Lake Macquarie, New South Wales, AUSTRALIA

Joined September 29th 2006

Number of Posts:

Number of Comments:


Just messing about in a boat

A bit about me
I have been on, in, under or next to the water ever since I can remember. 1st memory was as a child on the Castle Bianca From Italy to Australia in a storm on the Indian Ocean. Evreyone seasick except me insisting to be fed in the cafateria. Just love the water and boats. 1999 became a commercial ship master.


TomN's Blogs

10269 Vote(s)
59 Comment(s)
154 Post(s)

Blogs I Follow

Recent Posts

Don't rely entirely on your flares!

October 5th 2009 01:17
I have been teaching commercial boating students in sea rescue over the last five months.
Part of our practical demonstration is to let off hand held flares. Each student gets to let off one each of the red, orange smoke and rocket parachute style. These flares are donated to us by shipping companies or boaters renewing their flares. Most flares are just out of date by a month or so or are still in date by a month or so.

I was stunned by the number of flares that do not work. I could understand if the out of date flares didn't operate but there seems to be no rhyme or reason as to which ones will or will not go off. The flares have been given to us in good condition, still plastic wrapped in fact.
I would estimate around 20% of the flares do not operate at all. Of these the parachute rockets seem to fire then the parachute doesn't open and the flare plummets to the water where it burns for many minutes.

I guess it would not be fair to name companies whose flares are the biggest culprits as I have not done a "proper detailed analasys"" and I would get a slap on the wrist for that. Still it is not hard to guess as not many companies flares are sold in Australia and it is a big and reputable company.

We are told by the USL code or SOLAS the requirements of the number of flares to be carried by our vessels. To be sure you have what you require I could suggest that you double or even triple the number of flares you have. Imagine that you have a distress situation in progress and you have managed to get out a mayday, boarded a liferaft and let off your epirb and you can see searchers looking for you. Remember you are only letting off your flares to attract attention of rescuers who are in your vicinity. What happens when your flares don't work. You still have a heliograph but that is no good at night or if the sun is behind a cloud.

A 20% failure rate of flares just in date or just out of date is too much by my standard. Perhaps the companies that make the flares find it acceptable but I do not. Carry spares, it the life of you and your crew you are responsible for.

Another failure I must report was the non inflation of a liferaft. We have our raft packed after each class and I was amazed at having a failure to open. We cut the tapes and manualy opened the raft then had a good "bonding session" as we pumped it up by hand.
Another lesson, be ready for anything and everything to go wrong. on this particular day we had only three of the twenty parachutes open and five of the twenty smoke flares operate properly. Was I embarassed? You bet.
Happy safe boating

toomas Nelson confirmation ownership

August 15th 2009 22:39
This blog confirms my ownership of this iste for adsense purposes.
Toomas Nelson

fatal ending!

February 22nd 2009 00:25
Recently, as the skipper of a maxi charter yacht skipper I had the unfortunate experience of losing one of my passengers. I am writing this account to purge my soul and to show people how easily things can go wrong despite the best safety measures being in place.

We had dropped anchor off the Eastern side of Hook Island in the Whistunday group in the Coral Sea off the Queensland coast. My deckhand and I gave a snorkeling brief to our twelve passengers and then with everyone suited up in stinger suits and carrying their masks and snorkels my deckie ferried people to the snorkel site in the RIB. The site was about thirty metres away but it is easier to control the crowd if we use the RIB rather than have everyone swim to the site.

My deckie is highly experienced with over four years of practical time in the area doing exactly what we were doing right now. He now stands up in the RIB and watches the snorkelers. Primarily he changes masks and snorkels for people who can't pick a good set prior to leaving the mother ship. He is also the 1st point of rescue should something go wrong. He had just left the mother ship after being passed a replacement snorkel by me when he noticed something wrong.

At this stage I must set the scene. It is a bright sunny afternoon. The water is warm and vizability is very good. Eleven of the twelve passengers are in the water all wearing simillar black stinger suits face down snorkeling. They all look much the same. All that shows is the quiet breaking of the water with fins and the tip of the snorkel. The coral viewing here is extraordinary and the fish life is abundant. Every passenger is fully engrossed with what is happening under water.

Distaster strikes! My deckie notices one person laying face down in the water with her snorkel tip submerged... He races over in the RIB (10 Metres) pulls the swimmer out of the water and rips off her face mask and snorkel. She is not responding to his shouts to her if she is ok. Laying her down on the floor of the RIB he races for the mother ship (20 metres) and calls to me for the oxygen bottle. I cry out that we don't have oxygen on board and as I jump into the RIB to assist, tell him to tie off and call "000" for assistance.

The young woman is unconcious I can't feel a pulse and she is not breathing. Her nose is dribbling blood and oxyginated water is running from her mouth. I clear her mouth with my fingers, check her tongue is forward and blow air into her lungs. Then I proceed with CPR. I can hear the deckie talking to the rescue response people as I work franticly to revive my passenger. After about fifteen minutes I am told that a boat is coming from another Island and they will transfer my passenger to a rescue helicopter. At this point one of the snorkelers beside me and I ask her if she can ask the other people if any of them is a doctor, nurse or medically trained person. Within a couple of minutes two people have come to relieve me.

