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Old 03 July 2007, 09:35   #1
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Safety, Now the Summer is here ...

Hi all,
Just to recount a slight incident that happened at the beginning of June that I've been to embarassed by to fess up to but is an important lession for all of us, that are prepared to admit to cock ups.

Situation :
Rib with two 1 man jockeys, aft bench, forward sun deck and suicide seat on the front of console. Beautiful calm day.

Crew :
me - mainly a sailor but many years with various boats, over 50,000 sea miles, yachtmaster etc etc
the boss - several years in and around sailing boats
the guests - 2 friends no real boat experience
the problems - 4 kids 10,11,13,14 (all 'regular riders')

THe trip :
Yarmouth - Cowes

So here goes - all get in boat put on life jackets, check they properly attached. Explain what we are going to do, the workings of the kill cord anyone can say they've had enough, not comfortable etc etc.

I take wheel and off we go. 3 on bench seat, 3 kids in the front, 1 guest on the other jockey. Leave harbour and have 5 mins on the way to Newtown showing guest how the boat turns and the use of the throttle.

We change places - he attaches kill cord to wrist, engages gear and throttles up to about 25 knots - beautiful smooth water, warm weather, blue skies etc.

THen a big gin palace comes roaring down the solent.
So I
1. Tell everyone to hold on to something secure
2. Tell novice driver to turn into wake
3. Tell him to throttle back, 12 knots or so should be ok.

We hit the wake, steeper than I expected, but the boat rose over no problem, then slammed into the next 'wave' of the wake and when the tubes made contact with the near vertical water the boat lurched, and bounced back. 1 x child airborne!
She flew over my head, over the 'A' frame and landed about 10 ft behind us in the water.
I moved the guest out of the way, narrowly missing knocking the kill cord off and cutting the engine.
I took the boat back to the casualty, when we had her held forward, I cut the engine and we recovered her, now laughing, into the boat.
We got into Cowes in 10 minutes, she got a shower and £60 of Joules clothing (we had no spares, and Cowes is not the place to get 'cheap' girls clothes!!!!)

Lessons I learnt :
1. Was I glad we ALL had lifejackets on on that calm, beautiful day
2. Show people what to hold onto. The sundeck cushion up front is lovely for sunbathing but the anchor warp is not a good anchor point for a child
3. If a novice is driving go away from a problem rather than tackle it. - Turning away from the wake in amble time would have meant we'd have continued flat(ish) and peaceful - because I am a sailor I forget that in the rib one of the best safety features when used right is the speed of the thing.
4. If you do get into rough stuff, remember that tubes ALWAYS go over they CAN'T go through. I was surprised at the impact the tubes hitting the wake had. Again, at mid speed, in a conventional speed boat we would have punched through the wake, and all got wet! - BOATS RESPOND differently, and whilst it is good to have a depth of experience, not all of it translates from on to another.
5. The guest was slow in reacting when I asked him to throttle back a bit. I am not blaming him, but my lesson is that to teach, having a throttle between the front seats would be a huge asset.
6. Kill cord are lifesavers, but the last thing I wanted when I took the helm to go back was the engine being cut, and me having to reset the kill cord and restart the engine. If it had been rougher it is very easy to loose sight of a casualty. - I was amased how far behind us she was when I turned to get her back
7. Clothes are VERY expensive in Cowes.

Please take what you can from this experience, and I'd be interested in any other lessons we can all learn....

Thanks for being my confessional!

Genoa & 7up
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Old 03 July 2007, 10:09   #2
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An interesting post. Glad it turned out okay.

Unless one is going dead slow, I reckon *everyone* should be seated behind the console.
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Old 03 July 2007, 10:35   #3
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Good of you to own up

We all make mistakes and I think we all learn from them. I like the point of steering away from the wake. In your case on that day sounds like you were mentally overloaded. You'd got your brain around what to do with your novice driver and the boat with regards the wake. Unfortunately you overlooked the other passengers. I too have been caught out by the second wave of a boats wake. I didn't lose any passengers but gave my boat more of a hammering than I expected. Its certainly something to be very wary of. Now I slow to a dead stop when I'm working my way over those sort of waves.

Maybe if I had a works boat I would see how going full speed over them would be different.

