do you always wear life jacket/PFD - SailNet Community

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  #1  
Old 09-20-2009
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do you always wear life jacket/PFD

apologies if this has been posted previously, I could not find it.

how many people always wear their PFDs?

in my unscientific survey in the relatively cold waters up here, it is maybe 1 in 20. In two charters in the carribean i doubt if i observed 1 in 100.

we have a rule, underway and on deck means PFD goes on.

I don't know how many times i've read the same tragic news story about a recreational boater or fisherman/commercial boater going MOB with people around/in the boat and dying. the latest came from my former home town today:

Search expands for man who fell overboard in Halifax

also Bob Gainey's daughter, one of the more public and tragic incidents in the past few years:
Search ongoing for Bob Gainey's daughter lost at sea - The Globe and Mail

there were seemingly countless incidents over the last few summers, all very upsetting and most seemingly preventable.

RMS Titantic excepted (which was pre-SOLAS for lifeboat requirements anyway), maybe once or twice only, if that, have i ever heard of an accident so leisurely that people could say "my, my .. we seem to be in a spot of trouble, lets all have a cup of tea and put our lifejackets on ... yes, do lets ...". Yes, when there's a fire or water is being taken on the coast giuard tell sthe crew to put on their PFDs, but frankly in all of those cases i have heard of, the boat either has a tender or help is immediately on the way.

its well known by most here, i am sure, that most deaths happen in good weather, suddenly, near shore or off of a crewed boat (Canadian Coastguard reference available). in my hyperbolic opinion, especially given the low profile of the self inflating pfd's, if you're not going to wear the PFD, you seriously might as well leave it at home and give yourself some more storage area for beer.

Last edited by ArgleBargle; 09-20-2009 at 02:59 PM.
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Old 09-20-2009
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The wife and I have Mustang auto-inflatables...if we're underway we have them on. We also use a tether if going forward out of the cockpit.
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Old 09-20-2009
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My two sailing pals and I with a combined total of over 100-years of sailing, much of it spent sailing offshore, never wear PFD's - we wear Lycress three strap harnesses with two tethers (so you can move from one attachment point to the next without being disconnectd from the boat) and our Type One PFD's stay with the abandon ship bag, ready to put on and step into the life raft as the boat sinks.
We have been through two Force 10 storms - still only harnesses. Why harnesses? Because, when you're in 50-60 knot winds and 30-foot seas, if you get separated from the boat, you're gone. Hundreds miles from land, even a Type One PFD isn't going to do much for you, when the boat can't get back to you.
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Last edited by johnshasteen; 09-20-2009 at 03:25 PM.
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Old 09-20-2009
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Quote:
Originally Posted by johnshasteen View Post
My two sailing pals and I with a combined total of over 100-years of sailing, much of it spent sailing offshore, never wear PFD's - we wear Lycress three strap harnesses with two tethers (so you can move from one attachment point to the next without being disconnectd from the boat) and our Type One PFD's stay with the abandon ship bag, ready to put on and step into the life raft as the boat sinks.
We have been through two Force 10 storms - still only harnesses. Why harnesses? Because, when you're in 50-60 knot winds and 30-foot seas, if you get separated from the boat, you're gone. Hundreds miles from land, even a Type One PFD isn't going to do much for you, when the boat can't get back to you.
i appreciate your experience and opinion, but the vast majority of boaters' typical outings are not offshore in 60 kt winds and 30 ft seas.

Last edited by ArgleBargle; 09-20-2009 at 04:12 PM. Reason: typo
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Old 09-20-2009
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No, I don't usually. When I expect bad weather, things start to go sideways, or something unusual is going on, I put on the inflatable/harness. Most of my sailing is coastal /day sailing. Maybe I am tempting fate, but I don't wear a helmet when I ride my bicycle either.

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Old 09-20-2009
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I agree with johnshasteen

Yep, stay with the boat unless she is going down. i do the same thing when alone out there. If I get seperated from the boat the life vest will only prolong the ininvenable, and what about my dog, she will die without me and alone also. When I am bay sailing I still clip in when going forward, just in case, the water is cold and I don't want to have to wait till she goes in irons till I can catch up to her
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Old 09-20-2009
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bluwateronly View Post
Yep, stay with the boat unless she is going down. i do the same thing when alone out there. If I get seperated from the boat the life vest will only prolong the ininvenable, and what about my dog, she will die without me and alone also. When I am bay sailing I still clip in when going forward, just in case, the water is cold and I don't want to have to wait till she goes in irons till I can catch up to her

what if you're knocked off of the boat and unconscious by the boom 200 feet from shore?
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Old 09-20-2009
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I use inflatable PFD's with harnesses. Here are my rules:

1. If you are more comfortable in any situation, where it and tie off. Being more safe is always a good option.

2. When I singlehand, I always where the PFD/harness and tie off when leaving the cockpit.

3. In protected waters (Galveston Bay) it is optional unless I say so (heavy weather or traffic).

4. In unprotected waters (Gulf of Mexico), always tie off if out of cockpit and always in PFD/harness when in the cockpit between sundown and sunset.

5. All of these rules are subject to change slightly based on the conditions, the experience of the crew, and good judgement.

This seems to work well for me, I always feel comfortable and the inflatable PFDs on the market today are fairly comfortable, so not really much of a hassle.
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Old 09-20-2009
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One more thought. Johnshasteen makes a very good point: staying attached to the boat has to be the highest priority. The PFD is only needed if you are seperated from the boat, and by that time you are too far into trouble. Don't get that far, stay attached.
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Old 09-20-2009
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ArgleBargle View Post
what if you're knocked off of the boat and unconscious by the boom 200 feet from shore?
I do agree that if the majority of your sailing consists of puttering around in lakes and bays, then life is different.
On Paloma, the boom is above the bimini and the tacking lines lead to the cockpit, not likely to get hit by the boom. On long slogs offshore with no tacks, we vang the boom off. And, if you are harnessed to the boat, getting knocked out by anything - you may dangle by your harness and bruise your ribs and wake up with a headache, but that's about it.
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