Condolences to the family involved in what must have been a terrifying ordeal.
Poly raises some interesting points.
Maybe he is making a comment on the standard of seamanship he has observed recently?
When I spoke with ACR last year, they had expressed a concern about a perception that the PLB
was a hot line to Rescue and users were being careless with their own preparations
...marginal water for the hike, marginal fuel for the return trip of the voyage etc.
However I would disagree with his conjecture about "reliance on electronic tools".
I think he is right - ribbing hasnt become anymore dangerous in the last 10 years,
but in the last 10 years the price of beacons has fallen,
and the more informed and regular boaters are taking the opportunity to acquire one.
Why wouldn't you ?
If your next car came in two models, one with an airbag and one without, and only £200 difference,
would you pick the one without because it would be missing the opportunity to improve your driving?
Equally would you pick the one with the airbag so you could drive irresponsibly?
All the safety kit is there because if we need it we would use it, personally speaking,
I dont alter my boat driving style or take questionable decisions,
because I have a PLB attached to me. If they can afford to buy one,
I would never dissuade anyone from taking a PLB on the water with them,
whatever level of training or capability they had.
Certainly Poly is correct in his assertion that there are scenarios where a PLB would not help,
but it should never be the sole constituent of your emergency kit
and your plan should not revolve around only one communication device.
Maybe the route of the problem lies in training, and new boaters being prepared to get some,
and experienced boaters being willing to get more.
Understandng risk, understanding what happens when it goes wrong and how you can help yourself
and shedding the mentality that nothing will happen to me, and overestimating your own capabilities to rescue yourself.
Your in the boat, or out of the boat. Its upside down, or its not. Its on fire or its not. Your engine works, it doesn't.
Maybe I missed some other scenarios, but preparing for the above while on land is
Originally Posted by Poly
Has Ribbing become more dangerous than ten yrs ago (when only the most serious cruises/adventures would consider a PLB)? I've not dug into any detail but it's quite likely the outcome would have been similar with a PLB, albeit resolved quicker; but more traditional tools like a light, a handheld vhf, or a more proactive shore contact might all have achieved the same.
I wonder whether our obsession with electronic tools to get us out of bother makes us complacent about the basic seamanship in the first place.
I can see scenarios where a PLB won't help, (e.g. wearer incapacitated, broken/lost on Impact, simply forgotten or left on wrong jacket inside the boat). Does the shore contact assume for longer that all must be OK if you haven't called the cavalry yourself?
I think PLBs are incredibly useful tools and when it next comes to splashing out on more pyros it might be a serious consideration BUT I don't think I would consider it a *must* have for most leisure boating, the way most of us would with life jackets or kill cords.
If we tell ourselves that the outcome would have been better for ourselves because of our extra gadgets we are probably missing the opportunity to learn from not ending up with ten unexpected swimmers in the first place.
All IMHO of course.