Are You Missing Something?

By |July 5th, 2014|

You've been sailing for years and planning this next trip for months. You've created the perfect sail plan, stocked the galley, the weather is shaping up perfectly and the boat has been checked and rechecked. [...]

Diminishing Returns – Why Smaller Isn’t Always Better

By |November 21st, 2012|

UPDATE: The fine people at Datrex sent me a Rescue PLB1 to try for myself.   I loved it.  It handled well – even in some pretty chilly water.  Full report up soon; but in this case, I consider smaller – very, very good. Ocean Signal and Datrex recently introduced the world’s smallest Personal Locator Beacon, the rescueME PLB1.  Almost immediately, reviews of the product have been positive.  How could smaller not be better? The miniaturization of electronics has made lots of safety equipment easier to carry and use.  However, this particular product is making me think about the diminishing returns of “small.” […]

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Deadliest Catch?

By |August 23rd, 2012|

This is a post where I feel compelled to put the disclaimer right up front:  The views and opinions expressed by the author are not necessarily those of the Department of Homeland Security or the [...]

Top Ten Coast Guard Rescue Videos

By |January 28th, 2012|

Thinking About It All Wrong

By |December 11th, 2011|

The image above is from a YouTube video posted in 2009 - a sort of warning to boaters about the benefits of safety gear like life jackets and kill switches. I'm posting it here as [...]

Self Rescue – Falling Through Ice

By |December 10th, 2011|

In 2002, my friend and mentor (and maniac) Dr. Gordon Geisbrecht fell - on purpose - through the ice on a frozen lake. He wanted to demonstrate just how those who fall through the ice [...]

Two is One – One is None

By |December 13th, 2010|

My older brother and I have this thing about phone tag.  It takes four calls and three messages (typically laugh-out-loud funny messages) before one of us is not too busy to answer.  So I was really [...]

Staying Alive in Cold Water (1-10-1)

By |October 24th, 2010|

I couldn’t feel my hands anymore and using them was impossible. The shivering was uncontrollable and violent. “That’s a good sign,” I thought to myself. I remembered from my studies of hypothermia that shivering stops before you lose consciousness. “If I’m still shivering than I’ll live for a while longer”, I reasoned. But mostly I was wondering about how I got myself into that mess.

The Truth About Cold Water

By |October 21st, 2010|

I’m going to come right out and tell you something that almost no one in the maritime industry understands. That includes mariners, executives, managers, insurers, dock workers, for certain – fisherman, and even many (most) [...]

Avoiding and Escaping Rip Currents

By |July 11th, 2010|

At the beach at Cape Canaveral, nineteen-year-old Josh Scurlock looks out at the water.  The larger than normal waves look rough but not too rough so he and a friend go out in them to play.  A strong swimmer – Josh loves the ocean and his new Florida home just five blocks from the beach. It’s Saturday and the sun is out and there is no school and nothing at all is wrong in the world.

Joshua Scurlock in 2003

Having recently moved to Florida from Indiana, he doesn’t notice – or even know how to notice – the rip current that will sweep him out to sea and away from his friend.  Once caught in its pull, his instincts are to head back in.  The land is where safe is and something is pulling him away from it so he fights. Swimming as hard as he can for as long as he can – with his friend on the beach now yelling for help – Josh Scurlock tires and drowns. And though a heroic surfer eventually makes it to him and brings him to shore – he cannot be revived.  Josh never sees twenty. The U.S. Lifesaving Association says a story like that will happen over a hundred times this year on U.S. beaches.  My hope – and of that Josh’s mother, Dawn – is that they will be wrong.  By knowing what to look for, where to swim, and how to escape one should you get caught in a rip current, your summer will be a safer one. […]

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