One guy is a medical ordlerly in a hospital and one girl is senior first aid trained. We spend another fifteen minutes doing CPR, during this time we look for vital signs of life but can't identify anything! The rescue boat arrives and my passenger is transfered over. I note that
there are two nurses on board and the way the man in a suit was talking to them he had to be a doctor. Relieved of my patient and relieved that she is in good hands, I gather all my passengers together for a debriefing.

I have to be blunt, I don't think think our patient will survive. In fact I am sure she is already deceased. The atmosphere amongst the passengers is sombre. We have to return to port as police and maritime authorities will need to investigate the incident. On the way back, we get a call on the VHF radio that the patient is on board the rescue chopper and they have found her pulse and she has weak blood pressure. Relieved, there is a feeling of celebration on board. In fact they party on till the early hours of the morning.

Then the mood crashes. I get a call from the hospital, [ our operations manager has driven there, ] that at 0500 my passenger passed away.

I spend many months going over the sequence of events that led to the incident and what happend imediately after. I don't know that there was anything I could do to change the series of events. I have talked to occupational health and safety officers, the police and other skippers. The young lady was a reasonable swimmer and had snorkeled before in Thailand and Cairns. She loved snorkeling! The water depth was not above her head height and nobody saw any signs of struggling or panic. I have no access to an autopsy report and have not been asked to give evidence at a coronor's enquiry. Just bad Luck? I hope not.


gardening on board

July 25th 2007 18:53
Gardening on board.
Some time ago I bought a small mushroom farm. It came in a brown cardboard box and after several weeks of keeping it in a cupboard, well watered, it started to produce mushrooms. Great In omelettes, stews and stir fries. With the cost of mushrooms at over nine bucks a kilo this was value and I had them on hand when I wanted them. As the first farm started to run down its production it was time to get another under way. Now I was left with a bunch of great mushroom compost. What to do with this? Well a couple of coconuts cut in half and scooped free of meat and hung from the rigging was the answer. Filled with compost and planted out with herbs, a silver beet, here and there and even mini tomatoes soon had a small green grocery happening. Of course nothing like being self sufficient in vegetables and salads but good fun and it makes exciting choices available for meal times.

[ Click here to read more ]

coolgardie fridge?

July 24th 2007 18:50
Not everyone who lives on board their boat can afford the power to run a fridge so the idea of the old Australian coolgardie or Cillgardie meat safe is starting to catch on. This was a meat safe used by bushies in the old days. The meat safe was a fly proof box that hung in the shade of a gum tree with the wind blowing across it to keep it cool. A burlap cover with water dripping from a tray on the top into a small gutter at the floor kept the bag constantly wet. The breeze blowing across this is enough to keep butter from melting on a hot day and guys swear it puts beads of chill on a bottle of beer. I have yet to build one but I like the idea. What a great way to enjoy your time on board. Make and drink your own beer, then chill it and serve it out of a cooler that uses no energy except what comes free! Cheers.


Slake a thirst on board

July 23rd 2007 18:47

Slake a thirst on board.

[ Click here to read more ]

Another morning in paradise

July 22nd 2007 18:43
[[COLOR=Teal]SIZE=4]Another beautiful morning in Paradise:
I woke this morning to a knocking on my door, “come” I called from the comfort of my bed. I find the big blonde barmaid from last night had become a receptionist dressed in a suit that still could not hide her endowment. She had come to see if I required breakfast. My only requirement was to get a good handful of this lady but as I said earlier, a gentleman never tells.

[ Click here to read more ]

Morning after the night before

July 21st 2007 18:38
The morning after the night before:
Its dawned a brilliant morning with the sun glistening out through my window on the Tasman Sea or is it already the Southern Ocean in this latitude? Any how it is a great day to be alive and I have plans to cross the interior of the island via Lake Leike where it is supposed to sleet even on a warm summer day. BRRRRR but I will be dressed for it. In case you are hanging out about my success last night I have to say a successful lover should never kiss and tell but I do have a story, however brief to commit to these pages.

[ Click here to read more ]

A pub crawl without beer

July 20th 2007 18:36
A pub-crawl without beer!
This weekend I was to take a bunch of fellow students on a pub-crawl of historic Tassie pubs, by mini bus. I was the designated driver and would stay dry till we got to Bicheno and parked the bus. Then I would hit the slops big time. The bus was booked and deposited and the drinkers were eagerly looking forward to a debauched weekend of alcohol cigarettes and probably pools of vomit. A surprise exam on Monday took the wind out of everyone’s sails. Better to stay home and study rather than face an exam with a beer induced hangover.