NR.
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Old 03 July 2007, 10:39   #4
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Good of you to own up

Now I slow to a dead stop

NR.
But don't you loose all steerage?
I thought to go through at 10-15 knots would be ok. Keep the boat moving and positive. Sometimes going to slow can be worse, drifting broadside etc?

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Old 03 July 2007, 10:45   #5
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But don't you loose all steerage?
I thought to go through at 10-15 knots would be ok. Keep the boat moving and positive. Sometimes going to slow can be worse, drifting broadside etc?

I only stop for a split second. In fact its probably not a stop. In a controlled manner I totally power off and just ride the waves, then its back on with the power.

As good as RIBs are hitting that second wave wrong, IE hard, is a right knee jerker. I guess there are some serious G Forces at play when the boat bellies out like that. Certainly enough to smash teeth if you hit a console or something.
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Old 03 July 2007, 11:50   #6
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Genoa - you raise an interesting issue. You chose to put the kill cord on an inexperienced driver. I don't put the kill cord on novice drivers (I keep it on me) unless I have gone through and seen them perform man over board procedures.

Had it been you that got ejected rather than one of the other pax then could you have expected a sensible response? Had you been wearing the kill cord - it would have forced them to take time to collect their thoughts - you would probably have been reasonably close (perhaps rope throwing or swimming distance in good weather) and would have enabled one of your more experienced crew to take over. It would have garunteed the novice didn't immediately turn round and run you down.

Had you been wearing the killcord and the novice driver been ejected you would be the one making the recovery anyway. If you are both/all ejected it makes no difference. The only marginally increased risk I can see is the driver being thrown in the water you being thrown to the floor and the boat circling the driver until you recover your composure. Unless you were really unfortunate and get seriously hurt then I expect you would at least be able to kill the engines in that time frame.

So what do others do with the kill cord when total beginners are driving the boat ?
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Old 03 July 2007, 12:14   #7
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Good one Polwart!
I completely agree and am going to get a longer one to reach across to the 'passenger' jockey.

In this instance (I hope) my 14 year old would have taken over. He has done MoB drill ad infinitum in a sail boat (knows about angle of approach vis tide and wide, speed, pick up forward etc,) and can drive the rib well, for exactly this reason - always have someone else who you can trust if the worst happens to you, if you can. - BUT the kill cord question is a good one. What do all the instructors think about throttle position as well especially on school boats??
Jason at Ballistic did tell me they were a good idea - but g/f overruled him in favour of having 2 sunning positions (bench and forward)! It seems sex and sizzle always wins (just look at the 70 people who have read a post titled Safety compared to 700 who read one about a Virgin!!!!) - Sorry Sarah, but .....
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Old 03 July 2007, 12:16   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Polwart View Post
You chose to put the kill cord on an inexperienced driver. I don't put the kill cord on novice drivers (I keep it on me) unless I have gone through and seen them perform man over board procedures.

So what do others do with the kill cord when total beginners are driving the boat ?

Excellent point and one I shall consider in the future. Maybe need to put two kill cords together to enable it.
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Old 03 July 2007, 13:06   #9
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Quote:
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o what do others do with the kill cord when total beginners are driving the boat ?
Same as you. If I go overboard I want the boat to stop.

With a complete novice at the helm I also tend to stay within reach of the throttle, even if that means me sitting on the tubes.

John
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Old 03 July 2007, 13:11   #10
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not really considered it before, have always thought the hellm should wear the killcord. But...can see the logic of me wearing it with a novice helm. Certainly worth thinking about for the future.
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Old 03 July 2007, 13:31   #11
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We use two kill cords one for the Novice Helm and one for the experienced helmsman, especially important with yougsters are helming. But never around the wrist!! to easy to foul around the steering wheel and prove ineffective or inadvertatly pull out
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Old 03 July 2007, 13:34   #12
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We use two kill cords one for the Novice Helm and one for the experienced helmsman, especially important with yougsters are helming. But never around the wrist!! to easy to foul around the steering wheel and prove ineffective or inadvertatly pull out
I think this is common practice. On my PB 1/2 course the helmsman had one fitted and a spare was tied to the dash in an easy accesible place for anyone else to use.

What Polwart suggests is that the experienced person should have the killcord so if he goes overboard the boat stops before the novice goes to far.

Unless that is you mean you have an engine that has two kilcord switches which can be activated by either one being removed.

