Hobie Forums

Cost of rescues?
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Author:  TIDALWAVE [ Mon Jun 10, 2013 5:01 am ]
Post subject:  Cost of rescues?

:( Would you expect the Coast Guard to spend at least $10,000 to come out to rescue you. It was obvious from the conditions at the beginning that
a small craft like a Hobie should not be sailed nearly 10 miles offshore in bad conditions. You even used a jet ski to tow you the majority of the way out.
I do quite a bit of mountain climbing...most climb teams assume that rescue efforts are free. The State and Fed officials have talked about forcing teams to
buy rescue insurance when they buy their climbing permits. Most of the comments are that such fees are Communist and the teams pay taxes and that
should pay for all rescues. But when people purposely put their lives in danger should the rest of us have to pay for their folly?

Author:  Chopcat [ Mon Jun 10, 2013 5:18 am ]
Post subject:  Re: Cost of rescues?

Yes, I would expect them to come and rescue me and then perhaps discuss the costs afterwards and also whether the insurance, that we all have, would cover it. But I wouldn't be upset if they rescued me for less.

As sailors (and mountaineers) we all know that conditions change and therefore the position as you put it is not quite so straightforward.

So the principle of helping your fellow man in distress and good will to all wins yet again :)


Author:  rusty_sojah [ Mon Jun 10, 2013 5:48 am ]
Post subject:  Re: Cost of rescues?

i feel like i missed a post #1 to this story,, sorta like changing channels and stopping on a show already in progress. ;)

Author:  Tom Kirkman [ Mon Jun 10, 2013 7:28 am ]
Post subject:  Re: Cost of rescues?

Somebody always foots the bill for these rescues. If no fee is charged (such as with Sea Tow) then the taxpayers foot the cost.

This is from the Coast Guard website under their "mission" statement"

By law, the Coast Guard has 11 missions:
Ports, waterways, and coastal security
Drug interdiction
Aids to navigation
Search and rescue
Living marine resources
Marine safety
Defense readiness
Migrant interdiction
Marine environmental protection
Ice operations
Other law enforcement

As more and more kayakers, boaters, etc., hit the waterways, more rescues will be required and more tax dollars required to fund those rescues. And it's important to remember, there is no guarantee that a rescue will be initiated or that such an attempt will necessarily be successful. Anybody can get in a bad spot, but some common sense can often present some of these incidents from happening. I wouldn't go out in really bad conditions thinking, "Well, if something goes wrong I'll just radio the Coast Guard and have them pick me up."

Author:  aussieonyak [ Mon Jun 10, 2013 11:51 am ]
Post subject:  Re: Cost of rescues?

rusty_sojah wrote:
i feel like i missed a post #1 to this story,, sorta like changing channels and stopping on a show already in progress. ;)

me too - I must have missed something
TIDALWAVE it sounded like you mentioned someone getting towed out to sea by a jet ski and then being rescued - what was the context to this?

As a comment on the high cost of search and rescue I agree with Chopcat and would expect my fellow man to undertake search and rescue and I would not object to paying a reasonable fee as part of boat registration / insurance to help fund those operations. There's a very large pool of people to contribute to that fund and only a small % of them ever will need the rescue. Many rescues are already performed by other boaters and that keeps the cost to the Government down see this posting as an example viewtopic.php?f=71&t=47959

Author:  Crazy4DaRiver [ Mon Jun 10, 2013 1:06 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Cost of rescues?

I also fall into the "Where did this post begin?"

I have taken my AI as far as 40 miles out one way. I have tons of electronics and safety. A Coast Guard "fast boat" came up on me once and read me the riot act for being out so far until I showed them my VHF, Chartplotter / Sonar/ GPS X2 and magnetic compass. They giggled and said I had more than some big boats.
I have towed jet skis back and other kayak's that were either broken or the person took on more than they could chew. Coast Guard has been nothing but kind as has Life Guards and the Sheriffs

Author:  snjsanders [ Mon Jun 10, 2013 1:46 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Cost of rescues?

...But when people purposely put their lives in danger should the rest of us have to pay for their folly?

