Asleep at the wheel
Join Date: Sep 2011
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Re: Introducing sailing to the kids
If the kids falling overboard is the issue, then consider 3 things:
1) lifeline netting - before anyone jumps all over me, please read this carefully: I am NOT suggesting that you rely on this as the only safety device between your child and the water. Lifeline netting, like any other part of the boat, will deteriorate, chaffe, etc., so it should not be the be-all and end-all of your safety plans. But, in my opinion, what it DOES do is help slow the kid (or me) down. It's one of those things that is so inexpensive, why would you NOT put it there and hope to see some benefit from it? If you don't do that, I've seen something similar with rope strung vertically along the lifelines, but I'm always afraid that the openings will be too big for my kids that's why I went with netting.
2) Tethers - I went to REI (rock climbing/outdoor store) and purchased nylon safety webbing. It's 1" wide, and has a breaking strength of 3000+ lbs. I ran a loop of that through the back of our boys' PFD's (through the arm holes) and sewed it closed. I've tested that by hanging from the webbing and bouncing, and it didn't give way (of course, if you go this route, you should do your own research and testing), so I feel fairly confident that the webbing won't give out if they fall. With the webbing, I can now attach tethers to the handrails, jacklines, pedestal, or other inboard (i.e. near centerline) attachment points and help reduce the likelihood that they will wind up overboard.
3) Swim lessons - I used to be a swim instructor when I was younger, and we tought kids as young as 6 months. Getting your kids competent in the water will go a LONG way toward making your wife and you more comfortable.
Now, neither of the first two helps when, as in Brian's case, the kids wind up falling in the water while walking at the marina (again, that's where swim lessons helps). But at least they are helpful/comforting when under way.
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