Immersion Suit

There is one piece of safety equipment which is not required to be carried on board by Chilean regulations but which nevertheless is extremely useful in an emergency: an immersion suit.

Most of Chile is bathed by the cold Humbold current. The Humbold current is not extremely cold, because it first goes due east at latitudes of around 45 south for several thousand of miles and is not exposed to extreme antartic temperatures. Usually its temperature is around 10 degrees C when it reaches the Chilean cost. There it splits into two branches, the main going north and warming up slowly to around 12 degrees in Puerto Montt latitudes and 14 degrees in La Serena (30 South latitude), and the southern one goes around Cape Horn. All this means that the water temperatures are very stable for an enormous stretch of land: 12 degrees C +- 3 degrees for more than 2000 miles of shore line. And survival times in 12 C water are around 2 hours, and you become inoperative in less than 1 hour.

So, in an emergency, a immersion suit is extremely important piece of safety equipment, much more so than a liferaft. In the end, one can stay alive for more than a day, and with luck maybe up to two days in an immersion suit in these waters!

I purchased a 5 mm. thick Chinese suit which costs less than 200 USD and I always have this good feeling knowing it is on board!