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Tragedy East of Florida

nquigley

Sustaining Member
From the timeline document posted earlier:
"Richard sent 2 locations N29041.9641 W078058.0043 N2941.9991 W078057.9240"

Unless I am mis-interpreting the position data, and if that is the general area of the incident, the depth should have been much greater than 150 feet. In any case, the matter of depths reminded me of an incident I experienced just west of the Grenadines, when on a gentle, but very dark night, I saw off my port beam what proved to be white water ahead of a single wave which quickly washed over the 75' yacht I was sailing, flooding into the companionway. Later, I noticed that in that area, the depth changes from more than 2000 meters to less than 20 in a very short distance, which apparently caused the swell to pile up. I can imagine it could be seriously dangerous in any kind of weather, and could result in the sort of incident which Richard Bonilla experienced.
Was that over/near Kickin' Jenny?
 

Mblace

Member II
I’ve been following this thread with interest, since as a sailor and retired Coast Guard Captain I have seen this from both sides. My operational specialty was coastal SAR, on the Great Lakes and the Gulf, and over 3 tours in the field was Ops, Deputy and Group commander responsible for training both boat crews and command center watchstanders and overseeing SAR case execution. I always felt our success in rescuing Mariners in distress (based on being involved in literally thousands of cases) depended on 3 things - timely and concise communications, accurate position reporting, and a well-marked and highly visible target once units got on scene. Let me explain - timely and concise communications set the process in motion. Knowing what was happening, how many people were on board, the urgency of the situation, the conditons on scene, etc. as soon as possible helped us get the right units underway and headed in the right direction, typically in less than a half hour of being notified. Accurate position reporting was essential - we always wanted to “take the search” out of search and rescue because not knowing exactly where a victim was located was the biggest variable we faced. Being able to deploy rescue units directly to the current position of a victim meant we spent the least time getting there once those units launched. I recall countless, agonizing, multi-day searches for small boats or people - the less certain we were of the position, the lower the likelihood of finding folks alive, or at all. Finally, being well-marked when rescuers arrive means they get to you right now. That means bright colors, bright strobes, a signal mirror, ELT, etc. You can’t imagine how difficult it is to see a single person treading water as you fly overhead - it’s even harder from a boat or ship. Shoot a flare, illuminate a strobe, signal with a mirror - make yourself as “seeable” as possible. One other point - it’s nearly impossible to hoist from a sailboat or fishing vessel with masts or other gear swinging around above the deck. If it’s not sinking stay onboard until SRUs arrive, but expect to be asked to enter the water and swim upwind until clear to allow for hoisting. Helos typically have rescue swimmers onboard and they will deploy to assist you, small boats will likely come alongside if they can. I strongly encourage all of you to “overdo it” when it comes to obtaining the best safety gear you can afford. Obviously, skimping on safety equipment is a false (and foolish) economy. Anyway, I’m glad to hear of the successful outcome in this case - talking to a person we’d rescued was more gratifying (and motivating) to our crews than you can imagine.
 

Alan Gomes

Contributing Partner
I’ve been following this thread with interest, since as a sailor and retired Coast Guard Captain I have seen this from both sides. My operational specialty was coastal SAR, on the Great Lakes and the Gulf, and over 3 tours in the field was Ops, Deputy and Group commander responsible for training both boat crews and command center watchstanders and overseeing SAR case execution. I always felt our success in rescuing Mariners in distress (based on being involved in literally thousands of cases) depended on 3 things - timely and concise communications, accurate position reporting, and a well-marked and highly visible target once units got on scene. Let me explain - timely and concise communications set the process in motion. Knowing what was happening, how many people were on board, the urgency of the situation, the conditons on scene, etc. as soon as possible helped us get the right units underway and headed in the right direction, typically in less than a half hour of being notified. Accurate position reporting was essential - we always wanted to “take the search” out of search and rescue because not knowing exactly where a victim was located was the biggest variable we faced. Being able to deploy rescue units directly to the current position of a victim meant we spent the least time getting there once those units launched. I recall countless, agonizing, multi-day searches for small boats or people - the less certain we were of the position, the lower the likelihood of finding folks alive, or at all. Finally, being well-marked when rescuers arrive means they get to you right now. That means bright colors, bright strobes, a signal mirror, ELT, etc. You can’t imagine how difficult it is to see a single person treading water as you fly overhead - it’s even harder from a boat or ship. Shoot a flare, illuminate a strobe, signal with a mirror - make yourself as “seeable” as possible. One other point - it’s nearly impossible to hoist from a sailboat or fishing vessel with masts or other gear swinging around above the deck. If it’s not sinking stay onboard until SRUs arrive, but expect to be asked to enter the water and swim upwind until clear to allow for hoisting. Helos typically have rescue swimmers onboard and they will deploy to assist you, small boats will likely come alongside if they can. I strongly encourage all of you to “overdo it” when it comes to obtaining the best safety gear you can afford. Obviously, skimping on safety equipment is a false (and foolish) economy. Anyway, I’m glad to hear of the successful outcome in this case - talking to a person we’d rescued was more gratifying (and motivating) to our crews than you can imagine.
@mjsouleman Here's another potential guest speaker for your CBEC series....
 

peaman

Member III
Was that over/near Kickin' Jenny?
It's been more than 22 years, but I think it was about 20 miles north of Kick 'em Jenny, nearer to Union Island. As I recall, we needed to clear in at Union after departing Grenada, so our approach was with a roughly northeast heading, and the wave came from a northerly direction.
 

rbonilla

"don't tread on me" member XVXIIIII
Great to know the InReach worked for him and that he was okay.

Scary situation for sure.
yes - the Garmin In Reach system worked well for me - according to the USCG Helo Pilot - the small white light saved my life by attracting their attention - I am blessed, and have much to be thankful this Thanksgiving +++
 
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