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» Online Classroom   » Emergency Navigation   » Public Discussion of Emergency Navigation   » Real world "navigation emergencies"

Author Topic: Real world "navigation emergencies"
David Burch

 - posted June 06, 2007 11:22 AM      Profile for David Burch           Edit/Delete Post 
The book Emergency Navigation is not about lifeboat navigation. Needless to say, the things that can be done in a life raft are covered, but the more likely application is simply the loss of part or all of our routine nav equipment, but the vessel and crew are otherwise OK.

Over the years we have heard directly or indirectly of cases like that, but now with the discussion database it is time to start recording these for others to see.

Murphy's Law at work!

(1) an ocean going tug (large vessel) en route between HI and Pacific NW. A large wave came over the bow and brought with it a large log, in line with the centerline of the vessel. It came through the front windows of the boat, through the pilothouse and straight down the companionway. The process destroyed all electronic navigation and communications on the vessel and there were no hand held backups. this occurred in the 80's before the first edition was printed and before a lot of modern hand held backups. Remarkably, no one was hurt and the boat arrived safely at her destination by DR alone.

(2) a 35-foot sailboat on the way from Virgin Is to NE coast of US, took on a boat full of water that destroyed all electronics and the engine could not be started. It appeared for a while that they would be left otherwise OK in that condition, but the rudder post had torn a hole in the boat which eventually broke loose and the boat finally filled up with water again and then sunk. The crew had rescued a satellite phone and called for help from the life raft and were rescued. The satellite signal was triangulated for position. they had not saved any portable GPS. Had they not had the rudder issue and the satellite phone, they would have been left to do some emergency navigation as they sailed on. This occurred in early 2007.

(3) A new 70-foot sailing yacht had a huge air intake scoop clear across the top of the cabin designed to direct large amounts of air two places, into the engine compartment and onto the panel of nav instruments and radios. It included a set of baffles and drains designed to keep water out of the boat. But this design was massively flawed. When well heeled over, there was in fact a completely unobstructed path from the intake to the engine and instruments. On the maiden voyage of this boat it met an intense storm that kept the yacht heeled over with waves breaking over the entire boat frequently. Water poured into the boat, actually squirting out of the instrument panel on nearly every wave. All instruments and radios were lost, some part of the engine or alternator also caught on fire after some shorting and would not start. Crew members had portable VHF and GPS that were used to limb back 100 miles or so to shore. In mid ocean this boat would have been on its own once the AA batteries were consumed. This occurred in 1993.


If you know of cases where crucial parts of the navigation system were lost, please post the story as a reply here. thanks.

From: Starpath, Seattle, WA

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