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Safety and Geocaching?


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When and how do you determine if a cache isn’t worth the risk?

I was driving the other day and noticed a cache on my gps so I thought I’d check it out.

I pulled into the area blind and clueless. It didn’t take long to figure out this empty field did not hold a cache. When I got home I looked it up and it was a night time only cache. You would go to the cords and look for a light in the distance and make your way to it in the dark. Some of the logs mentioned the “ladder was very shaky” or they were “not sure what the local laws were”….

From my knowledge of the area I would guess the cache is on top of a land based U.S.C.G. navigation beacon along the banks of the Mississippi river.

 

Is this cool, crazy or what?

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No matter what the cache, if it doesn't feel right walk away.

You need to use your own best judgment to decide if the hazard you are facing is worth it to you. No one, even the cache owner, is responsible for looking out for your safety.

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If this is placed as you suspect, it's unlawful. The US Code relating to this issue is clear:

 

TITLE 14--COAST GUARD

PART I--REGULAR COAST GUARD

CHAPTER 5--FUNCTIONS AND POWERS

Sec. 84. Interference with aids to navigation; penalty

 

It shall be unlawful for any person, or public body, or

instrumentality, excluding the armed forces, to remove, change the

location of, obstruct, wilfully damage, make fast to, or interfere with

any aid to navigation established, installed, operated, or maintained by

the Coast Guard pursuant to section 81 of this title, or with any aid to

navigation lawfully maintained under authority granted by the Coast

Guard pursuant to section 83 of this title, or to anchor any vessel in

any of the navigable waters of the United States so as to obstruct or

interfere with range lights maintained therein. Whoever violates the

provisions of this section shall be guilty of a misdemeanor and shall be

fined not more than $500 for each offense. Each day during which such

violation shall continue shall be considered as a new offense.

 

That's the original 1949 text; subsequent revisions have raised the penalty. Any interference with a navaid can put human life at risk, and make possible a shipwreck; you have no idea how simply climbing on the structure can alter its intended orientation/operation. If placed as suspected, this cache is a potential black eye for geocaching, puts more than just cachers at risk (on a shaky ladder...), and should be archived/removed immediately. And, in the oft-touted 'post 9/11' world, do you really want to endure the delights of being interrogated at length about why you were monkeying around on a navaid in a major waterway?

 

As an Alaskan and a boat owner/operator, I'm sensitized to this issue. We have the highest regard for the USCG's efforts to make navigation safe (and their heroism in going out to save boaters in all sorts of conditions...). Maritime accidents are a weekly news item here in Alaska, sometimes with huge consequences attached. Please don't involve geocaching with placements or activities anywhere near a navaid - that's bad for public safety & the game's 'image' with a major federal law enforcement agency.

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Thanks All,

I wasn't so concerned with the loaction as I was with the access to it.

Climbing ladders & such just apears to be out of the norm to me.

Also, with the Mississippi at record flood stage this week and rising this thing might not be on land anymore? I would hate for some poor cached to stumble off into the river at night.

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No matter what the cache, if it doesn't feel right walk away.

You need to use your own best judgment to decide if the hazard you are facing is worth it to you. No one, even the cache owner, is responsible for looking out for your safety.

 

Agreed; even after just 31 finds, I've gotten into some rather unsafe predicaments. Like one in Florida where the trail was crawling with fire ants and wasps (plus a black snake or two); the cache owner sure didn't mention this <_< I was more than happy to DNF this one :laughing:

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When and how do you determine if a cache isn’t worth the risk?...

You start by READING the Cache Page. Read it off a PDA in the field if necessary.

... I pulled into the area blind and clueless. ...

Then you are your own worst enemy.

I agree 1,000 percent with Cardinal Red's comments. Further notes follow:

 

If the cache find does involve climbing a rickety ladder, then the terrain rating should be 4.0 or higher. If the cache does turn out to be located on a USGS structure, I would say that this is likely totally illegal unless explicit approval has been garnered. Worse, there is a high probability that any law enforcement officer who saw someone climbing the structure would likely assume that they were vandals, and worse, that they were vandalizing a critical USGS navigational aid, and thus a cache seeker could really face some serious criminal charges if found climbing on or in the structure.

 

Even though I always read the cache listing page thoroughly prior to seeking a cache, I still rely totally upon my inner gut sense and "radar" once I arrive at the cache hide site, and if something does not feel right in terms of safety or potential legal issues (i.e., such as trespassing possibilities), I walk away.

