With the forces distributed properly across a harness, rather than on a make shift restraint, like a 1/2" wide hem of your shorts or the cuff of a cotton glove, you would be surprised at how much force and how violent a fall you can survive, provided the anchor points hold you. I’ve been out rock climbing and fallen 20-30' only to be caught up by my harness and gotten out of it with little more that some sore muscles and some bruising where the harness was.
Most harnesses will spread the force out over a fairly large area of your body. Be aware that some harness/PFD combinations are not meant for all people to use. The ones commonly found at West Marine, like their 4000 series aren't for use by people shorter than 5' 8" or so.
While water skiing this past June I slipped into my ski while sitting in on the gunnel..spun around and bailed off...The 1/2 hem of my nylon shorts hung up on the recessed cleat of my boat...so there I was face down in the water all 200 lbs of me and a ski and a wet vest...The shock load was only about 8" but three strong guys could not free it or finish ripping it without really putting a bind on my leg...it had to eventually be cut destroying my shorts...we wount talk about my pride...I still have a hint of whats left of the bruising to the inside of my thigh almost two months later..
Every once in a while I will jump out of one of my excavators with a cotton gloved hand getting hooked on the vandalism prevention package clips welded to the door frame...I look like and feel like a side of beef hanging in a locker..Hurts like heck and wrenches my whole body at arms length..
If I survived the forces necessary to break even the poorest made tether system out of 1" double/tube webbing I wont be in any shape to assist myself let alone any other and most likely will be dead.
I use to climb and teach climbing...Other then the actual harness we never bought any other gear we sewed all our own...including aid sturrips..The ebay one or home made ones will suit me and the ones I care for most in the world just fine.
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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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