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Old 04 August 2012, 15:28   #1
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Another interesting day!

Bodies in the water!!! Whilst out on our 4th trip of the day and travelling through Studland Bay, we hear on the radio, a broken call saying “we have bodies in the water”. Portland Coastguard reply and try to get more information and a position. The reporting vessel was a French yacht who at first gave its position as South of St. Albans Head. I knew that this was wrong as we could hear it clea
rly and therefore must be closer. Eventually the Lat & Long given put it one mile South of Old Harry Rocks. I told our passengers that we would go to assist.
The Condor Express also just leaving Poole, made her way to casualty and we arrived together. It was quickly apparent that the “bodies” were in fact 3 divers who had been separated from their own boat and were now holding on to a rope thrown from the yacht. We came alongside the divers and they transferred to holding on to our lifelines. We offered to recover them into our RIB, but they seemed happy to wait for their own RIB to “find” them. Portland Coastguard had now launched both the Inshore & Offshore Lifeboats as it was still unclear if persons from the yacht had been lost overboard.
When the Lifeboat arrived we explained the situation and requested to leave the scene. Unfortunately, shortly after, one of our passengers suffered a panic attack and we had to return to Poole.
Another eventful day ...

Two days earlier we came across these 3 lads at the foot of cliffs on the Swanage side of Ballard Down. As we could not see any adults, we came in as close as safe and shouted to see if they were OK. Thet said they were, but could see in their faces that they were not and one had lost his footwear into the water. I told them to stay still and called Portland Coastguard, requesting the launch of the Swanage ILB. It later transpired that their parents had approved "but dont go round the corner"!!! I think the guys at the RNLI had some choice words
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Old 04 August 2012, 15:52   #2
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Unfortunately, shortly after, one of our passengers suffered a panic attack and we had to return to Poole
Yeah, my own experience is that it's best not to mention Dead Bodies to clients. My most recent T4 remained on site for a few hours until removal*. Another client got wind of that particular presence and refused to continue with her programme for the day. Panic attacks etc.

Tell me, how do you handle emergency responses in respect of what you tell clients? I'm interested as I know that you have a duty to respond, but where do you draw the line? I mean, if you had kids on board and there WAS a body? If a rescue was a bit risky but the Cas was in danger?

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* There is a grey area here. If a person dies on your premises of natural causes and are "called" by a doctor, then the ambulance services will not remove the body. It becomes a job for a Funeral Director (Undertaker) and they don't run blues and twos
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Old 04 August 2012, 16:03   #3
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wassa t4
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Old 04 August 2012, 16:12   #4
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wassa t4
Sorry - corpse.
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Old 04 August 2012, 16:36   #5
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did you make it?
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Old 04 August 2012, 16:41   #6
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did you make it?
C'mon, this is Steve's thread
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Old 04 August 2012, 17:04   #7
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Think a lot depends on how dead the body is and the circumstances
what part of the world your operating in on how remote the location of authority's ,coast guard , lifeboat, police to actually recover it ,, don't think you would have to wait long in the uk .

Let's say your well out to sea and one comes floating past hanging from a lifejacket and it's obvious that the persons life has expired a few days previous , I would note the position ,call the coastguard and if possible get a line around it and bouy it off depending on any body contaminants that may be present and stand by if possible until the lifeboat ,police or coroners agent recovers it .bit difficult though if you have a party of school kids or the like onboard .though think authority's in the uk would be sympathetic to that scenario.

What if it's a recent body well suppose you have to work out if it's dead in the first place and are you putting your own crew in danger from any contaminetd ,if you have the capabilities or room to actually recover it onto your boat to see if it is dead or attempt CPR first aid or to place it on the deck and cover with a survival bag/ sheet but then who is qualified onboard to who is to say it is dead .

For the remote mid ocean mariners there used to be a chapter in the Ship captains medial guide that touched on the subject of caring for the dying and dead .

Always remember a mystery woman's body turning up near the beach at Redcar many years ago mystery was that it had had a professional autopsy done with no obvious signs of death , possibility was a female crew member on a east European ship who had died naturally and had been buried at sea only to break loose in bad weather , even after extensive police Interpol inquiry's nothing was known she had to be buried locally .
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Old 04 August 2012, 18:04   #8
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Tell me, how do you handle emergency responses in respect of what you tell clients? I'm interested as I know that you have a duty to respond, but where do you draw the line? I mean, if you had kids on board and there WAS a body? If a rescue was a bit risky but the Cas was in danger?
Another event from a few yearsa go when I was crew on Steves boat ....

