Safety: We Can’t Do Or Even Learn About It All

© Istock/klerik78  Note, this is just a stock image for fun, and is not meant to show how a real rescue laser will look at sea.

These days it seems like hardly a month goes by without the announcement of a new safety device aggressively marketed as the latest thing that we all must buy, with the underlying implication that if we don't we are idiots who don't care about our crew and families.

And even if we don't buy, just keeping up with what the latest safety thing does and figuring out if we need one is a huge time sink, and stressful, too, particularly since the forums will be busy discussing it.

And, to make it worse, there will be people who think they understand it pronouncing on how it works, but who actually don't, further muddying the waters.

And finally, there will be marketing claims and "tests" from the company pushing the gadget that purport to show why we all must have one, but that are often questionable at best, and even intentionally misleading—see Further Reading for a gross example.

And if you feel pressured by all this, imagine how I who make my living writing about offshore voyaging feel. In fact, about a year ago I was getting seriously stressed every time a member pointed out a new or improved safety technology and asked for my opinion.

And then I had three realizations:

John was born and brought up in Bermuda and started sailing as a child, racing locally and offshore before turning to cruising. He has sailed over 100,000 miles, most of it on his McCurdy & Rhodes 56, Morgan's Cloud, including eight ocean races to Bermuda, culminating in winning his class twice in the Newport Bermuda Race. He has skippered a series of voyages in the North Atlantic, the majority of which have been to the high latitudes. John has been helping others go voyaging by sharing his experience for 25 years, first in yachting magazines and, for the last 20 years, as co-editor/publisher of AAC.

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