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Safety At Sea

Safety / Technique Videos




 Knowing beforehand the contents of the life raft is important when the raft has to be used in anger. Not only that but knowing how to use equipment can make the difference between surviving and perishing prematurely. The following advice is not exhaustive but it will be worth knowing if the time ever comes.
    Sea Anchors are used to reduce drift and keep the life raft as close as possible to the most likely reported position of the stricken parent vessel. This vastly improves the chances of rescue and thus the sea anchor(s) should be streamed continuously. Frequent inspections of the sea anchor, the line and the attachment point(s) are necessary.
     Buoyancy tubes of the liferaft will need to be adjusted to allow for the different temperatures between night and day. If the life raft is fitted with relief valves they will allow air to escape during the heat of the day. Consequently at night they need to be re-inflated.
     Marker Dye should be used according to instructions only when an aircraft is seen or the noise of an aircraft is heard.
     Grab Bags can be either individual or crew based. Their purpose is to supplement and / or personalise an emergency kit. The contents will probably vary depending on the likely conditions. Care must be taken in deciding the contents and consideration should be made of the bag's weight, size and accessibility in an emergency. Likely items for inclusion are Spectacles, Medication, Water and / or Solar Still, Waterproof Matches, Magnifying Glass, Space Blanket, Fishing Tackle, Plastic Bags and Rope.

      Heliograph or signalling mirror is simply a piece of mirrored glass or shiny metal - about 10cm square, preferably with a small 5mm hole etched or cut from the class and cut from the metal in the geometric centre. The only other requirement is a visible sun. To use it hold the heliograph just in front of an eye with the reflective surface available to the sun. With the other arm extended look through the aperture and aim the reflected sunlight at the tip of an extended finger. Keeping the reflected light on the finger tip move the extended hand so the finger tip is towards the aircraft or thing being signalled. Very small movement of the mirror will cause a flashing at the object being signalled. This signal can be seen up to about 30Km in good conditions.

Flares & Rockets need judgement in when to use them. Flares can be seen up to 8Km by day and 16Km by night. Rockets have even greater range much depending on whether the sighting vehicle is airborne or on the sea. Operating instructions should be carefully read and understood before the need to use them arises. Care must be taken to avoid damage to the raft when firing any pyrotechnic device. When flares or rockets are in short supply the decision to set a device off could depend on the aspect of the target. For example if it is a ship and has only the stern showing a flare is not likely to be seen. If ships or aircraft are seen to alter course towards the raft fire a further signal.

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