Monday, February 25, 2008

UK RNLI: 7834 People Rescued, but 'too many MOB's

7834 People Rescued, but 'too many MOB's

In 2007, 'one of the busiest years on record', a whopping 7,834 people were rescued by the UK's Royal National Lifeboat Institution (RNLI) lifeboats and over half of lifeboat launches were to leisure craft However, the most worrying news was the increase in Man Overboard rescues

The final RNLI rescue figures for 2007 also show an increase in the number of man overboard incidents for leisure craft – rising from 161 (2006) to 201 (2007), up 25% from 2006. Commenting on the rise in RNLI rescues to man overboard incidents, RNLI Sea Safety Manager, Peter Chennell says: Although only a relatively small percentage of the total reasons for lifeboat call-outs to leisure boaters, it’s worrying to see such a large increase in man overboard incidents.

It is hoped the boating public have started to take on board the RNLI’s lifejacket awareness campaign message, useless unless worn. We’re aiming to encourage more of the boating community to automatically put their lifejackets on when they go to sea and decide when to take them off, because experience tells us that in an emergency there is not always time to make sure your lifejacket is securely and correctly fitted. Wearing a lifejacket is one of the RNLI’s five sea safety tips along with: checking your engine and fuel; telling others where you’re going; carrying some means of calling for help; and keeping an eye on weather and tides.’ Final figures show that the RNLI’s lifeboats were launched 8,141 times during 2007, rescuing 7,834 people. More than half of the 8,141 RNLI lifeboat launches – 4,287 – were to recreational sea users in leisure craft. This figure is down slightly on 2006 rescues (4,361), perhaps due to the unseasonable weather in the early summer months. Of the 4,287 RNLI lifeboat launches to leisure craft in 2007 almost half (43%) were to powered craft2, well over a third (40%) of lifeboat launches were to the aid of sailing craft3 and 17% were to manual leisure craft4.

The major cause for RNLI lifeboat launches to (manual, power and sailing) leisure craft, as in previous years, was overwhelmingly machinery failure (29% of incidents), this is followed by craft being stranded or grounded (13%) and vessels meeting adverse weather conditions (9%) as the three main causes for lifeboat launches to leisure craft in 2007.

The top three reasons for lifeboat launches to each specific type of leisure craft in 2007 were machinery or engine failure for both power and sailing leisure craft, while the impact of adverse weather conditions was the main reason for lifeboat launches to manual leisure craft। Despite fewer visitors to the coast during the early summer months5 due to the unseasonable weather, RNLI lifeboats and lifeguards continued to respond to a high number of calls for help, as more and more people are using the water and beaches for leisure pursuits. RNLI lifeguards, who were operational on 71 beaches in the south west of England and East Anglia, rescued 1,350 people, came to the aid of a further 9,883 people and responded to 8,201 incidents. The wet summer weather also meant that the RNLI’s Flood Rescue Team and volunteer lifeboat crews were particularly active inland, rescuing another 200 people in flood hit areas across the UK during the summer months.

Lunar Eclipse - Gallery Images

Brian A. Morganti posted a couple of gallery images from the total lunar eclipse he observed in southeastern PA this past Wednesday evening, February 20th.


EMA wants churches to be safe in severe weather

So much severe weather awareness information is geared toward the home. Experts urge families to put together safety plans and stock up on supplies in case the unexpected happens.

But what if you are not in your home when severe weather strikes? What if, like many church congregations in Chilton County this past Sunday, you find yourself in your place of worship?

Chilton County Emergency Management/Homeland Security Director Bill Collum says churches need to make sure they have a way of being alerted when severe weather warnings are given.

"We have a basement in our church," said Collum, who attends Heritage Church of the Nazarene in Clanton. "Our plan is when the warning siren goes off, everyone goes to the basement."

But what if no one hears the outdoor warning system go off? The sirens are intended only to warn those who happen to be outdoors at the time of warning.

Tragically, that was the case on March 24, 1994 when a tornado outbreak resulted in several fatalities at Goshen United Methodist Church in Piedmont.

