Emergency Reaction time while boating

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opie
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Emergency Reaction time while boating

Post by opie » Sun May 17, 2009 10:33 am

In a recent post the subject of reaction time to a potential damaging or critical situation was brought up. It was suggested that the hero of any such situation be cool and calm and breath softly in and out and then react calmly and efficiently as he/she saves the passengers and vessel from certain death (or at least embarrassment.)

From reading books about cognitive learning, you can take the example of a toddler learning about dirt. The parent can show the kid dirt, talk about dirt, point at dirt, but until the kid eats dirt it will not know what dirt is and what to do or not do with it. The same thing with emergencies, IMHO. Unless you train for it in some way, an emergency will set your brain into confusion and overload. You can learn from it that way.

One example, I recently wrote that I was a calm sailor-dude that kept a smaller Bruce anchor on a 1/2" line (with no chain) at my feet near the helm and when my motor stopped recently I reached down and threw it out to stop my boat from hitting a oncoming big cruiser in the ICW. What I conveniently left out was that on a previous motor-problem occasion last year I let the wind drive my boat and me and screaming Admiral 150 feet into marsh grass in a strong wind. It took hours to kedge myself out of that mess that I could have avoided with my present always-handy anchor.

So for those future and inevitable mishaps that we all will have, consider it "eating dirt." :|

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Chinook
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Re: Emergency Reaction time while boating

Post by Chinook » Sun May 17, 2009 2:17 pm

opie wrote:Unless you train for it in some way, an emergency will set your brain into confusion and overload. You can learn from it that way.
I witnessed a remarkable example of the truth in this statement many years ago, while working for the Forest Service as a fire crew member in Montana. The Ranger Station fronted a long, lonely stretch of highway which was boringly straight and elevated about 6 feet above the surrounding landscape. One afternoon, right at 5pm, I was walking out with our crew leader to take down the flag. I looked up to see a station wagon, filled with people, flying past the Ranger Station, doing at least 60 mph. The driver had lost control, and I was stunned to see the car go airborne as it left the roadway. I was frozen as I watched that car sail through the air and crash into the ground beyond the road shoulder. My crew leader's response, however was quite different. Just recently returned from a tour in Vietnam, he instantly glimpsed the scene of disaster and, while the car was still airborne, he'd sprinted back into the Ranger Station to grab the first aid kit. Dust still saturated the air around that crashed car when Mike charged back with the first aid kit, taking control of the situation and assisting the occupants of the car. I'll never forget how impressed I felt over his ability to react so instantly, and so appropriately, to a completely unanticipated emergency.

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Night Sailor
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Re: Emergency Reaction time while boating

Post by Night Sailor » Sun May 17, 2009 4:18 pm

I"ve been told by a former test pilot that it's a dicutm among his kind that when something goes badly wrong.... DO something immediately........ don't wait to think, analyze, etc. just DO something. Chances are very good he said, that your unconscious brain is way ahead of you and will make a decision that is helpful, not harmful. Saved his life twice he said.

I've done that a few times in my life too and it worked. Other times, when I was in control or advising others in a sudden emergency, time seemed to come to a halt while the emergency developed before my eyes and ears, and I could think and talk as if in slow motion with plenty of time to choose the right response, yet outside observers said that in real time, the interval was only 1 to 2 seconds, one emergency, less than 5 sec. in another.

To paraphrase the Boy Scout motto, Be prepared for the worst, then relax and expect the best.

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Chinook
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Re: Emergency Reaction time while boating

Post by Chinook » Sun May 17, 2009 11:38 pm

Now that you mention it, my oldest son responded that way in a military aviation emergency several years ago. His Navy EP3 recon plane was intercepted by a Chinese fighter off the coast of Hainan Island. When the pilot advised the crew of the intercept he got up, according to procedures, to observe from one of the two forward windows. He took one look outside, saw that the fighter plane was just a few feet below the wing, flying between the P3's two turboprop engines. My son made an immediate beeline for his seat, strapped in and donned his parachute. Seconds later the tail fin of the Chinese fighter got chewed up by the P3's prop and his plane fell 10000 feet in an inverted dive toward the South China Sea. He was one of just a few crew members who was chuted up and strapped in during that descent. Training triggered reaction. The pilot and flight engineer managed to pull their damaged aircraft out of the dive 6000 feet above the sea.

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delevi
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Re: Emergency Reaction time while boating

Post by delevi » Mon May 18, 2009 2:28 am

As they say in Jamaica... Respect.

Kelly Hanson East
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Re: Emergency Reaction time while boating

Post by Kelly Hanson East » Mon May 18, 2009 8:52 am

"ve been told by a former test pilot that it's a dicutm among his kind that when something goes badly wrong.... DO something immediately........ don't wait to think, analyze, etc. just DO something.
Im on the port tack on the above statement. I explain as follows

Test pilots (and anyone in aviation) do the following before they would ever get into either the left or right hand seat
TRAIN TRAIN TRAIN TRAIN TRAIN......(you get the idea)

Most of us SLEEP EAT WORK (and then sometimes play) on our Macs

Our intuition to do something wont be based on training, it will be based on the time we spend doing other things not related to boating.

When I woke up at 3am to find my boat sinking with my kids on board, I went into shock for a good minute - then I realised I did not want to dance about on deck with an unknown load of water on my boat - I took another minute to plan out my next 2-3 hours of options, then I executed.

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