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  #11  
Old 08-16-2011
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Quote:
Originally Posted by patrickbryant View Post
Am I missing something, or are the sailing harnesses intended to keep you on board your boat idiotic?

All the harnesses I've seen are missing either leg straps or shoulder straps. I wonder how many people who wear them have ever actually been suspended in the air in one - and overcome the pain-induced instinct to immediately try to escape from it?

It appears to me that the ones without leg straps would either cause you to fall out of the harness, or worse, to ride up to your diaphragm and smother you, boa constrictor style. At best, a really violent shaking would leave you with a ruptured spleen. I had one sales guy explain to me that: "there are metal loops that you are supposed to connect to your belt." Wow, imagine hanging from a line with that arrangement -- I wonder if anyone's ever gotten a fatal wedgie!

The ones without shoulder straps will certainly dump you out if you're flipped inverted (a likely occurrence if you trip backward over those useless knee-high life lines on most boats).

I read the report on the Fastnet 1979 race, and I wasn't surprised to read that they found empty "safety" harnesses slapping against the sides of boats.

Finally, there's the issue of releasing yourself. None of the designs make that look very easy. And there are times when I can imagine needing to do that quickly - particularly if I have gotten myself entangled in a line under tension.

So here's what I've done: I took my skydiving harness that has brought me to a near stop 500 times from a 120 MPH vertical descent (I probably won't fall any faster than that from my boat), I attached my tether to the "three ring release system" on the harness so all I have to do is pull one handle and I'm freed from the tether, and the webbing crossing my back is covered to prevent it from hanging up on the shrouds as I pass by them. The harness is padded and I can hang comfortably from it for several minutes at a time (which I've done 500 times already). The FAA inspected and approved the design to withstand many Gs of a 200 pound subject's deceleration (I don't see any inspection labels on the sailing harnesses...). The whole thing cost less than the dumb stuff they sell at the marine stores.

But again, am I missing something? Please don't tell me: "we've always done it that way," because people have been falling overboard and drowning for a long time, and I don't see anything good about that.
Good one, Patrickbryant.

I have been thinking using a separate harness instead of the one built-in from the life vest. I have all the intention to use a helmet also. I will look like a nerve, but so what.
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  #12  
Old 08-16-2011
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I've never considered a parachutist's harness. We use rock climber's harnesses to teather on board, when heading up to the bow, for some of the same reasons as you originally posted. In addition, we were surprised that they were less expensive than the less suitable marine harnesses we were looking at. Take care and joy, Aythya crew
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  #13  
Old 08-16-2011
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Quote:
Originally Posted by zz4gta View Post
Can a standard inflatable PFD with harness be retrofitted with a crotch strap? If so, has anyone here done it?
Sorry, I value my, um.... Clearly, most of the folks who suggest that have never been rock climbing. Unless the strap is secure to one thigh a ruptured testicle is not unheard of. No joking.

Climbers used chest-only harness for years, back in the golden age of hemp and hob nails. Not a good solution, and as ropes became strong enough to actually hold falls, seat harnesses became common. However, a fit person will NEVER fall out of a properly fitted chest harness.
* It must be worn high, under the arms. If it is loose, at or just above the waist, yes, strangulation is quite probable. For this reason I am NOT a fan of combined PFD/harness systems. They invariably are too low.
* It must be re-adjusted each time different clothing is worn. A climber considers this normal, but sailors do not. I have one harness for summer (fixed, no adjustment) and an adjustable harness for winter.

But, for folks who can't fit a chest harness properly, an nut crusher--I mean crotch strap--sounds like a solution. Children are inconvenient anyway.
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Old 08-16-2011
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PFD crotch straps are intended to keep an ill fitting or maladjusted vest from riding up on an unconscious or deeply hypothermic swimmer. The rationale was given in the addenda link on the reports page. Specifically, the waist strap can be too loose, or will become loose when the wet clothing underneath compresses after immersion, allowing the vest to ride up and reduce the height of the swimmer's air passage. Despite the dry language, it's a pretty grotty read all the way through.

