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Go Back   SailNet Community > General Interest > General Discussion (sailing related)
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View Poll Results: How Often Do You Use a PFD?
Always 10 17.24%
Often 16 27.59%
Somtimes 16 27.59%
Seldom 10 17.24%
Never 6 10.34%
Voters: 58. You may not vote on this poll

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  #1  
Old 01-10-2008
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PFD Use it or...

With the story about Mr. Martins, and all the other stories we hear, I have been thinking about safety, and specifically about PFDs and tethers. In the last few years I have gotten back into sailing, after not having set foot in a boat for quite a while. Of the nice people who have taken me out, not one, ever, wore a PFD. When I asked about it they were quick to offer me a giant orange thing from the cockpit locker, and reassure me that everything was going to be fine. I always declined the offer, and everything was, of course, fine.

These boats ranged from 26' to 46', and the skippers ranged from a young couple with about a year sailing, to an very experienced blue water captain. The sailing area was coastal RI.

I bought a 26' boat which I am keeping about 5 minutes from work, and I'm planning to get a lot of sailing in this summer, much of it will probably be done solo. Originally I planned on only wearing a PFD only when conditions warranted.

It seems to me now that the only prudent thing to do is always wear a PFD, and to tether whenever alone, period. Which raises some questions.

Why is the use of a PFD so universally un-cool?
Are the odds so ridiculously low that I'm just being paranoid?
Why do so many of us sneer at people who wear them?

I asked a skipper I used to respect about this and he went of on a profanity laced rant about people who wear " those damned things". On more than one occasion I have been around sailors making fun of someone because they are decked out like they're "sailing into a hurricane", when all they had on was a PFD.

Just for the record, this IS NOT a request or even a suggestion that PFD use be made mandatory, I am just interested in the groups thoughts on why their use is so actively discouraged.
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Old 01-10-2008
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I always wear an auto inflating PFD when solo and will tie into jacklines now that I have a boat set up with them. When not alone we wear them anytime the wind is up over about 15k. I take mine off when tied up at the dock and I don't wear it ashore, which is definitely uncool IMHO :-)).

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Old 01-10-2008
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I sail club boats, and it is required to wear one. If I was on someone elses boat would I, probably so. Kinda gotten into the habit like a seat belt
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Old 01-10-2008
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Like JRD, when I'm sailing solo, I always wear a PFD, harness and tether.

On my boat, when sailing with crew, it depends more on the conditions than anything else—a lot of this is due to having a boat that sails relatively flat and is 18' wide. When sailing on a monohull, if it is fairly windy, I'll wear a PFD.
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Old 01-10-2008
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My dad told me to wear one when I was 4-6 in our power boat. Step dad had me in a PFD when he taught me to sail at 11. Boy scouts on 50 mile canoe trips, you wore one. I wore one in the 8' pram on lk washington, and the 12' I built. Canoes, kayaks etc always wore one. Only time on a boat I do not, but am looking where they are, is the state ferry system. Otherwise, I personally feel naked without one.

I do admit tho. while docked working on the boat, I do not, but when moving etc, I have one on!

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Old 01-10-2008
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I think for the most part - it is guided by whom is skippering. For instance, in PNW - summertime - if the wind is less than 4 kts, it is slow going...I don't wear one - nor require anyone to; HOWEVER - prior to set sail, everyone is instructed where they are. Usually 3 in the cockpit, and 3 hanging readily available in the saloon.

Night time, regattas, and strong winds - I have them on and instruct everyone to don them as well. If it is really hectic - then I send everyone down below anyways as I will be in survival gear... and one person is instructed to be standby....(meaning gear on or within a moments reach)...

I may be more anal than most - as I have had to do the whole man overboard deal in less than optimum conditions. But, prior to even departing everyone is given a safety briefing...Out of three other boats the last year I have been on - not a single one ever denoted where safety gear was to begin with...

It all begins with the skipper - as ironically, no matter how skilled you are in sailing - everyone looks at the skipper for direction and expects that - and the skipper should command that...

IMHO
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Old 01-10-2008
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At night, PFDs, harnesses and tethers are required if you're on deck or in the cockpit.
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Old 01-10-2008
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I always wear a PFD when I'm away from my slip either solo, with spouse or company. My wife always wears hers to. I encourage company to wear PFD's but I do not require them unless at night. The sailing school I went to required them always even on the dock and I just got used to wearing it. I will be installing new jacklines and using a teather withing the week. Personally, I don't give a rip of what anybody else thinks about me wearing my PFD.
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Old 01-11-2008
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Depends on the boat and conditions. I wouldn’t walk around the QE2 with one on, but would always have it on when dingy sailing. Same goes with the weather conditions and if it’s day or night.

But we do stay on the conservative side and put them on when the wind starts to increase or vision conditions start to decrease.

Always when single handling or alone on deck along with tether.
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Old 01-11-2008
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When my boat is moving everyone has a CO2 inflating jacket on. They are hardly noticeable and completely comfortable so why not. One statistic said 70% of boat accident were from MOB and 90% of those were not wearing a floatation device..do people think they will choose where and when they will go over...would be an interesting question to those who arent around to answer...put it on...the alternative is for others to try explain to your spouse, children and other loved ones why you were convinced it would never happen to you.
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