I too am an off shore angler that often sails my TI 6-12 miles offshore. I have a VHF radio/GPS fish finder/ EPIRP rescue beacon/ Flare Kit/ First aid kit. This and other equipment combined with good judgement allows me to operate off shore with minimal risk. If you are looking for a risk free adventure, sailing around in a AI or TI may not be for you.

Author:  KayakingBob [ Mon Jun 10, 2013 2:23 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Cost of rescues?

Seems to be response to this video post: http://www.hobiecat.com/forums/viewtopic.php?f=32&t=47963

Maybe the decision to go out that day could be questioned, depending on the information available by launch time. But they were prepared, stayed calm and together, and made good decisions on seeking shelter at the rig and riding out the worse of it. And they fished while waiting the storm out and on the return! :) Not a bad day, and quite a story. I think they made the most of a bad situation.

Author:  sharrissmith [ Mon Jun 10, 2013 5:02 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Cost of rescues?

I worked on a small boat salvage vessel based out of Redondo beach back in the 80s’. We responded to a boat that had spun its propeller off. On board were two men and a boy. After hearing the quote for the tow (I dont recall the amount) the owner basically told us to piss off, he would wait till dark then the Coast Guard would have to respond. I will never forget the look on the lads face! We were easily still an hour from sunset. Nothing more we could do, I assume it ended well (there was no threat from the weather). I think it is called feeling entitled.

Author:  Slaughter [ Mon Jun 10, 2013 7:53 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Cost of rescues?

I don't see there being any major difference in the rescue efforts between boats and cars and even bushwalking. If someone is called out to rescue you, the cost should be already covered in taxes. Unless it is seen that the rescue was brought about by an irresponsible or ill prepared act, then it's user pays.

Author:  vetgam [ Mon Jun 10, 2013 9:48 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Cost of rescues?

Unfortunately, I was on the boat in the video that day. We had watched four different weather sites for a week and made the decision to fish the rigs that day because the seas were to be 1 ft all day with no wind in the morning and about 8 mph in afternoon according to all forcasts. What happened was that a surprise storm from the north blew into the area early in the morning of our launch. We saw this on the radar that we were monitoring when we arrived to the bait camp at our launch site. A TV report at the bait camp indicated the storm would not make its way this far and would fall 60 miles short of us so we elected to continue our plans and monitor radar. Unfortunately we lost radar on our cell phones a few miles off shore. At that point we still expected the front to stall and fall short of us bu about 50 miles I think the big mistake we made was relying on these forecasts rather than checking the marine forecast on our VHF radios. I believe that information may have been more current and would have convinced us to turn back. Live and learn.

We had the jet ski tow initially because seas were so calm. After a few minutes of that we said thanks but no thanks and peddled to the rig- we did not want to damage the TI. We were not using the jet ski to take us out further than we normally go. We've made this trip many times before. Once the storm was on the horizon we freed up from the rig quickly tried to sail back. Within a 1/2 mile we realized we were powerless trying to tack against these winds. We waved the jet skier on because were worried for his safety too. We later found out that the waves knocked him off his jet ski twice on the way back in. Both times he was able to swim back to his jet ski and get back on while 10 ft waves knocked him around like a pin ball.

I'm not proud that we let this storm blind side us and that we ended up one of 12 vessels that were immediately unaccounted at sea after the storm that day. As far am aware, all vessels eventually make it back OK. It became obvious that our islands were no match for a storm like this , especially one that blows out from land to sea. You just cant tack your way home in a storm with 30+ mph winds. Not going to happen. Sea anchors will now be standard equipment for us.

After the 128 minutes of hell on the rig, we saw the winds beginning to die down and called our loved ones to let them know we were safe. We remained hooked to the rig until the winds let up enough to tack back to land. Don't let the fact that we were fishing during this down time suggest that we were somehow caviler about all this. I honestly gave us a 50/50 chance that day. GoPros doesn't give a true sense of these winds and waves that day. The worst is not know how bad it's going to get when all you can see is black skys and lightening. Nature ruled out there.

I consider myself an adventurer, not a dare devil and this was no adventure. We don't plan on repeating this mistake again. You can rest assured that all of us had a long discussion about what we did wrong when it was all over.

Yes, we had VHF radios, cell phones and personal locator beacons- yet offshore storms have a way of making you feel very alone out there.

