Andrew and I have mixed emotions following yesterday's shopping trip to Westhaven-based Safety at Sea - specialist marine and aviation safety providers. We're happy that we now have most of the equipment we require to row the Tasman, but we're also hopeful that we're never in a situation to have to use more than 90% of the items we acquired.
Jonathan Gravit and his Safety at Sea team helped us select the best equipment to meet the demands of our trip - ensuring durability and reliability, without excess weight. They're long-time supporters of New Zealand ocean rowing campaigns and are well versed in the space and weight restrictions of our chosen discipline.
Our kit needs to cover a range of emergencies, from collision avoidance to being found in a hurry, as well as worst case scenarios - an onboard fire or having to abandon ship.
Yesterday's acquisitions include:
Two bright yellow Emergency Grab Bags; water-tight bags that we can literally grab in an emergency. Each bag contains:
- Thermal Protective Aids x 4; designed for hypothermia protection during prolonged exposure in life rafts.
- Distress Sheet x 1; a distress signal visable from the air.
- Light Sticks x 6; temporary light source for use in an emergency.
- Sea Survival Blankets x 4.
We also picked up:
- 406MHZ EPIRB (Emergency Indicating Radio Beacon) x 1; these tracking transmitters aid in the detection and location of boats, aircraft, and people in distress. They'll transmit our latitude and longitude to rescuers and are uniquely identifiable.
- Personal EPIRBs x 4; we'll each wear one of these personal tracking beacons and activate it if we become separated from the boat.
- Radar enhancer x 1; so small ships can see us on their radar screens
- Garmin hand-held GPS x 3; these will help us navigate and reach our waypoints. One will be in a Grab Bag, one will be for use in harbour waters, and one will be used crossing the Tasman Sea.
- Hand Watermaker x 1; in case our main water maker fails, this helps us produce fresh water.
- Flare Kit x1; a waterproof, crush proof container that contains all our emergency flares.
- Smoke Flares x 2; produces orange smoke that's visible for up to five miles during the day.
- Fire Extinguisher x 2; in case we have a fire onboard. One extinguisher is in each cabin.
- Fire Blanket x 1; to dampen a fire.
- Gas Fog Forn x 1; small and extremely loud, powered by a gas bottle.
- Signalling Mirror x 1; a cheap and effective tool to communicate with rescuers during the day.
So now we have the kit, next steps are to weigh it (to complete our detailed weight distribution plan and ensure the boat is evenly balanced), practice how and when to use it and find a home for everything on board.
We still have a few items left to select, including our liferaft, sea anchor and drogue but these will be selected in September once we have a better feel for our requirements.
- By Nigel Cherrie from the Trans-Tasman Rowing Team