Elayna has taken to this article with the red pen let me assure you. Paragraphs struck, profanities replaced, entire theories reworked…
The amount of inexpert opinion on Yacht safety that I hear from people now about boating is mind-blowing. It appears as though every person I speak to that hasn’t been on the water immediately starts describing to me the list of things that they wouldn’t do on a given boat or wouldn’t board a vessel that was lacking. It is at though one is trying to out do the next.
“I wouldn’t leave port without a pod of expertly trained rescue dolphins.”
There is this awful attitude of pessimistic fear creeping into popular consciousness. Maybe it was already there and I hadn’t noticed. Maybe its been widely documented and I’ve missed it, we do miss a lot on the boat.
Why immediately look at what can go wrong? Thats no way to attack life.
Now it would be easy for me to insert some platitude here like “everyone dies but not all have lived” that you have no doubt seen on your Facebook wall, claim some sort of adventure man status, exhortate and provide some limp inspiration. What I would rather do is go to where I think the problem is.
I like to blame TV for everything. I no longer watch it, I’m scared of it.
I have been working away or traveling for so long that I believe I can look at these things with a fresh pair of eyes. It is honestly frightening now when I’m back on land and inadvertently find myself in a place where a tellingly common set of coincidences plays out, there is a television, the tv is on and it’s playing the news. Usually airports. There are deaths by shark and crocodile, throats being slit and the elderly being robbed and this is on the morning news probably before most kids are off to school. Hate crimes and Terrorists. The type of irrational fears that I am talking about are born when people are overexposed to unlikely but horrific events and are subsequently unable to process the specific odds ratios relating to that event. I’m not talking about phobias but more a general outlook. Anyway, now I am irrationally scared of the T.V.
We all know your more likely to die from a coconut or vending machine than by a snake. You know how many people die on average from snake bite in Australia? Two. 2 people on average die from snake bite a year in Australia. I will wager that the same people touting this excess safety would be claiming that rubber boots, some anti venom and a mongoose are absolute essentials when travelling to Australia. In the US from 2003-2007, of the 3,133 boating fatalities in those five years, 749 were MOB deaths. I don’t know how many people there are boating in the U.S. but this seems like an extremely small percentage of people that actually go overboard and perish. I would therefore suggest to remain prudent but to not allow this particular eventuality to occupy space in your mind.
The worst thing about all this is that if like 99.99999999999999% of the time nothing happens the millions people standing around with their safety caps on just fade into oblivion. However if against all odds, you are so unlucky that some ill fate does befall you. Of any kind. There they are. The pessimistic, defeatist, flaunters of bleak, revellers of tragedy phones in hand, in all likelihood snapping photos rather than helping, which are uploaded in seconds with alarmist captions headlining the news everywhere.
Thank you to everyone, particularly experienced yachties, who have written in asking us to wear safety harnesses and to tie off to the boat. This seems a reasonable suggestion from people concerned for our safety. Thanks even more the gentleman who sent us a care package of harnesses and tethers. This is excellent and welcome advice. Less welcome is “be careful of lightening!” And the guy who wrote in telling Elayna she shouldn’t drive the tender alone, this is even less reasonable and probably sexist. During the day we don’t wear harnesses, we are purchasing 2 x PLB’s and they will be affixed our 2 slim lifejackets and worn at night. I think that we film less with the jackets on because its a bit rough for filming.
There are always trade offs, compromises. Especially before a larger crossing.
If I had a million dollars I would have a large stainless steel rail installed around the yachts entirety, an in date life raft and laser flares and flood lights and a T1000 sent back in time by SKYNET to take care of any Pirates. But I don’t have a Terminator and so I make the same calculation that anyone has made that has ever crossed a road.
Do I think its safe enough to go?