Thursday, June 17, 2004
What Would You Do: Lost At Sea
Boating is one of South Florida's favorite pastimes. But it doesn't take much to suffer an accident at sea. So what do you do if your boat sinks and your lost miles from shore. Here is 7's Charles Perez with some pointers.
(WSVN) -- Some people try to swim to shore when there's no way they can make it, or rescue is in route and they know that.
If you can grab from your debris field, if you can secure a number things together… The bigger target you have for rescuers to see from the air, the better.
Your boat could sink in just a few minutes.
Noel Kartman knows firsthand how frightening it can be if your boat sinks.
Noel Kartman: "We ended up going in with the four of us and my cat."
He was on a lobster boat when it went down in a horrible storm.
Noel Kartman: "We were rationing our water. A couple of cups a day. Once a day we would open a can of soup and pass it around."
Tied to a tiny life raft… Noel and his three friends drifted for four days... One man died the second day ... Another on the fourth.
Noel Kartman: "We figure about the time he stopped making noises is when he died."
So what do you do if it happens to you…
Capt. Larry Acheson from Towboat U.S.: "We try to think about what we could do in the our boat goes down prior to it happening."
That means before you leave the dock ... Give someone a float plan including where you are going ... And when you'll be back.
Then, make sure you have basic safety gear.
Capt. Larry Acheson: "They should have Flares, life jackets, sound making device, visual signaling device"
Including a waterproof flash light… Or a mirror.
Also consider investing in a waterproof satellite phone and a GPS so you can call in your coordinates to rescuers.
Larry likes to have his loot in a floatable ditch bag.
Captain Larry Acheson: "This is what goes in the life raft, if we have a problem."
Then once you're in the water think about four things.
Capt. Larry Acheson: "One of them is floatation, another is being seen, the third is perhaps water or food and the fourth is hypothermia."
Immediately start gathering anything that floats and tie them together.
Capt. Barney Hauf from Towboat US: "If there's enough debris .. you can take ... and totally relax and the more relaxed you stay the more you'll preserve you energy."
Not to mention, it makes you more visible from the air.
To simulate a coast guard search we sent skyforce over the water.
Look at the difference.
Here we are in the water without debris.
Now look at us with just a few things tied together.
The important thing to know after you've got everything tied together is what to do if you're going to be in the water for a long time.
If your boat goes down ... But doesn't sink all the way… Stay in the area.
That's especially true if you got out a rescue call ...
Capt. Larry Acheson: "You've already given them the place to look. Don't move from that place."
Next think about drinking water. Gather any floating water bottles .. Or find something to catch rain.
Capt. Barney Hauf: "If you can find something like this floating out of the boat... So if it starts to rain out there you're basically going to have a giant cup or something. You could use a cooler for the same thing."
Then to conserve body heat, try to float in a fetal position... Keep your clothes on... And stay with your group.
Capt. Barney Hauf: "There's strength in numbers and we can conserve our energy if we all stay together."
Noel knows what can happen all too well ... He says the number one tool you have out here is the will to live.
Noel Kartman: "You can't quit. If you quit you are done. That's it."
Now that we know how to survive at sea, next week Charles is going to show us what to do if we're lost in the woods.
FOR MORE INFORMATION
Towboat U.S.: http://offshoremarinetowing.com/