Yes, staying on the boat is far better than falling and floating around... especially if you're singlehanding.
I read a discussion about safety devices one time and one very experienced cruiser was defending his opinion that the tether was more important than the PFD by saying that in the open ocean if you are single handing or even if you have crew in bad conditions, being untethered but wearing a PFD just increases the chance that you will still be alive when the sharks find you.
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You know what the first rule of sailing is? ...Love. You can learn all the math in the 'verse, but you take
a boat to the sea you don't love, she'll shake you off just as sure as the turning of the worlds. Love keeps
her going when she oughta fall down, tells you she's hurting 'fore she keens. Makes her a home.
—Cpt. Mal Reynolds, Serenity (edited)
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Still—DON'T READ THAT POST AGAIN.