Worn drive belts – replace if they are frayed or shiny Many engine failures at sea are caused by lack of maintenance, resulting in filter blockages, engine pump failures, overheating and then breakdown. It is worth remembering that one of the most common reasons for marine rescue service call outs is for boats running out of fuel. Tips to avoid engine failure: Keep the engine regularly maintained Always do engine checks before setting out Check fuel and oil levels regularly (don’t rely 100% on gauges!) Check drive belts for wear and tightness Look out for oil and coolant leaks Check fuel filter for water or dirt. Drain off any contaminants until the fuel in the clear glass bowl by the filter is clear Learn how to bleed the fuel system if air gets into it All of this advice and more is available in our easy-to-use, quick to access app for iPhone and Android. Go to SafeSkipper.com for...

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Man Overboard Drill

By on Apr 16, 2015 in Boat Handling, Emergencies, Preparation | 0 comments

How to respond to crew overboard under sail • Keep the MOB in sight • Tack into the heave-to position, do not adjust the headsail sheets • If under spinnaker, alter course to windward and haul sail down immediately • Throw buoyancy to the MOB • Mark MOB with dan buoy • If within earshot of MOB reassure them you are manoeuvring into recovery position• Steer onto a beam/broad reach and sail away• Sail for about 5 or 6 boat lengths• Tack, aiming the leeward side of the yacht at the MOB • Let out the headsail and mainsail sheets until the main flaps • Keep the angle of approach as a close reach, so the sails can be powered and de-powered under full control • Use one sail only in breezy conditions • Approach the MOB slowly. Don’t be tempted to approach too quickly • Pick up the MOB to leeward, aft of the mast • In light conditions, approach MOB to windward and drift down towards casualty so they can be recovered on leeward side (taken from the Safe Skipper app for iPhone, iPad &...

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Man Overboard Drill

By on Apr 3, 2015 in Boat Handling, Emergencies, Preparation | 0 comments

Man Overboard Drill – Getting the MOB aboard Getting an MOB aboard a boat can be very challenging. The MOB is likely to be exhausted, shocked, cold or injured and will have little strength to help themselves aboard. • Once alongside, tether MOB to the boat using a line looped around their arms with a bowline • Ensure boat is stopped and engine in neutral• An uninjured, conscious MOB may be able to be helped aboard by another crew member in calm conditions via a stern ladder or bathing platform • Consider launching the boat’s tender as a first step to full recovery • Deploy a sling and lifting tackle prepared for the purpose. Attach the tackle to the boom or main halyard and lift casualty aboard by pulling on the pulley or via a winch block hoisting the halyard • Prepare thermal protective aids and first aid Man Overboard Drill Tips  • It may help to remove the guardrail to bring the MOB aboard • There are many types of kit available designed for retrieval and recovery of an MOB including throwing strops, inflatable horseshoes, rescue slings and parbuckles • A 5:1 pulley and rope slung over the boom will improve the ability to recover a MOB if specialist kit is not aboard • Practise recovery and using the tackle before it is needed for real (Info taken from the Safe Skipper App for iPhone, iPad &...

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Boating emergency – how to broadcast a MAYDAY emergency call

