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safety wishlist

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  • safety wishlist

    As winter quickly approaches I find myself settling in to an old habit.... RUN and GUN in the SUN and wait out winter with wish lists to prepare me for next year's FUN...

    I can't bring myself to splurge on the latest creature comforts until I know I've properly prepared for safety concerns. So that brings me to this post...

    I own a 20' Hewes Craft Sea Runner with a soft top. (115hp/8hp) I don't plan to "push" the safety envelope and I think I understand the limitations of my boat. With that said I'm searching for advice from those "weathered wisemen" that have been out there enough to point me in a respectable direction.

    Currently have:
    Navigation - I have a chartplotter/gps/sounder as well as maps/charts.
    Communication - VHF radio w/ DSC
    Safety - I have the basic Coast Guard requirements (PFDs, Extinguisher and signaling devices)

    What are your thoughts/recommendations in the following areas:
    In other words what should I be saving for next?

    Handheld GPS, Handheld VHF, EPIRB
    Parachute Sea Anchor / Boat Brake (drift sock)
    Self Inflating Life Raft / Inflatable Dinghy
    Survival Suits

    I understand the differences in the above mentioned items. I know it's not an apples to apples comparison. I guess what I'm looking for is some examples of who uses what...?

    Any Recommendation on items you feel would best suit my situation?

  • #2
    Lets step back and look at the survival mantra of the 3's, which is, you can survive 3 seconds w/o making a good decision, 3 minutes w/o air, 3 hours w/o heat, 3 days w/o water, 3 weeks w/o food.

    So looking at what you have, and what's on your wish list, I'd say survival suits should be your next priority. Also the 3 hours w/o heat is based on the land, in our cold salt water you won't make it nearly that long with a pfd. If you keep your eye on e-bay during the winter, you can find some decent deals on survival suits. I picked up a pair of gumby suits that came to just about $200 shipped. I still need to pick up a few children sized suites and some other adult suits. I'll also probably invest in a couple of float coats.

    After that I'd say a handheald vhf, handheald gps and a dinghy, as they are dual use items. If you anchor the boat, you can use the dinghy to get to shore, explore some of the lakes on the islands, and the handheald items can be easily taken with you.
    Those that are successful in Alaska are those who are flexible, and allow the reality of life in Alaska to shape their dreams, vs. trying to force their dreams on the reality of Alaska.

    If you have a tenuous grasp of reality, Alaska is not for you.


    • #3

      If you are out on PWS some food could come in handy as well as some bottled water. I have a stash of MRE's and water in a compartment.

      You never know when you might get wind bound for 1-2 days and need some. A spare acnhor and at least an exra 200' of line might help too. I have had mine hung up twice and have had two friends loose theirs. It is also handy for anchoring near shore. I anchor the bow and run the other line to shore and tie off. Peaceful sleeping knowing that your boat is going to be there in the morning.

      On long trips I take my handheld GPS for hunting along. If the chart plotter craps out you have at least something. Use it one and chart a trip using the main channel back home. Then at least you can follow that trip back to port.

      One of the most overlooked items on PWS is common sense.

      Patriot Life Member NRA
      Life Member Veterans of Foreign Wars
      Life Member Disabled American Veterans


      • #4
        Originally posted by Daveinthebush View Post

        One of the most overlooked items on PWS is common sense.
        That goes for any body of water. And speaking of PWS, if you don't have the cruising guide, you absolutely need to get a copy. Even if you aren't running PWS, the first half of the boat is excellent for anyone running Alaskan saltwater.
        Those that are successful in Alaska are those who are flexible, and allow the reality of life in Alaska to shape their dreams, vs. trying to force their dreams on the reality of Alaska.

        If you have a tenuous grasp of reality, Alaska is not for you.


        • #5

          I have been out in the West side of PWS quite a bit. This is what I think you must have besides CG required.

          dingy/hand held vhf/extra batteries
          fire starter
          extra food
          iridium phone would also be really nice to have but expensive.

          PWS has plenty of sheltered coves to wait out the weather in. Most of the shore line is a short run to get to and you should never get in a situation that you can not get to one of these. The exception would be mech. problems. IE: if the weather is bad, don't go in the first place. If it starts to get bad while out there, get to shelter before it gets out of hand. IMO for a 20' boat, if the seas are getting to 3-4' its time to find a fishing spot that is close to shelter so you can duck in if necessary.
          As for the rest of your items:

          parachute sea anchor- This is designed for severe heavy weather, and you should not be there in the first place. Your not trying to cross the ocean.

          Drift sock- have one, use it about 2 times a year. Handy to have if conditions are right to use it. Not that expensive.

          self inflating raft- go with the dingy instead. If your worried about your boat flipping and needing a self inflating raft you shouldn't be out there anyway.

          survival suits- would never say not to have them, but if you need them in a 20' boat you probably should have stayed home to begin with.

          As posted earlier, the most important thing is common sense. Don't put yourself in a situation that you have to be home/work at a certian time. You can always get a new job, or new wife, but unfortunatly we are only given one life. Use it carefully.


          • #6

            Not sure how you would carry a dinghy on a soft top boat. If you carry it uninflated, you just took away the extra safety aspect it would allow you. I have my dinghy tied down with bungie cords on my hardtop, in the hopes that they will break if the boat goes down.

            In a pouch in the dinghy I carry a few survival items such as water and a couple lighters, and small flares.

            I have 2 gumby suits that I think I might quit carrying. Ive been packing them up under the dinghy. More clutter and weight. It all adds up. When I carry my hunting gear, I have a hand-held GPS.

            The wife packs enough food to last 4 weeks, even when we are on a 4-day outing. But I could see myself running out of beer if I were stuck for several days due to weather....

            Oh ya, I almost always travel with another boat.
            Kingfisher 2525. 225, 20, and 2hp Hondas.


            • #7
              good info

              Thanks guys that's exactly the kind of information I'm looking for....

              I failed to add that I too carry 5 gallons of fresh water and enough MRE's for several days...

              As for carrying the dinghy inflated... I had Ben over at SilverStreak Boats build me an aluminum roll bar rack over the soft top... It's real nice... I'll tie my dinghy on top and use the rack as a base for my snow shedding cover during winter...


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