Security notice to all mariners

May 7, 2008 in SEA

On this anniversary of the loss of Sean Seamour II and the traumatic experience of clinging to a life raft in seventy foot seas with the belief that no help is on the way I call on all mariners to read and consider appropriate measures to avoid our predicament (in photo side by side the original GPIRB and the clone manufactured with the same serial number to two years later).

Your EPIRB can be the only link left with the world, and as such, is a critical element of security for all mariners regardless of purpose.
Ensuring their proper registration and operation is just as critical to avoid adding another entry to the long list of “lost at sea statistics”. Even then, do not take for granted third party assurance that you are fully operational, redundancy can be the best hedge against the odds. Had I not kept my old and obsolete EPIRB I would not be here to tell the tale of two EPIRBs aboard s/v Sean Seamour II.

(photo courtesy of my wife Mayke Sassen)

Above my head attached in its cradle is a partial view of the old EPIRB from my prior vessel sold abroad, I had kept it for redundancy, when at sea attached to the port side of the hard dodger. Little could I imagine the circumstances in which this unit would save our lives four and a half years later. With no hydrostatic release, the hard dodger sunk after being sheared from the vessel by the rogue wave…(full account of events coming soon).

On a less serious note, we are not usually as laid back. Mayke took this photo in November of 2002 while we were resting in Mindelo after a gruelsome passage from Sardinia to Cape Verde, we had been in the wake of the Route du Rhum flotilla that bore the brunt of the depression that eliminated 20 of the 58 contenders.
On my shoulder our Sardinian stowaway. The day before leaving for our Atlantic crossing a local Sarde, aware of our imminent departure, comes alongside asking me if we are willing to make this young Yorkshire Terrier into a little american – Mayke is down below but I already knew her answer. “Bentley” would take to sea and I back to the supermarket for a month of canned dogfood.

p.s. the image of the two GPIRBs side by side, identical models, serial number and hexadecimal code, manufactured two years apart – the patched antennae is mine, the duplicate or clone is the culprit that almost cost our lives. The unanswered question is why.

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