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Old 15 January 2002, 16:08   #1
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Emergency Stops

Has anyone got views on the removal of Emergency Stops from the RYA Powerboating Syllabus.
I have been given to understand that the removal was due to an accident which resulted in a fatality or even three and a subsequent conviction for manslaughter againt the instructor or driver.
The sport is inherantly dangerous, dangers which can be minimised by good training and practise.

What is the responsibility of the RYA and others to prepare boat users for the possibility of a sudden appearance of a log, fridge(yes really---and they float like icebergs only even deeper), divers and other dangers.

The view has also been expressed to me that no instructor would want to put a pupil in the water and that performing an energency stop is so dangerous that it should be excluded from the teaching, other thn to explain it. To do thus is to ignre the teaching principle of I hear I forget, I see I remember, I DO I understand.

I am torn between wanting it in the syllabus and not wanting to spend time in clink for a death........

Thoughts please:
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Old 15 January 2002, 17:26   #2
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David

I understand and to an extent share some of your concerns regarding the removal of the practice of the emergency stop from the level 2 syllabus, however on balance I can see why the RYA have made the decision they have (the decision was made some considerable time ago as i understand it).

I've not heard of deaths relating to the practice of the stop however I understand that numerous students were 'mislaid' overboard during courses. This is a predictable consequence in some instances for those sitting on the tubes on the outside of the turn when the considerable power of the centrigfugal force plays its part. The other reason could also have been regarding own boat tuition where boats with higher centres of gravity can cause a boat to roll almost onto its side if thrown into a tight stop.

You could - quite reasonably - argue that avoidance of this is down to the Instructor to minimise speed and thus danger. However I suspect the fact that our increasing litigous society made it difficult for the RYA to support a practice which had known dangers.

I don't fully agree though that you have to do the stop on the course to learn it. By explaining it slowly, me running it through at very slow speed and creating some anecdotes to create memory jog it simply becomes another task to practice post the course.

Views?

Paul

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Old 15 January 2002, 17:48   #3
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I was instructing when the emergency stop was part of the syllabus and the main problems reported were with equipment damage - usually due to the pupil being so wound up about this "crash stop" he had heard of that they missed neutral and went straight into reverse (ouch).
I still run through the way to stop a boat, ribs in particular, by turning off to one side as the boat comes to a standstill to avoid the sternwave slopping over the transom. We then practise this way of coming to a standstill throughout the course and go thru how this can be extended into an emergency stop.
When we were teaching emergency stops for real I always added the rider that not all boats are as forgiving as ribs and indeed if you treated the 5m fast fishing boat I use for winter cod fishing in the same way you would probably end up with the cabin where the keel should be! To be candid I have never had to use the manouevere for real in thirty plus years of using small boats at sea at all times of the year.
Whilst not absolutely true of crash stops a remark from a parachute instructor always stays with me - "I see no point in practising something you can only cock up once!"
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Old 15 January 2002, 18:56   #4
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It's a matter of balancing the probably results of not doing an emergency stop, versus getting it wrong.

For anyone who doesn't know the technique being discussed, it involves bringing the throttle to neutral and immediately applying full lock. This brings the boat to a stop very quickly, and also avoids being swamped by the stern wake. However in the heat of the moment it is easy to wind the lock on too soon, before the power comes off, which can lead to some interesting results (like separating boat from crew!)

In my opinion it's porbably as good in an emergency to do a crash stop in a straight line, or two swerve round an obstruction. Trying to do both at once in a stressful situation is almost certain to cause problems for an inexperienced helmsman.

As for the teaching syllabus, it's far better to teach your students to avoid getting into this sort of situation in the first place!

John
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Old 16 January 2002, 05:13   #5
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Here are my thoughts:
When being taught these stops, my instructor always insisted on being told which way I was going to throw the boat so he could brace himself properly. What chance of this in a real emergency?
I have never had to do an e-stop for real although I have had to swerve many times. This diference between violently altering course and altering course AND going from 30knots to zero in a couple of seconds is huge (and unnecessary ??).
Far better to talk through all the issues with a student (maybe with a demo) and teaching the importance of reading the sea ahead. This would seem to me preferable to trying to program a student to do something inherently dangerous.
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Old 16 January 2002, 12:31   #6
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Another way to stop the boat very quickly is to run it aground!
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Old 16 January 2002, 17:40   #7
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Full of useful advice as ever! When are you leaving again?

John
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Old 17 January 2002, 05:41   #8
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Useful Advice

You could always fit a ballistic propelled drogue chute on the A-Frame (much like fighter aircraft use when landing), hit the button and presto, the boat will have stopped, sans occupants mind you!
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Old 21 January 2002, 12:58   #9
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Sensible as ever to the end, well almost. Thank you for the replies to the thread, very thought provoking and all of value. As a compliant and sensible instructor I have to abide by the syllabus and will only explain the squence of events that leads to the e-stop!
I have, for the record, been dragged out of a RIB whilst doing STOP under instruction, my dear beloved was on the seat behind, hanging on like a pillion, I stopped, the boat bounced and she flew sideways taking me with her. So yes, it can happen, BUT I have aslo avoided major hull damage by stopping to avoid a Hotpoint Iceberg Fridge.
Anyway, back to sea as soon as these F8's subside.
Dave
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Old 21 January 2002, 19:22   #10
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Dave, I lost just such a fridge overboard in the Irish Sea about 18 months ago? Could you be more exact as to whereabouts? Was it white by any chance? Thanks in advance
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