A mayday comes in for a body on the water with lat /long froma single handed yacht under sail . I do a quick check a realise its about 2 miles away from the boat.....

Skipper and I listen intently as yacht refuses to pull body aboard ( you can tell he is very shaken by his voice on the radio so fair enough ...) Skipper and I both start to think we may have to get involved .... but considering there were kids on the boat what do we do?

Luckily the RNLI have a training AWB out and about who responds and is with 'casualty' very quickly and they then recover them.

Turns out the body was an RNLI training dummy that had been 'lost' by the RNLI .....anyhow ...

Skipper and I spoke about what would we have done and agreed we would have had to respond if no one more capable was about...we would explain the situation to passengers advising that all the kids/ juniors sit at the front of the boat and are kept focussed elsewhere by parents etc ....

No idea what the responsibility would have been for ' emotional trauma' but much as Steves situation - if it were a real situation it needs sorting .. it could always be a passengers family member in real peril and in my head the saving/ preservation of life comes over and above everything else at sea.

But a good outcome Steve - glad you can get all this drama out of the way before next week.
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Old 05 August 2012, 01:20   #9
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Think a lot depends on how dead the body is and the circumstances
what part of the world your operating in on how remote the location of authority's ,coast guard , lifeboat, police to actually recover it ,, don't think you would have to wait long in the uk .

Let's say your well out to sea and one comes floating past hanging from a lifejacket and it's obvious that the persons life has expired a few days previous , I would note the position ,call the coastguard and if possible get a line around it and bouy it off depending on any body contaminants that may be present and stand by if possible until the lifeboat ,police or coroners agent recovers it .bit difficult though if you have a party of school kids or the like onboard .though think authority's in the uk would be sympathetic to that scenario.

What if it's a recent body well suppose you have to work out if it's dead in the first place and are you putting your own crew in danger from any contaminetd ,if you have the capabilities or room to actually recover it onto your boat to see if it is dead or attempt CPR first aid or to place it on the deck and cover with a survival bag/ sheet but then who is qualified onboard to who is to say it is dead .

For the remote mid ocean mariners there used to be a chapter in the Ship captains medial guide that touched on the subject of caring for the dying and dead .

Always remember a mystery woman's body turning up near the beach at Redcar many years ago mystery was that it had had a professional autopsy done with no obvious signs of death , possibility was a female crew member on a east European ship who had died naturally and had been buried at sea only to break loose in bad weather , even after extensive police Interpol inquiry's nothing was known she had to be buried locally .
I think you hit the nail on the head. we have a duty to render assistance, but we also have a duty to keep other sea farers safe. We need to remember a body if it has been in the water for a while it will requires a scoop cradle to aid recovery. If you just pull at the body then the outcome will be horrific, body part will detach! Also deteriation is not a pretty sight and with paying passengers aboard we need to also protect them from this, emergency services and military still suffer PTSS years later from events like this.

Yes respond, help if possible/able. If obviously a body I would mark position and try to leave float attached etc and stand off to await services if in the type of areas we work with resources close at hand.( preservation of life at first but that also must include your passengers)

Portsmouth harbour lost a man to the sea last week, still not found so one might assume someone will find him in the area soon, but again assessment is needed as how do we know at first call this is the same person and not a recent emergency?
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Old 05 August 2012, 03:05   #10
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My son found a body when he was out canoeing as a Scout.

He was about 13 at the time (20+ years ago). He was very traumatised. We paid for him to see a counsellor until he stopped being so upset. Happily he did his GCSEs and degree and is now a very successful Financial Controller (some type of bean counter I think as he started off doing accountancy exams).

The police called back to say that the guy (in his 70's) had been widowed a year before and couldn't cope without his wife.
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Old 05 August 2012, 04:24   #11
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C2 Ribs is addressing the sort of concerns I would have if skippering a commercial boat with the general public aboard. If you are out there a lot, you are bound to be a likely first responder or simply stumble upon a situation fairly often. Patently, where life is at risk and you are a witness, you have no decision to take - you assist. However, if a call is heard on the VHF referring to a situation some way off, I would be more inclined to inform the CG of my location AND passengers before charging off to assist (I would prepare to do so immediately though). That way, the CG would have "tasked" me, clearly defining my role and involvement, strengthening my position should there be any repercussions from passengers at a later date. After that, one has to consider involvement with dead bodies very carefully - lots of passengers, some young and a boat full of cameras could make for a very potent mix...

