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Go Back   SailNet Community > General Interest Forums > Gear & Maintenance
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  #1  
Old 08-27-2008
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Remove Lifelines?

OK, Don't blast me too bad for asking this question.

I am doing some work on my boat and am considering removing my lifelines completely. I know what function they are supposed to serve but wonder how much security they actually provide. I weigh about 220 and if I were to be knocked off balance and had to depend on a lifeline to completely hold me on board would it? I have a smaller boat and the lifelines are not all that tall so may actually help flip me over. Stanchions are through bolted and have backing plates.

If having them only provides a false sense of security removing them should not be an issue? They are not attractive, tend to get in the way and my 8 stanchions provide 32 holes through which water can get into the boat.

I don't go offshore and only do coastal cruising. I have no plans for offshore sailing with this boat. I would feel much safer installing jacklines and wearing a harness if things get rough. I know probably 95% of boats have lifelines but I have seen pictures of boats that do not. The Alerion Express in particular stands out as one.

http://www.boats.com/published/images/sm_alerion_8.jpg

If there is true safety in having them that is just not apparent to me I will keep them. Help me see the light. Has anyone removed them? Any regrets or are you happy? Has anyone been saved from going overboard by lifelines?
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Old 08-27-2008
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I'm in the same boat (pun intended)

My boat would look way better without lifelines. My old ones were corroded vinyl covered and I debated removing them instead of replacing them. I ultimately replaced them with plain ss. It would have been a lot of effort to remove the stancions and do the cosmetic repairs to the holes. Around here racing rules require that you have them. Having something to grab might help you from going overboard if things get rough. I've had a couple of times when I was glad to have them.
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Old 08-27-2008
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I've seen more people fall overboard because they were sitting on the cockpit coaming leaning on old, faulty lifelines, than I have seen saved by them. Racing rules frequently require them, because your jib will draw much better if it sweeps the deck, so racers without them are considered to have an unfair advantage. Only a certain size child would be stopped by them; smaller ones need netting, larger ones would go over, and we who are over 6 feet tall would be tripped by lifelines on our way to the water! But they give my wife a sense of security.
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Old 08-27-2008
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lifelines

Forget about falling in the water. How about falling off the boat while it is on the hard? It's a long way down for a 30+ ft boat.

I used to remove my lifelines to make it easier to cover the boat for winter storage, but just walking around on the deck for the hour it took to replace them in the Spring gave me vertigo.
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I'd say remove them as see how it feels. Might get you to use the harness more.

With that said I have seen them keep people on board, even saw a person who went overboard manage to hang on to a lifeline long enough to be saved a dunking. I find they are handy to tie stuff to but like most people I can't say they were properly named.
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Old 08-27-2008
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I removed them to redue the topsides. I have intentions on replacing with amsteel blue high tech cordage instead of cable. Stronger and can be cut away in case of emergency. When asked when I'm going to replace stanchions and lifelines, I tell them I'll replace them last. I would like to be able to tie fenders to something other than a temp jackline though. Pics can be seen on my blog.
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Old 08-27-2008
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I'm sorry but no matter what anyone says, lifelines are still useful (providing well maintained). There has been many a time when i've stumbled (especially working the foredeck when racing) and been able to grab onto them, i've been swept across the foredeck by waves also and been brought up short of falling in by them! I know a harness does the same, but i'd rather be still on deck then being dragged through the water or dangling over the side!
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Old 08-27-2008
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Under Pounds

Me thinks that the little people and fair sex that are under said weight might like the lines......
If you do not plan on having them on board go for it.
Mark
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Old 08-27-2008
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I would never concider it.
I guess it depends on the type of boat and where you sail.
Big choppy water, dark night, and you have to go forward, I use them to hold on to before I can reach the rails or the shrouds and I am sure they would at least slow my fall and help stop me if I was going over. As a last resort, they are just something else to grab if they are ever needed.
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Old 08-27-2008
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sailortjk1 is right. The main function of lifelines is for balance a sense of security. If you don't think that is important, then lay a two by eight across a couple of cinder blocks and walk it's length. No problem. Then take the same two by eight and place it between two ladders 12 feet of the ground and take the same walk. It's a whole new ball game.
Life lines aren't made to hold a 200 plus pound guy's weight after they fall off the side of the boat. They are made to keep the guy from losing his balance and falling off in the first place.
For cruising, it would be really silly to do away with them.
For racing, I believe, as mentioned before, they are required.
For day-sailing or even walking around the decks in the slip. You are going to feel more comfortable with them in place.
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