Author:  KayakingBob [ Mon Jun 10, 2013 10:19 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Cost of rescues?

Glad it all turned out well, much to the fact that you were prepared! I was amused not alarmed at your fishing. Hard core fishermen! :)

Author:  aussieonyak [ Mon Jun 10, 2013 11:21 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Cost of rescues?

vetgam wrote:
Unfortunately, I was on the boat in the video that day. ...........
.......... GoPros doesn't give a true sense of these winds and waves that day. The worst is not know how bad it's going to get when all you can see is black skys and lightening. Nature ruled out there................Yes, we had VHF radios, cell phones and personal locator beacons- yet offshore storms have a way of making you feel very alone out there.

Hey Vetgam I'm glad you made it back safely - I ventured to head out of my local bay last week and as I went through the entrance was immediately confronted with very large swell and confused seas (wind and tide opposing) so I turned and headed back in - it was more than I was prepared for in my TI so I can only imagine how you must have felt getting caught out at the rig.

By the way I just tried to watch it but the video seems to have been removed from youtube so I didn't get to see what it was all about but your account of it sounds very logical to me.

Thanks for sharing that (scary) experience.

Author:  ShakaGeoff [ Mon Jun 10, 2013 11:51 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Cost of rescues?

Glad to hear all ended well also, sorry about your hellish experience but you get to file that one away as a survival story. Video was not linked anymore, but I didn't need to see it with the story spelled out... interesting thread to read through.

I'm no one to judge who should be rescued for what cost, but it sounds to me like you all had considered a lot of info before you made your decision to go out, and s*it happens.

I do like this topic of rescue as it has come up in conversations here on Maui recently. I think every situation should be judged separately by a court or something if there is $10K involved in the cost. Most people want to avoid putting themselves in harms way, but other people put themselves in bad situations either knowingly or ignorantly, sometime repeatedly. I think certainly those people should have to pay for rescue, if the individual circumstances bear it out. But having a system that actually can judge individual circumstances with results that are just is a bit of a naive notion.... at least here in the U.S. from where I'm sitting...

I could further debate against pubic funded rescues in this way: I think roadways are different situation, but when you enter the wilderness, big water and the like, you have to take responsibility for your self, and thus be prepared to pay if you fail in survival circumstances and have no one else to rely on but the US Gov to bail you out. These are places that if you choose to recreate and adventure, knowing that if something went wrong, you would have to rely on others to save you. And unless you have arrangements with another party before such adventures or get lucky that another party can help you randomly, then you know our last chance is relying on The Man. Not to say they shouldn't be to rescue you at all (different argument), but they should notify you when you are being rescued that you will pay or owe them for saving your life. I don't have any political or economic trip about spending on public services and spending liberally, but in our society our pursuits in the wilderness are largely for individual recreation, so why make others pay for that?

If you are bringing all of this gear to call for rescue and locate you by GPS, etc etc, then it's clear you are aware of the fact that you might need rescue... thus the idea of adventure insurance for this purpose makes some sense, though I hate insurance too. Especially the mandatory kind.

Again, I'm not trying to judge anyone's individual circumstances in why you needed public rescue services.. I might need rescue one day too and I'm telling you now I would feel ashamed if it happened but I would take the help to save my life and I would not offer to pay for it afterwords. But my attitude about wilderness adventure is buy the ticket, take the ride. Don't depend on anyone but yourself and who you chose to venture with for help, financially or otherwise.

I'll repeat that to myself over and over again as the tradewinds blow me on a long ride from Hawaii to Tahiti one day :-P

Funner topic to discuss than live through. Glad you made it back.

Author:  Chopcat [ Tue Jun 11, 2013 2:20 am ]
Post subject:  Re: Cost of rescues?

i'd be interested to hear where this $10,000 figure for a coastguard team comes from.

I would expect you could have an SAR team out there for less especially as your fuel is cheaper in the US than here! or maybe your coastal rescue works in a different way?

Yes weather does not always follow the forecasts whether on land, at sea or in the air. The motto is to do your homework make your decision and be prepared for when the forecasts don't do what they should. Have a plan B. And if that doesn't work that is what SAR is there for. If everything went according to plan it would not be needed.

Glad you made it back so we can have more exciting videos, :D


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