All is Lost, Robert Redford’s movie or how to save your life on a boat

How would everything have happened if the skipper (the actor Robert Redford) had taken the best-in-breed measures to avoid the problems he found himself drawn into

I have just watched All is Lost (2013), the latest film from Robert Redford.

It is amazing how a simple accident that really could happen to anybody while sailing, can turn into a dreadful experience. In this case, the context was harder since the sailor Robert Redford was during a solo (singlehanded) navigation. But I believe that the initial problem, crashing with a floating container lost in the middle of the sea, is something that can happen also with a crew, but under low visibility conditions such as night navigation or under a storm.

All is Lost - 203 movie by Robert Redford

All is Lost, movie about a sailor that breaks into a container and has to fight for survival

What strikes me most is how vulnerable this sailor is when the little accident takes place. The radio stops working, and you wonder if there is no simple solution to it like carrying a simple handy vhf radio that is water resistant. Well, everything should be water resistant in a Yacht, shouldn’t it.

Also, I don’t understand why he is not carrying a Distress RadioBeacon. This is a very simple piece of equipment that as soon as taken out of its craddle, it will start transmitting. In many countries, this is a compulsory equipment for the yacht that is in open seas.

Emergency Position-Indicating Radio Beacon

Distress Radio Beacon – Emergency Position-Indicating Radio Beacon

They are making a very little favour to those people who are navigating seriously. I mean, after watching this movie, somebody who is not knowledgeable or experienced in the matter could think that sailing is an extremely risky activity to undertake. And it is not true. It is risky, but not that risky. Moreover when you are taking the measures to minimize risk, and when you are equipped to face these types of situations, they should have an easy solution.

Equipment I recommend to the All is Lost captain:

- Handy VHF radio
- Distress Radio Beacon
- AIS transmitter and AIS Beacon

Also, next time, please do notify your friends and family about your plans, if you spend 8 days in open seas they would search for you. You can use a GPS satellite tracking solution such as AtPosition to let the people know the position of your yacht, or even Spot.

Even the first problem of the collision with the container could be solved with a navigation radar system programmed with an alarm while the sailor is sleeping.