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Old 19 August 2004, 16:59   #1
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Helicopter Rescue

Whilst fishing up the coast of falmouth last week we were passed by a small racing cataram. Later we saw the rescue helicopter lowering someone into the water approximately 1/2 mile away. We assumed that this was a training exercise as, having the radio monitoring ch 16 no communications to suggest otherwise had taken place. We then saw a rescue rib attending to a cataram some distance away. The next day it turns out that the chap sailing the cataram had fallen overboard and his wife, not knowing how to sail, had continued into the distance. She luckily had a mobile and called the coastguard. As previously stated we were very close by but had not seen anything worrying. If there had been a "any vessels" call we could have been there within minutes, possibly saving a helicopter call out and the time delay of a helicopter arriving. We did have a fully qualified first aider on board and so could have of been of assistance. Should this of not been put across ch 16 for any vessels in the area?
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Old 20 August 2004, 03:51   #2
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I suspect it would have been promulgated by DSC......

Gingercoastie?
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Old 21 August 2004, 16:35   #3
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the cat' was a dart 18 (ie small spartan "dinghy" cat) so a VHF radio would not be the sort of things carried or installed on it. Whereas a mobile for your average sailor in small craft is a sensible alternative as basically 90% of people have one and you don't need a license to operate it.
I've just read the story on the falmouth lifeboat web page.
the wife tried to turn around and rescue the helm/hubby but couldn't handle the boat in those conditions.
Its the sort of thing i always taught my crew when i had a dart cause its easy to fall off.
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Old 22 August 2004, 12:39   #4
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Behavin,
Have you got a web site link?
Feel frustrated that so close yet didn't know! As it turned out both parties ok, but could have been very different.
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Old 22 August 2004, 12:41   #5
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Sorry, found it. Thanks
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Old 22 August 2004, 12:42   #6
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Old 22 August 2004, 14:22   #7
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I take your point about the lack of fixed VHF on a small dinghy but certainly a mobile in an aquapac might have been a good start for him, or a personal flare or even a portable VHF in an Aquapac. having said that when I was a dinghy sailor I was surprisingly badly equipped.

A tragedy occured during the 2003 cowes week inolving a skipper who was knocked overboard by his boom and his guests didn't know how to sail the boat or operate the VHF ( or ring 999) and the guy died.

The MCA coding requires that operating instructions for the VHF are visible on the console or in the cabin. it is also a requirement to have full operating instructions and a Solas B table (distress signals and procedures.

Now I am not suggesting that a 16 foot dart or a 5.5 metre RIB be brought up to coding spec but it would make some sense to me if everybody taught there crew what to do in an emergency. It strikes me that the dinghy missus could have easily attracted your attention with the distress wave dinghy mister could have let off his smoke flare
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Old 22 August 2004, 14:27   #8
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The dart roared past us after leaving Portscatho - we only noticed her again on the horizon when her sail was waving. We were trailing for bass along the coastline at the time. If there had been a ch16 anouncement to alert us we could have picked up the hubby in a matter of minutes. Am I being over sensitive to this?
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Old 22 August 2004, 14:35   #9
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No I don't think you are, if the crew member could have attracted your attention then it would have saved time, which is what a rescue is all about. likewise a channel 16 call would have done the trick.

to be honest the CG generally try that option first of all ......perhaps they didn't have a good position fix to ask for assistance
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Old 23 August 2004, 05:52   #10
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I meant that the Coastguard would have passed on the distress message by DSC, not the cat, when they received it. I beleive that their system automatically prompts them to do this.
I guess that the system probably does not prompt for a transmission on 16 and this would only be done if the watch officer had enough time.
It would be interesting if a CG officer in the know could let us know what did happen, it's good to know how their procedures work.
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