A lot of safety discussions usually include talk of clipping in. I bough my inflateable PFD with an integrated harness so when necessary I could clip in.
My questions though:
1) I don't yet have a harness, can someone recommend one that is a good value. I see the wichard one's, are those the way to go? Who do some have three hooks? One to me, one to the boat, and one to ____, or is it just when you're switching
Get ISAF approved tethers, since they have some features that won't be on non-approved tethers, like colored strain indicators. The two leg tethers are s you can stay clipped in when moving about the boat. The shorter leg is often useful when working at the mast or cockpit, and range of motion isn't an issue.
2) Do you clip into the lifelines that go around the boat? Are they really strong enough to hold a person's body weight?
NO, NEVER CLIP TO LIFELINES. Tethers should be clipped to hardpoints, like padeyes, or to jacklines, which are usually webbing, that run fore-and-aft along each side of the boat.
3) Do you switch which side of the boat you get clipped into through different maneuvers?
Generally, you stay clipped to the high side of the boat, so that you don't fall across the boat or off the high side.
4) if you go overboard wearing the harness, does the boat just drag you, do you pull yourself back up? What to do? Can you unclip yourself with tension on it?
ISAF approved tethers have one or two clips that are dual-action, like the Gibb or Wichard clips, that will not release accidentally. These clips are for the boat side of the tether. The body side of the tether is a snap shackle. This is so that you can release the tether under load... like if the boat capsizes. DO NOT BUY a tether that does not have dual-action clips for the boat side and a snap shackle at the harness side.
5) Anything I should know?
The ones that have the shock cord running through the webbing are a bit nicer, since it helps keep you from tripping over the tether legs.