Collum doesn't want history to repeat itself here in Chilton County. He has already worked with several local churches to develop safety plans including Liberty Hill, Mars Hill and Verbena Baptist Church.

Church safety plans require key people to be trained in helping direct the congregation to safety. This includes assisting the elderly, manning a flashlight and monitoring a weather radio.

A NOAA weather radio would be a wise investment for any church, Collum noted.

"It's the same stuff you would do with a home plan, except you're in a church," he said.

Because many churches already keep a steady supply of food and water on hand, being prepared wouldn't require too many purchases, he added.

Any church is encouraged to contact the Chilton County EMA if they are interested in developing a safety plan for their congregation. The EMA office may be reached at 755-0900.

"We would love to get it in every church," Collum said. "We want to make all churches aware of the need to be prepared."

March 2-8 is severe weather week in Indiana

From Gov. Mitch Daniels’ office:

To focus Hoosiers’ attention on the threats posed by tornadoes and thunderstorms, Governor Mitch Daniels has proclaimed March 2-8, 2008, as Severe Weather Preparedness Week. The National Weather Service will conduct a statewide test of communication systems on Wednesday, March 5 between 1030 AM and 1100 AM EST and between 700 PM and 730 PM EST. Friday March 7 is the make-up drill day if weather postpones Wednesday’s drill.

These tests should be used as times to practice your plan.

The goal of Severe Weather Preparedness Week is to better educate people about the hazards of severe thunderstorms and tornadoes, and to help everyone be prepared should severe weather occur.

The Indiana Department of Homeland Security (IDHS) is offering these tips during times of severe weather.

Tornado Safety Tips

*Basements, inner rooms of a house, and storm cellars provide the best protection.

*Stay away from exterior walls, windows, and doors. Stay in the center of the room.

*If you are in your car do NOT try and outrun the tornado because it can switch direction and can cover lots of ground quickly.

*Get out of vehicle and go into a strong building if possible. If not, lie flat in a ditch or low area and cover your head.

*Do NOT go under overpasses, wind speeds actually increase under them and can suck you out!

*If you live in a mobile home, get out IMMEDIATELY. Take shelter in a building with a strong foundation.

*Listen to radio or watch TV so you can be alerted about your current situation.

Thunderstorm Safety Tips

*If a thunderstorm is coming postpone or cancel outdoor activity.

*Do NOT go near tall trees or any other tall objects.

*Seek shelter inside a building or in a hardtop vehicle, but don’t touch any of the metal inside.

*Do NOT use the telephone. Stay away from other electronic devices, bare metal, and water.

*Do NOT go near downed power lines.

*Keep your eye on the sky as well listen to weather reports on the radio or TV.

*If caught out in the middle of a large body of water, return to shore as soon as possible. Get off the water immediately.

*If caught out in middle of an open field: If walking with others stay a minimum of 10 feet apart; Also, keep low and move quickly to seek shelter. If there is no shelter lay in a ditch or get to the lowest place around.

For more information about preparedness for severe weather and other emergencies, go to Indiana Department of Homeland Security (IDHS).


Severe weather watchers training Tuesday

Thomas Marcetti, Staff Writer

The National Weather Service is offering its SkyWarn training in Hillsdale Tuesday evening.

Doug Sanford, Hillsdale County Emergency Management director, said the training is normally done every year, but they missed last year because of adverse weather.

“The training is for public safety and amateur radio operators, but is open to the public,” he said. “These are the people who are going to give us advance warnings about serve weather.”

Severe weather spotter training offered in Fishers, Indiana

The National Weather Service will conduct severe weather spotter training from 7 to 9 p.m. March 6 at the Fishers Town Hall auditorium.

The training session, hosted by the Fishers Fire Department, is free and is open to the general public.

A representative from the National Weather Service will describe cloud and wind patterns associated with severe weather, how to interpret weather radar data, and how to remain safe during severe weather.

“This is a great opportunity for anyone with an interest in weather, or who is expected to be able to identify and report severe weather at an official level,” said Ron Lipps, public information officer for the Fishers Fire Department.