By on Mar 10, 2015 in Communications, Emergencies | 0 comments

How to broadcast a MAYDAY emergency call   How to broadcast a MAYDAY emergency call if a vessel or person is in grave and imminent danger and immediate assistance is required: • Check that your VHF radio is on and high power setting is selected Select Channel 16 (or 2182kHz for MF) • Press the transmit button and say slowly and clearly: “MAYDAY, MAYDAY, MAYDAY”“THIS IS… ” (say the name of your vessel 3 times. Say your MMSI number and call sign) “MAYDAY, THIS IS…” (say name of vessel) “MY POSITION IS…” (latitude and longitude, true bearing and distance from a known point, or general direction) “I AM…” (say nature of distress eg SINKING, ON FIRE) “I REQUIRE IMMEDIATE ASSISTANCE”“I HAVE…” (say number of persons on board PLUS any other useful information – such as sinking, flares fired, abandoning to liferaft) “OVER”• Now release transmit button and listen for reply • Keep listening to Channel 16 for instructions • If you hear nothing then repeat the distress call Vessels with GMDSS equipment should make aMAYDAY call by voice on Ch 16 or MF 2182 kHz after sending a DSC Distress alert on VHF Ch 70 or MF 2187.5 kHz  DSC Radio Emergency Procedure • In an emergency, press the DSC radio’s red button for 15 seconds and then transmit a voice message on Channel 16. • Prepare for sending/receiving subsequent distress traffic on the distress traffic frequency (2182 kHz on MF, Ch16 on VHF) • NOTE: The nature of distress can be selected from the DSC radio receiver’s menu. Information from our Safe Skipper App “A well written and detailed app for yachts & inland craft also quite useful for ocean going vessels – well...

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First Aid Afloat – how to deal with a fracture at sea

By on Feb 5, 2015 in Emergencies, Preparation | 0 comments

First Aid Afloat A closed fracture does not break through the skin. An open fracture is when the bone punctures it. A fracture of a bone is certainly a possibility at sea, with boats heeling over and crew members moving around the boat. One way of reducing the risk of fractures is to ensure your crew move around the boat with bent knees, weight low and the golden rule of one hand for the job and one hand for the boat. There are two types of fractures that we may come across. Open and closed fracture: open fracture is where the broken bone has punctured through the skin, closed fracture is where the broken bone is still under the skin.   The signs and symptoms of fractures are: • Bruising • Pain • Swelling • Unnatural position • Open wound • Non weight bearing on the limb Be aware that these signs and symptoms are very similar to sprains and strains. If you are unsure treat as a fracture   How to deal with the fracture when at sea: • Check for dangers • Check for level of response and for normal breathing • Ask the crew member to support the injury with their other hand or other available item (cushion or sleeping bag) • Treat any severe bleeding • Possibly a Pan Pan or seek medical advice from the coast guard on VHF channel 16   If assistance will be some time you may need to consider splinting the limb, but only if you really need to. • Splint injury in the position you found the crew member. Do not try to straighten and minimize movement while splinting. • For closed fractures apply a cold compress to area to reduce swelling. • Use the secondary survey to check for other injuries, the pain of the fracture may mask other serious injuries. Fractures can be very painful particularly on a moving boat in a rolling sea. Make your crew member as comfortable as possible and make for your port of refuge. The Coastguard may well send a lifeboat with pain relief to assist you. (check out the new First Aid Afloat app by Paul...

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First Aid at Sea – strains and sprains

By on Feb 5, 2015 in Emergencies, Preparation | 1 comment

Strains and sprains respond well to rest and cooling. Wrap ice in a tea towel before applying. First Aid at Sea Strains and sprains are relatively common onboard boats. This may be due to the fact that the boat is pitching and rolling, also there are often trip hazards. Just to be clear a strain is muscle damage and sprain is damage to a joint such as the wrist or ankle. The signs and symptoms of a strain or sprain are: • A sudden movement to the part of the body • Pain • Swelling • Bruising around the joint or muscle • Difficulty moving the limb Beware that these signs and symptoms are very similar to a fracture. If you are unsure whether a crew member has a sprain, strain or fracture it may be better to treat the injury as a fracture. You can use the acronym of RICE to remember how to treat a sprain or strain. R Rest I Ice C Comfortable support such as an elasticized bandage E Elevate Elevate the injury and rest it.   Most sprains and strains will respond to rest and cooling the injury. So there will probably be no need for a Mayday or PanPan, although your crew member may appreciate making for the port of refuge so they can rest up on land. Don’t put ice directly on the injury, put the ice in a tea towel first. It is recommended that the ice stays on the injury for no longer than 20 minutes. If you don’t have access to ice on your boat a towel soaked in cold water and wrung out can work well also. (from the First Aid Afloat app by Paul...

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