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Florida - creepy crawlies & black snakes - your kidding me - how could that be - The cache owner probably didn't notice em as that is pretty typical of Florida if you venture off the sidewalk - you might as well skip caching here then.

 

Sorry I'm a native and well I hear this stuff all the time - ewe bugs - we are subtropical, we have bugs, lots of em. We have snakes and big ole alligators (just large lizards actually) too.

 

I love tromping in the swamps and woods - but that isn't for every body that's why we put out LPH & Virtuals in Disney for our visitors.

 

Seriously, I'm just pulling your leg - it's not that bad, yes we have some bugs and stuff - it just depends on the type of caching you like - if you don't go for that sort of stuff - don't do those types of caches.

 

I suspect this is true everywhere.

 

The more I read the more I find that paperless caching defeats the purpose of having a cache page in the first place.

 

I can't speak for other cachers - but I spend a good amount of time on the cache page to insure safe, legal & fun caching experience. I try to do more than just stick a film canister under a lamp skirt - I try to bring you someplace you might not otherwise venture or see something worth the trouble to get there. When I read stuff like this it makes me wonder why I waste my time.

 

Perhaps I'm going about it all wrong... I'm a newbie what do I know.

 

BTW I really don't place swamp hides I just like doing them... Okay so one is kinda swampy but it's in a really cool park (not released yet - coming very soon)...

 

Vince (of the Flatouts)

Cache On!

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I found myself climbing a cliff this weekend for a cache, simply because I forgot the log page. But, I knew I wasnt in over my head, even though I spent the better part of 1/2 hour looking for it. but, I blame no one but myself; I had read the log previously, and dismissed it on my cache run this weekend, as it was 4.5. But, it was within 200 meters of another one I found, and couldnt resist. Doubtful this would have been attempted if I hadnt had previous climbing experience, or wasnt fit enough to attempt.

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The more I read the more I find that paperless caching defeats the purpose of having a cache page in the first place.

 

I am not sure you quite have the idea on paperless caching. Those of us who go paperless have the cache page with us. It is on our pda. What we don't have is bunches of printed paper pages. This differs from just not being prepared.

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gof1 is correct in that nothing is better than being prepared.

That is why I didn't go after this one in the first place.

I went home and checked the page first and saw it was a night only cache.

 

I wasn't commenting on you personally, just trying to clarify what paperless is all about.

Sorry if it seemed otherwise.

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When and how do you determine if a cache isn’t worth the risk?...

 

The same way you make that call for everything else you do in your life. Caches are located in the real world, and we make life or death, or at least comfort level decisions every day in that same world.

 

If you are getting that uneasy feeling, time to move on to another cache. Simple as that. There are plenty enough caches out there to where any one isn't a great loss.

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Whether it is safe enough to go after any specific cache is a personal decision that varies continually. Each cacher must weigh the risks for himself.

 

I also second the opinion that you are jumping to conclusions that the cache is on a nav beacon.

 

Not a problem, just a comment.

We are trying to go paperless but I didn't have my act together that day.

We normally travel with a laptop and a USB Air Card.

 

As for whether or not it is on the nav beacon I don't know yet, all I know is the log mentions a

"Green Lantern"

 

thanks

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Whether it is safe enough to go after any specific cache is a personal decision that varies continually. Each cacher must weigh the risks for himself.

 

I also second the opinion that you are jumping to conclusions that the cache is on a nav beacon.

 

Not a problem, just a comment.

We are trying to go paperless but I didn't have my act together that day.

We normally travel with a laptop and a USB Air Card.

 

As for whether or not it is on the nav beacon I don't know yet, all I know is the log mentions a

"Green Lantern"

 

thanks

You're going to need one of these:

green-corps.jpg

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Deciding if a cache is too dangerous or not, is a relflection of your own judgement not that of the hider. If you don't feel safe, find a different cache and log a DNF with your reasons. I do beleive if the cache description doesn't say it is dangerous - either an agreement in the logs or a debate will take place over that subject. I am willing to tell others in the logs about danger - even if its just PI. I have turned caches down because of briars, Loose terrain, PI, unstable structures, or because my gut said No!. I also have done stuff I would not recommend to anyone, like 4 inch ledges 40 feet above ground, Rusty tower climbs, crawling in a hole head first, tree climbs, crossing streams on down trees, trusting an old rope to go a rock incline. It is up to you, if you mess up it is your fault, because you decided to do it. Let your gut be your guide.

 

"Surely he wouldn't send someone in here if it is not safe" . That kinda thinking will get you hurt! Use your judgement unless your friends tell you, you don't have any! Ha! Ha! In which case, stay with someone you trust and ask often!

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