The Reef (2010)

thereef

The Reef (2010)

Australian Horror Film, based on true events of a similar incident in 1983.
A very good B rate suspense film.
Watching this film from a boating perspective gave it an extra dimension. I did go to sleep thinking briefly that I would never go in the sea again. But by morning all was forgotten. Brilliant short term memory!

A delivery skipper is moving a sailing vessel from Australia to Indonesia. He invites along for the ride, one experienced sailor,  a former girlfriend, and her brother and his wife. Making a total of five people. And things go wrong….

NAVIGATING USING A WATCH
I learnt something while watching a horror film. No, no, no, it wasn’t to run towards the strange sound in the darkness. I mean something practical like finding direction using your watch. It’s a pity at the moment that I prefer to use my digital watch while at sea which wouldn’t be very helpful in an emergency. Oh well at least I would know the time and it is waterproof after all.  There is a difference  between whether you are in the southern or northern hemispheres though. In the film they were in Australia so the skipper held his watch horizontally, pointed the number twelve on his watch towards the sun, noted the direction between the hour hand and the twelve and that was north. You can check for yourself if you happen to be in the northern hemisphere. But tell me what happens if you are near the equator? What then?

One point I did take away with me in the film was that having flippers and a snorkel mask on board is rather handy. A wet suit would be useful too if you are into diving or snorkeling or boat bottom cleaning.

If you happen to be in the water with a shark nearby, and there are other people in the water with you, you should all come together in a huddle, giving the appearance of being larger than reality. Facing the shark might deter it. But I personally would rather look away. They say with a bear you should always face it and walk away slowly. Not that I have ever encountered a bear or a shark.

But what went wrong?

(SPOILER ALERT – kind of)

DIDN’T CHECK THE CHARTS
The skipper wanting to impress his ex-girlfriend and takes them on a detour to an island with a reef on the first day of the journey. A reef that he has never been to before. He doesn’t check the tides properly or the depth of the water for anchoring. He is too busy trying to impress.

NO LIFE RAFT
He is skippering a boat into international waters, he needs to have a life raft surely to be able to leave Australian waters.

OLD EPRIB (Emergency Position Radio Indicating Beacon)
He has one on board but it only works if there is a plane flying overhead according to the skipper in the film.

NO LIFE JACKETS
How he can be a skipper I have no idea. There were no life jackets on board. They did however have wetsuits for all on board.

NO FRESH WATER
Skipper and others swam away to find Turtle Island without water. They had one tiny bottle between five people. Dehydration alert.

NO METHOD OF COMMUNICATION
There was no VHF radio, no portable secondary mode of communication.

NO FLARES

NO NAVIGATION RECHECKS
The skipper lined up the 12 hand on his watch and found north, but part way through his swimming to the island he had to deal with a shark and he was facing all directions under the sun. Disorientated I would say. He then swam off again towards Turtle Island, an island that you couldn’t see on the horizon. So in theory he should have been checking each time they stopped.

There may have been more errors but that’s enough I think to get into a spot of trouble. Could there be more? Watch it yourself. Enjoy!

Sea Fever

240313
It’s first and foremost a love story and it just happens to be themed on and around a boat. It was one of those easy, chatty toned summer reads that you pick up and not put down until the last page. I like it when I find a book that I don’t want to finish. It however is also a book on the dangers of sailing and what can go wrong. A book of warnings.
I sit in front of the screen and dream of picking a boat up from the other side of the world and sailing it back home with an experienced skipper and all will be smooth sailing. Reality check. It might be like that but chances are there will be problems.

What did I learn about boats?
A modern 406 MHz EPIRB (Emergency Position Indicating Radio Beacons), or emergency distress beacon is an essential piece of equipment when considering blue water cruising, sailing between countries on an open sea. Some activate when hitting water but others engage with the press of a button. And with luck you will be rescued within 24 hours. You do not press this button when you cannot find the cork screw and are in need of kitchen aid, you press this when your engine dies in the middle of the sea  and/or your mast has broken or you have a medical emergency. It is a beacon of last resort.
EPRIBs must be registered to give the best information to the coastguard. Emergency contact information and the description of boat, number of people on board, whether there is a life raft on board. If registered the coastguard can contact the designated person and verify whether or not the distress is real or just a false alarm for starters.
A 406 MHz EPIRB is one of the requirements for Category 1 NZ registered boats wishing to leave NZ waters to other parts of the world.
The New Zealand Country Code is 512.

Buying a boat without a survey is a case of buyer beware. AIWI, as is where is means that there is going to be some work to do. Travelling far to buy a boat is fine but to buy a boat because it happens to be  the last boat of three that you have travelled far to view and it appears to be the best of the worst and you don’t want to go home disappointed. Well honey, sometimes it is better to go home empty handed than to buy a lemon. Learning to say NO is an important lesson in life. A word that is small yet significant that we sometimes just cannot say for pride gets in our way.

The Coastguard are knights and ladies in shining armour.
I witnessed the rescue of a boat only yesterday. The engine died on a powerboat. The coastguard towed them back to their marina pier. All safe and sound. One family with a happy ending.  It pays to be a member of the coastguard. You never know when you might need their help. It’s a bit like insurance, you buy the service but you hope you never have to use it.