Additional information about this and other National Weather Service presentations can be found at

Alabama Severe Weather Awareness Week is Next Week

There's kind of a sad irony here, but next week is Severe Weather Awareness Week in the State of Alabama. The week for Tennessee occurs the following week (February 24-29).

The sad irony comes, of course, because of the extraordinary circumstances of the now-infamous "Super Tuesday" tornado outbreak last week. For many of us, the EF-4 tornadoes that devastated parts of Lawrence and Jackson counties served as a terrible wake-up call that such tornadoes can indeed happen here (though we had dodged bullets for so long). Even worse, they occurred in the middle of the night, outside of the traditional spring severe weather "season".

Each day next week will be devoted to a different severe weather topic, whether it's hazards like severe thunderstorms or lightning, or awareness tools such as NOAA All-Hazards Weather Radio. If you don't have one already, this is a good time of year to buy a weather radio in preparation for the spring season--or to check the batteries in your radio in case of a power outage. If you have a new weather radio, be sure to check the NWS Huntsville weather radio page--it has recently been double-checked and expanded with more information, including a helpful programming guide for some common radios.


Opening Ceremony of "K" Line Maritime Academy - Philippines

Tokyo, Japan, Feb 22, 2008 - (JCN Newswire) - In May 2006, Kawasaki Kisen Kaisha, Ltd. ("K" Line) introduced "K" Line Maritime Academy (KLMA) for securing and fostering "K" Line Seafarers as the principle and one of the various initiatives in the establishment of a ship management structure geared to sustain safety and quality and to promote the planned expansion of business operations advocated in the company's revised interim management plan "K" LINE Vision 2008+.

"K" Line established "K" Line Maritime Academy (Philippines) as a main focus of this concept at Pasay City in The Philippines, and "Opening Ceremony" was held on 22nd February 2008 at the Academy with Her Excellency President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo and many delegations from The Philippine Government, Seafarers Educational Institution and other related interests in attendance.

The Academy is the key facility of KLMA and each training course will be carried out in accordance "K" Line's fundamental philosophy that fosters the development of "K" Line Seafarers regardless of nationality by using KLMA Basic Training Matrix and Syllabus.

As for navigation officers, the Academy will conduct training for prevention of ship collision and grounding in congested waters and narrow straits, using the new ship handling simulator, and will ensure that trainees thoroughly understand the "do's and don'ts" concerning safety and quality. With an LNG training course in accordance with SIGTTO Standard and using cargo handling simulator of LNG carrier, the Academy will conduct training in order to secure thoroughly safe and efficient cargo works.

As for engineers, the Academy will conduct training for maintenance of piston, cylinder and so on using the actual main engine with two cylinders. By using a learning system incorporating full-mission engine room simulator, the Academy will conduct training in order to acquire basic knowledge of Engine Room Systems and Machineries as well as exercise on trouble shooting of various systems. In addition, the Academy will conduct training using actual vessel equipment and also stress management training, team work training and so on.

In addition to providing the above latest simulator at KLMA (Philippines), we have installed accommodations and dining room for 110 people, and will be able to accept a total of 10,000 trainees per year regardless of nationality.

Furthermore, a clinic furnished with modern equipment has been set up and will manage the health of all seafarers who go onboard "K" Line group vessels.

To supply highly-skilled seafarers, various "K" Line groups are at work and are the main force behind the training center project, aiming to assure maintenance and further improvement of the "K" Line brand of Security, Safety and Trust.

"What if...The Cosco Busan Happened in New York Harbor??"

NEW YORK, February 7, 2008: On February 27th, the North American Maritime Ministry Association (NAMEPA), in conjunction with New York Maritime Inc. (NYMAR), will be presenting a Response Simulation "What if…the Cosco Busan happened in New York Harbor. Will we be prepared??" Developed by the USCG Sector New York, the Simulation will replicate the events of the Cosco Busan incident which occurred last year in San Francisco - but in New York. The various stakeholders including owners, responders, cargo interests, and government agencies will be participating at the event which will be held in midtown at 4:00PM. (Continued)

By Kristi Bitgood Kelty