Join Date: Jul 2006
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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.