Lifelines: Bare Wire vs. Vinyl Coated Debate - SailNet Community

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  #1  
Old 12-22-2008
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Lifelines: Bare Wire vs. Vinyl Coated Debate

I know that lifelines have been covered in some detail in other threads, but my question has a twist.

I am replacing the lifelines on VICTORIA with Suncor kits. I like vinly coated because it's easer on the hands and other body parts. It's also provides a bit better grip due to its somewhat thicker dimension and because vinyl isn't as slippery as wire when wet. On the other hand, the consensus seems to be that wire is the way to go because water isn't trapped. That's a big consideration for me because I'd prefer to stay on the boat until I reach the dock.

My job takes me to sea on Naval vessels and I recently noticed that the U.S. and Japanese (JS Chokai) use vinyl coated wire. On Chokai, they use what appears to be a rubberized shrinkwarp over joint where the wire ends and the fittings begin. I assume that this is to keep out water. Certainly these vessels encounter enough salt water and that they have no problem with vinyl. In 30 years around these ships, I don't ever recall seeing lifelines replaced (not that I was really looking). Of course a caveat is that the general rule at sea is that you NEVER lean on lifelines, even pierside.........

Thoughts? Debate? I know that this is an arcane topic, but I'm sure that someone will take the bait
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Old 12-22-2008
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Use coated, I'd rather trap water then snag a stray stand, besides, by the time the SS wire is eroded by traped water, it will be time to change them out anywho

I used 1/4" amsteel on my last boat and will most likely go that route again
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Old 12-23-2008
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bare wire is safer and lasts longer, swaging professionally done leaves no gap for water to enter. If you're doing it yourself to save money I'd save money somewhere else...Are you going to build your own EPIRB? Don't skimp on safety. Buy cheaper cushions or dishes.
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Old 12-23-2008
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Down with lifelines! Up with awareness!
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Old 12-23-2008
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oh hell, Lifelines are to safety what Berry Manilow is to Rock n Roll
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Old 12-23-2008
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I read the title as barbed wire. Was thinking that would make people watch where they were walking on a boat!
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Old 12-23-2008
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It would look nicer

Quote:
Originally Posted by tager View Post
Down with lifelines! Up with awareness!
I imagine the boat would look a lot nicer without lifelines. But I'm certain I wouldn't appreciate the location of the viewing area...gulp
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Old 12-23-2008
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ecsimonson View Post
I read the title as barbed wire. Was thinking that would make people watch where they were walking on a boat!
Ouch!! Definitely no barbed wire -- which should only be used for halyards and sheets!

I prefer the coated for the same comfort reasons mentioned in the OP. I'm fine with the trade-off off, i.e. more frequent replacement interval.

The shrink-wrap is an interesting twist. Most of the problems I've seen in lifelines (aside from meathooks on bare wire) amounted to corrosion at or near the swage/coating gap. Maybe the Navies are on to something?
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Old 12-23-2008
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Although the standards require 600kg holding power for life lines, both plastic coated and noncoated wires easily are above the limit. I would prefer using noncoated wire as thick as the coated one. This will have nearly the feeling with the coated one. Coated ones are not water proof. Water entering from the tips can be more dangerious than water through the wire. The water from the tips will not evaporate therefore cause more damage to the wire. Because the wire in a plastic skin will be less in diameter than a wire uncovered with the same outer thickness, the possibility of breaking due to rust will be more.

Plastic covers are also affected from the sun and they crack.
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Old 12-23-2008
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Quote:
Originally Posted by poopdeckpappy View Post
I used 1/4" amsteel on my last boat and will most likely go that route again
Bingo, cheaper, lighter, no need for fittings, easier to install and replace.
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