You don't want to use a climbing harness for a safety harness on a sailboat. A climbing harness fastens around your lower torso, and if you fell overboard, would drag you face down in the water and drown you very quickly. A sailing harness is designed to attach a bit above your center of gravity, so that you will get dragged head up, and hopefully not drown in the process.
A climbing harness makes sense for use as a "bosun's chair" replacement... but not as a sailing harness replacement.
All of the safety gear on my boat, PFDs, Flares, etc are SOLAS grade. The price difference between SOLAS grade equipment and USCG grade equipment is fairly low, and the performance difference is huge.
Originally Posted by Valiente
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.
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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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