My local CG have begun bringing bodies ashore at locations removed from the main search center, mainly to avoid the public eye and the attendant problems.
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Old 05 August 2012, 05:03   #12
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My local CG have begun bringing bodies ashore at locations removed from the main search center, mainly to avoid the public eye and the attendant problems.
If at all possible think that seems to be the norm nowadays , if its a busy town and news has got around lifeboats will often land the deceased at another flanking station preplanned site or use a private/ secure quayside away from the public glare and to also give a bit of dignity to the relatives and friends and the deceased themselves as well as the decontamination of clothing and equipment .

It's not all doom and gloom though on a lighter note there was a photo recently of training dummy that had been lost and turned up about 200 miles away a few weeks later
Having been recovered by another lifeboat station the crew members when back on dry land sat the bright yellow waveweary manakin at a table with hands in his face and a well earned cup of tea in front of him the caption ! Phew that was a long swim !

And before someone says how come they lost him ( good job he wasn't real)
in most cases not the fault of the lifeboat crew but perhaps the fault of other outside agency's that are perhaps testing out new computer software or theories on current/wave drift or the lifeboat gets tasked to a real rescue .
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Old 05 August 2012, 11:10   #13
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Shit happens

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And before someone says how come they lost him ( good job he wasn't real)
in most cases not the fault of the lifeboat crew but perhaps the fault of other outside agency's that are perhaps testing out new computer software or theories on current/wave drift or the lifeboat gets tasked to a real rescue .

So essentially a big boy dun it then ran away

Pleased to hear that in this instance no soul perished
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Old 05 August 2012, 11:28   #14
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Pleased to hear that in this instance no soul perished
I don't suppose that the RNLI often throw casualties out and then head off to other incidents, hmmm?

Although I can think of circumstances where they might feel tempted
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Old 05 August 2012, 13:08   #15
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I don't suppose that the RNLI often throw casualties out and then head off to other incidents, hmmm?
I was talking about the dummy, and the explanation as to why it might not be the RNLI mistake (much nicer word than fault don't you think) I certainly wouldn't expect them to do that to a real casualty.


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Although I can think of circumstances where they might feel tempted
I think it's fair to say I'm nowhere near as bright or learned as yourself, would you be kind enough to explain what these circumstances might be.
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Old 05 August 2012, 13:51   #16
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Would you be kind enough to explain what these circumstances might be.
Well, like these I suppose.

My apologies, I appear to have misunderstood the main thrust of your initial post. When I'm messing about, I put use a winking smiley so others know that I'm not serious.

Sometimes it helps, sometimes it doesn't.
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Old 05 August 2012, 15:19   #17
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Just got back in from another busy day and caught up.

When the initial call came in, I first ensured that I slowed the boat to enable the crew and I to clearly hear all the radio transmissions and to assess the situation. When the position became clear, we both felt that what the Dutch (not French) skipper was trying to describe was persons in the water. Knowing how big the tides were combined with very strong winds, we felt that we were in a position to help quickly.
There were 12 adults on our vessel and I told them briefly of the situation and got their approval to assist. The Condow Express had told the Coastguard she was proceeding to the position, but I felt that we could be there just as quickly and our type of vessel (RIB) is likely to be much more likely to be able to render assistance than a 5500 tonne fast cat (even if they could launch life rafts).
When we returned to the Quay, we gave refunds to all the passengers and appologised, ALL of them said we did the right thing and said we acted in a professional way and correctly. Some of them refused to accept refunds, which was very kind and some came out on the next trip. The lady with the panic attack, also said that we acted correctly. She was very nervous before the trip and later said she hates boats and only did because her boyfriend wanted too. I therefore thing this might have happened later in the trip, which might have been interesting around at Dancing Ledges .....
If I truely thought it was just bodies, I might have assessed the situation differently and let the Condor Express do its own thing, however if there is the slightest chance of saving a life without threat to our own, I would do the same every time.

Steve
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Old 05 August 2012, 15:28   #18
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Steve I don't believe anyone was challenging your decision on the day, it was a discussion of views and what we all think about on charters . You were the person present and made a good call well done
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Old 05 August 2012, 15:32   #19
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Steve I don't believe anyone was challenging your decision on the day, it was a discussion of views and what we all think about on charters . You were the person present and made a good call well done
What that man said too. Rereading one of my previous posts prompts me to say that I was asking about a theoretical situation, but I see how it might be read as criticism of your response. It wasn't
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Old 05 August 2012, 15:47   #20
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Understood both, and I did not read it that way either.
Was just following up with some back ground info.
We even got a very nice email from the guys at Swanage RNLI
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