NR.
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Old 03 July 2007, 13:37   #13
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With a complete novice at the helm I also tend to stay within reach of the throttle, even if that means me sitting on the tubes.

John
Interesting - that is what I had done with the younger ones who I have taught to drive the boat, and as an occassional solution I think this is fine, but thinking back to when I learnt to drive a car, the instructor had dual controls, I think something as simple as putting the throttle for school boats in the middle should be a sensible move. It stikes me, that it should actually become the norm rather than the exception anyway, especially on the larger boats with side by side seating for helm and nav .....

I am interested if anyone has got anything else to add, especially regarding usable hand grips in the front half of the boat (accepting that people do ride there and 99/100 its not a problem?/or is it? what conditions are acceptable risk if there is one?) and / or what is reasonable preparation for a novice to drive without insisting everyone is trained beforehand.
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Old 03 July 2007, 13:42   #14
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But never around the wrist!!
I've been waiting for that one!! - It was fine with tiller steering on the little ones, your hand always stayed stationery to the tiller and the cut out. With the wheel I can see your logic. Thigh from now on, I presume?
Thanks!
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Old 03 July 2007, 13:50   #15
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I've been waiting for that one!! - It was fine with tiller steering on the little ones, your hand always stayed stationery to the tiller and the cut out. With the wheel I can see your logic. Thigh from now on, I presume?
Thanks!
Yep around the Thigh, or if it dosn't foul anything then clipped to the Harness ring on the Lifejacket.
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Old 03 July 2007, 14:02   #16
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OK we managed to do a vertical takeoff on the second wave of a wake - very nasty - police boat saw us and rushed across to help us in case we were hurt. This was with a very expereinced helm. It is easy to misjudge the wave from a very large vessel - can be very odd wave geometry.

But... I specified centre throttle for precisely this reason. And I have used it quite often as I have regulalrly total newbies at the throttle - often teenage boys, and I want to let them have a real blast in safety. Getting the central throttle and sorting it properly was a nightmare for Kev and Lee. Have never regretted it. If I have an inexpereinced helm I am always in the nav seat, holding on all the time to the grab bar in front of me with my left hand, my right ready to grab wheel (slow speed nav) or throttle if needed.
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Old 03 July 2007, 14:41   #17
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First, I'd like to say that I'm glad that everyone was OK. It's very BIG of you to admit a situation like this, no one will critisize you for doing so, we'll all learn from these things being posted.

The only point I'd like to add is one everybody has forgotton to mention is that it's very dangerous for anyone to be in the bows of a RIB at speed (unless its a large RIB). There are terriffic forces at work up the pointy end, in calm seas you have to be even more alert as the faster speeds and unexpected waves can be a nasty combination and easily catch you out.

Unless I'm at displacement speed, I won't let anyone up front. Children haven't the grip of us Adults and consideration has to be made for the young ones.

I agree with the kill cord suggestion made by others, however this wasn't possible on my last RIB because of seating layout.
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Old 03 July 2007, 14:46   #18
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Andy,

Good point about not sitting up the front. As Skippers we should be very aware of what could happen. And its possibly a case for manufacturers being enforced to fit stickers warning of this.

The first and only time it happened to me I felt a pain like a burst of high voltage electric in my back. Not very nice and at the time I thought I was lucky not to break it.

Nick.
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Old 03 July 2007, 17:48   #19
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I often have friends or the kids helming, and I find the most worrying aspect is not having control of the throttle (which is located on the outside of the consol and difficult to reach). On my next boat I'm planning to have dual pod seats and the throttle centre mounted so that it is easy to assist or takeover engine control if needed. Would also mean that the kill switch could be located centrally and I could remain attached to it!
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Old 04 July 2007, 03:52   #20
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Andy,

its possibly a case for manufacturers being enforced to fit stickers warning of this.

Nick.
UUmmm...
Never been a big fan of mandating anything. I would rather see us all share experiences on this site, lets talk about good ideas and bad and ensure when we see newbies around we get them into the forum and learning from some of you guys that have been around for a long time ....
Emphasis on courses as well is important, but a culture as the rya puts it of education not regulation is one where everyone accepts there are risks but take it upon themselves to understand them and find better practise. Thats why I put this up. What have others done that they learnt from? Or is everyone else mistake free?

My first rib was an Avon Searider 4m 25 years ago. The first time I launched it alone, I forgot to put the bung in!! Good job it was a rib!!
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