Originally Posted by willk
Not necessarily. If we apply the odds of a safe water jet landing to this scenario, we might see the boat flip and the lifejacket box hit the still spinning prop which would disperse the contents in the air, the lifejacket parachuting down onto the upheld arms of the distressed boater, thus proving it a useful strategy.
The odds of a safe water jet landing are higher than those of what you propose above. I have done a lot
of flying in my (short
) life, and although I have never been involved in an accident, I have seen and read about the aftermath of many (MAIB equiv.) and a high percentage of the time the aircraft is ditched safely.
There are also aircraft nowadays which have their own massive parachute which will steady them and slow their descent in an emergency.
Another point is that planes can glide a surprising distance. The aircraft that I most frequently use can travel can glide 2NM / 1000ft potentially significantly more depending on conditions. This means that at 15000ft, the height that we usually are at mid channel, we can safely get to either side if the engine fails. With a jet liner going over the atlantic you could be at 35000ft+, and therefore the chances of reaching Greenland or wherever are not too slim. The boat on the other hand, the engine fails, you're floating around on the currents waiting to be dashed onto the rocks.
In the event that the undercarriage fails, (as happened to me a few weeks ago
) there is an emergency gravity-operated override switch meaning that you can always get it down. (There was significant trouble with this system on the A380 on the morning of the planned first test flight.)
the boat on the other hand, I think we can agree is going to fall apart if it hits a little ripple in the water, and you're going in the drink!
The lifejacket is not going to do anything sitting on the seat. I've never not worn an LJ on any boat (bar the ferry haha! but ofcourse youve got time if that were to sink!!)