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Hands Up for the Baja Ha-Ha USCG Presentation in San Diego — Everyone’s Invited

The Baja Ha-Ha kicks off in two weeks, and preparations are in full swing for the seminars and presentations that are held in San Diego ahead of the October 31 departure.

The Poobah is calling for a show of hands from those who plan to attend USCG Search and Rescue Specialist Douglas Samp’s presentation on Saturday, October 29, at 4 p.m. at the West Marine Superstore, San Diego.

While this is a Ha-Ha event, it’s so important that the Poobah is extending an invitation to members of the CUBAR, a smaller, motor-yacht version of the Ha-Ha, as well as the general public. But it will be very helpful for us and West Marine to have a general idea of who is planning to attend.

The presentation will be moderated by the Poobah, who will ask Samp questions that pertain especially to recreational boats on the high seas. Also on hand will be Eugenie Russell, who was the skipper of the boat that was sunk by a whale in the 2009 Ha-Ha. That the entire crew was rescued in textbook fashion is a testament Eugenie’s skill, the skill of her crew, and the great skill and resources of the Coast Guard.

By the way, who was the Command Duty Officer the day of the rescue? None other than Specialist Samp, who obviously has a wealth of SAR experience.

Ha-Ha crew in cockpit
It’s always meant to be fun, and it usually is, but It’s good to know how to reach the people who can help, when help is needed.
© 2022

What questions will be addressed?

1) What is the best way to reach the Coast Guard? Satphone, VHF, SSB, email, text, EPIRB, InReach, Iridium GO!?

2) If by satphone or text, what are the best numbers?

3) What are the pros and cons of having a two-way communication device such as an InReach or Iridium GO! as opposed to a more rugged one-way device such as an EPIRB? Captain Russell will have firsthand insight on this question.

4) When does a situation qualify for needing to call the Coast Guard? I’ll give you a hint from the last SAR Ha-Ha presentation: When in doubt, always call the Coast Guard. Their resources are funded, and they are eager to help.

5) Does the Coast Guard work in conjunction with the Mexican authorities? Spoiler alert: Yes, they do. In fact, Specialist Samp was in Ensenada the other day and commented on how much Mexico has upped its SAR game recently.

And Mexico has been helpful before. About five years ago we had a serious medical emergency onboard Profligate during the Ha-Ha and contacted the US Coast Guard. Not only did they provide medical advice, they contacted the Mexican navy, which was eager to come 150 miles offshore to offload our patient. As the seas were rough and the patient was no longer suffering excruciating pain, the decision was made to meet up at Bahia Santa Maria. Before we could even get our anchor down, the patient and Doña de Mallorca were offloaded to a high-speed Mexican navy vessel and rushed to the clinic in San Carlos. It all ended well.

Obviously, the onus of safety at sea is always on the skipper and crew of any vessel. That said, it’s great to know that the world’s most capable SAR team is ready, willing and able to help. So the Poobah thinks it’s incumbent on all skippers to know about that resource and how to access it.

The Poobah hopes to see as many of you as possible at the West Marine Store at 4 p.m. on Saturday, October 29, in San Diego, and that you’ll give an indication that you might possibly be there. Please respond to [email protected].

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