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    Re: Dependence on GPS
    From: Tom Sult
    Date: 2009 Oct 31, 09:54 -0500

    They ia now a term "yuppie rescue". GPS, GPS tracking device, sat
    phones etc are giving people without the requisit experiance the
    boldness to try. In the rock climbing world it is the "5.11" gym
    climber who thinks he can climb the great walls of the Seirra or
    Rockies.  In back packing it is the guy who tries to cross the grand
    canyon withlittle desert experiance. In a recent artical one man
    called for assistance three time on the third he was forced to evac.
    for indangerment of the SAR team. The prior 2, after being given water
    he refused evac.
    
    Thomas A. Sult, MD
    Sent from iPhone
    
    On Oct 31, 2009, at 8:15, Apache Runner  wrote:
    
    >
    >
    > Frank makes a good  point about unnecessarily exposing oneself to
    > risk and thereby endangering possible searcher-and-rescuers.   There
    > is this notion of risk homeostasis.   Mountain climbers are often
    > accused of this.   It goes something like this:  "I got away with X
    > last time, therefore I can get away with it next time."   And then,
    > they get nailed by putting themselves in some precarious situation.
    > The flip side of the coin is someone who analyzes a past outing for
    > errors and corrects them.   I'm keenly aware of the issues of
    > putting SAR'ers in jeopardy.
    >
    > I was in close proximity to a sea kayaking tragedy.   On Columbus
    > Day weekend, 2003 (or 2004, I forget), I was kayaking in the fog off
    > of Cape Cod.   The cheapy compass I was using got jammed with sea
    > water, but I did have the good sense to wear a wetsuit - the water
    > temperature was 55 degrees F.   Two girls went out in sea kayaks at
    > exactly the same time as I was out, and they were maybe a half mile
    > from me.   I used the wind and waves as a natural compass and hand-
    > railed my way along the coast to get back home.   They got lost in
    > the fog, and there was a two day search and rescue.   Two days
    > later, they found the body of one of the girls.   The other was
    > never found.
    >
    > By next spring, I had a brand new kayak and when I was paddling, I
    > was about as tricked out as you could imagine.   Three compasses, a
    > nautical chart, a VHF transceiver, a GPS unit, flare gun, combat
    > knife (the kind SEALs use), you name it.
    >
    > Over time, I got more experience and learned that it actually is
    > important to unclutter the deck of the kayak - having lost a lot of
    > gear to waves, and also the junk gets in the way of rescues.    As
    > mentioned, I experienced two GPS failures in conditions where I
    > could've used them the most.
    >
    > My main kit now consists of a deck mounted compass, a hiker's
    > compass in my PFD, a chart if in unfamiliar waters, a flare gun and
    > flares, water, back-up food and protable VHF transceiver.   For
    > longer trips, there's the usual camping gear, and I probably throw a
    > GPS in a dry bag, but mainly as an afterthought.  In the fog, I'll
    > bring a portable fog-horn.
    >
    > I've participated in six or seven rescues over the past five years,
    > including 3 cases of helping motor-boaters who were lost in the fog
    > and even had GPS'es.  Of course, they also had a few cases of beer.
    >
    > The main gripe about GPS'es for me is in the vein of the Charlie
    > Brown comic story about Lucy and the Football.   Lucy convinces
    > Charlie Brown, against all experience, to once again charge and try
    > to kick the football, and she yanks it away as usual.   Last year, I
    > found myself again shelling out $200 for a spiffy GPS unit.  Now my
    > third -  thinking to myself "you're throwing away money...".
    >
    > This fall I'd given my students an exercise to walk from the chapel
    > of the college to a tall building about a mile away and try to
    > estimate the height of the steeple using the distance walked and the
    > angular height.   I wanted to check the accuracy of my dead
    > reckoning and brought out the $200 GPS unit to the college yard, and
    > lo-and-behold - no signal.    Lucy pulled the football away again.
    >
    > There is a definite sympathy to the issue of exposing would be
    > rescuers to unnecessary danger by taking imprudent risks, but my own
    > experience is that the GPS receivers end up being costly unneeded
    > baggage.   This is not a Luddite statement, I will certainly carry a
    > VHF any time I'm out on a kayak, but my experience is that these
    > tend to be more reliable and a much more valuable piece of equipment
    > than a GPS unit in terms of safety.
    >
    >
    >
    > >
    
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