[ Click here to read more ]

Heroic resue details

July 18th 2007 18:35
.Tuesday, July 17, 2007

With 30-ft. swells in fierce seas and with 40 mile an hour winds buffeting their efforts, the M/V Horizon Falcon crew performed a rescue of two Chinese seafarers 375 miles northwest of Guam, Horizon Lines Inc. reported following a review of the Falcon's Master's Log. The rescue effort took place over a 24 hour period on July 12 and 13. The Horizon Falcon, a newly-constructed 2,824 TEU containership in the Horizon Lines fleet, responded to a request by the U.S. Coast Guard Sector Guam to divert for a distress call from a log carrier, HAI TONG No. 7. The 420-ft. Panamanian-flagged ship had 22 Chinese crewmembers on board. It sank after encountering rough seas due to a typhoon in the area. Survivors were in the water for two days when the Horizon Falcon arrived at the scene before noon on July 12.

[ Click here to read more ]


Recent Comments

Comment by TomN
on Super-sized hosties

June 7th 2007 09:31
I sure liked your blog about the "heifers" I have to confess that I am now a rather Hefty "bull" myself after many years of grazing in the top paddock. Great entertainment

Delete ] [ Ignore ]

Comment by TomN
on Yo ho ho and a bottle of rum

January 10th 2007 05:09
Hi Cibbuano,
funny thing I used to drink rum and bitter lemon before I learnt to drink beer. Lovely refreshing drink. I still like some lemon flavour added to my rum even just plain old pub squash will do.

Delete ] [ Ignore ]

Comment by TomN
on Yo ho ho and a bottle of rum

January 10th 2007 05:04
Hi Ash
I don't know about getting the skin on my elbow like a babies bottom but I had lemons on my prawns last night and no scurvy this morning! Scurvy is a skin disease I believe so maybe skin and anti wrinkle????

Delete ] [ Ignore ]

Comment by TomN
on Believe it or not?

December 26th 2006 19:30
Question Judy? You may even find enough to make a post of this. In my days of being a high flyer and managing to travel around a fair bit at someone elses expense, (pre becoming a Bohemian writer,) I took a keen interest in the hosties on different airlines I travelled with. Lets face it the eye candy was more entertaining than the decor or movies or magazines. I was allways pleased to jump on a Quantas flight and hear our home accent. But was it my imagination or did QF in the eighties, start to hire some big heifers? Perhaps it was the fact that they were holding on to well trained girls and these in turn due to good living became too wide for the aisles of the aircraft. Parhaps it was me balooning out? Asian girls are all slim and svelt like, most European (and I include British in that) are easy on the eye and can walk past without bumping you.
Because I am a big bloke I try for the aisle seat and notice this more and more. Being banged by a hip every time I take a cup or glass to my lips is not fun. I could understand if I had made some offensive comment but maybe there was a code that the girls had. "Get this bugger in row 16"?
Are you on holiday at the moment? I am looking forward to your next post.

Delete ] [ Ignore ]
you are getting into an area I don't know much about here. Like the monkeys on one island learn a trick and within weeks, without any contact whats-o-ever monkeys on neighbouring islands have learned the same trick?
Any how poofs give me the shits and I frankly don't care a rat's arse about them unless they are good mates of mine. I don't have many mates and I guess that could be the reason.

Delete ] [ Ignore ]
I understand where you are coming from and though I don't look at every site on Orble those people that write like that have either dropped in ratings or some have picked up. whenever lundyn or any of his mates has any kind of sexual encounter on my site my hit rate is up and so is the voting.
Whenever I write about or praise women on my boating site my site is in comparison inundated.
Does this mean to be successful I should just spend my time writing about women being a success?
I think one guy in particular is having sex for the first time in ages and is just mad about it and that is that. As for witing hard or soft porn I have a goal to be Australia's best erotic writer. many people still think that erotic has to be some kind of porn. No!

Delete ] [ Ignore ]
Hmm? I wonder often about people coming out. Some do it purely for the attention seeking. Maybe this is the case but I do know some fat out of fashion poofs.

Why "sucks" these days as a term? Poofs suck and girls suck. I was just on the phone to an ex girlfriend who told me that because of the way I treated her when we broke up she would never suck off another man again! shit was I supposed to be worried or what. As barely eighteen I don't want you to act as an agony aunt for a sixty year old, but I do find some modern/current/fashionable things almost out of date.
Cheers mate keep up the good work.

Delete ] [ Ignore ]

Comment by TomN
on Are you lonely on a beach?

December 12th 2006 20:39
Once you get up north in the real outback you have to realise one of the reasons why the beaches are bare is because crocs live there. An unfortunate thing in Oz that we have the odd bitey and it gets to live pretty well wherever it likes.

Delete ] [ Ignore ]

Comment by TomN
on Are you lonely on a beach?

December 12th 2006 03:37
Thanks for the comment Nina, not only does it relieve stress but it is just the best place to hide without having to get under a rock!

Delete ] [ Ignore ]

Comment by TomN
on Are you lonely on a beach?

December 12th 2006 03:34
Hi Ash, thanks for coming by. I guess you are seeing lots of quiet beaches on your current quest?

Delete ] [ Ignore ]