Originally Posted by sailingdog
but my primary harness/PFD is a Spinlock Deckware Pro Harness w/ PFD. It comes stock with a harness, thigh straps, strobe, whistle, and splash hood... and is one of the easiest to adjust and easiest to put on or take off. I'd highly recommend them. However, last I checked, they are SOLAS approved, but not USCG approved..
I like the Spinlock harness as well, but I wonder if you couldn't get the same qualities in a mountaineer's climbing harness, which seems identical in construction and is manifestly strong enough. You could add the "accessories" as needed.
Secondly, just as there is a disconnect at times between the Canadian safety regs and certifications and the USCG ones, I find that in certain areas the USCG regulations (and the ABYC recommendations, in some cases) are behind those of organizations such as SOLAS. Canadian and U.S. regs are very similar, but they are bureaucratic in the sense that they require endorsements from both countries if they are expected to be considered "legitimately safe" in both countries.
Does everyone need SOLAS-grade gear? Probably not, but I find in what I've read and what I've heard from serious voyagers that the USCG standards are considered "minimums", whereas the SOLAS regs exceed these standards, sometimes by a wide margin. Lifevests, liferafts, and flares, for instance, would appear to be a few examples of where SOLAS is clearly the better standard.