I keep the handheld VHF clipped on my belt when I'm on deck alone at night.
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Old 08-16-2011
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Quote:
Originally Posted by MikeWhy View Post
PFD crotch straps are intended to keep an ill fitting or maladjusted vest from riding up on an unconscious or deeply hypothermic swimmer. The rationale was given in the addenda link on the reports page. Specifically, the waist strap can be too loose, or will become loose when the wet clothing underneath compresses after immersion, allowing the vest to ride up and reduce the height of the swimmer's air passage. Despite the dry language, it's a pretty grotty read all the way through.
A PFD and a harness are not at all the same thing. A PFD is unlikely to see an upward strain on the strap of even body weight. I can see the reasoning.

It's not that I am anti-strap. I see their reasoning. But I am concerned when I see ill-fitting harnesses and I hope that folks don't think a strap is a substitute for good fit. It bothers me that so many products are DESIGNED to fit low on the chest, brag that they will withstand a 6,000-pound impact, but don't point out that any significant impact low on the rib cage can be fatal.

The other problem is this; dual purpose products (harness/PFD) need to use the same body band to support the vest AND to serve as a harness, and that simply is not possible. I'm so glad they aren't in the climbing gear business.
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Old 08-16-2011
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Once in the water, you can adjust the straps and trust me, if it is a little loose, you wonít fall out of it while floating/treading water. Where you can fall out is while being pulled aboard. Am I the only one with MOB experience here? Good call on the hand held. After talking to the skipper of Heat Wave, I never pass under the Golden Gate without a personal handheld in my jacket pocket.
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Old 08-16-2011
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Coming at it from a different angle here. One thing I haven’t seen talked about here is tether length. We use two different systems in building construct. One is a fall restraint and the other is fall arrest. A fall restraint system with an adjustable lanyard allows the worker to reach the edge of an unprotected side of a building but not fall over. If the worker was to trip or have a seizure the restraint would hold him from the edge.
A Fall Arrest system is used when the work must work at the edge or beyond (Scaffolds and platforms)
I would think on a boat if you a using a tether you should be using the fall restraint method. “STAY ON THE BOAT!!!” This would mean you may have to adjust you tether for different positions to perform different functions but at no time should your tether allow fall over the edge. If your tether allows you to make it over the side it’s not working and it doesn’t matter what harness your using you will be out of it soon.

Rule for fall arrest state that you should only fall a max of 3 ft free fall and you must have a shock absorbing lanyard on. Anything more than that and you are looking at injuries.
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Old 08-16-2011
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Quote:
Originally Posted by GeorgeB View Post
Once in the water, you can adjust the straps and trust me, if it is a little loose, you wonít fall out of it while floating/treading water. Where you can fall out is while being pulled aboard. Am I the only one with MOB experience here? Good call on the hand held. After talking to the skipper of Heat Wave, I never pass under the Golden Gate without a personal handheld in my jacket pocket.
The comical thing, when swimmers are lifted from the water with a harness or sling, is that they always reach over their heads and grab the rope. THAT is why the harness can come off. There is no purpose in holding the rope. I'm forever pointing out to new climbers that gripping the rope is a hazard, for other reasons as well.

But even so, a properly fitted harness cannot go over the head. If so, it is too lose, unless the wearer is quite corpulent. With foul weather gear this we're all corpulent and fitting is more complicated and less comfortable; that is when a strap makes sense; depends on the sailor and the gear.

________________________________________
Yes, I have been a part of MOB drills and have been hoisted from the water several different ways (harness and Lifesling). No problems, but I will tell you the life sling was more comfortable and the harness left a bruise. Yes, I have spent thousands of hours roped up in the mountains.
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  #19  
Old 08-17-2011
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Quote:
Originally Posted by GeorgeB View Post
Once in the water, you can adjust the straps and trust me, if it is a little loose, you wonít fall out of it while floating/treading water. Where you can fall out is while being pulled aboard. Am I the only one with MOB experience here? Good call on the hand held. After talking to the skipper of Heat Wave, I never pass under the Golden Gate without a personal handheld in my jacket pocket.
I just bought the Horizon HX851 VHF handheld that has built in GPS with DSC. If I go overboard I can activate DSC and it will automatically send emergency signal with Long and Lad. The unit displays long and lad so you can use it as a backup to GPS- if you have some paper charts. Cost was about $250. The unit floats, has a strobe light, it glows in the dark, and is small enough to fit in a pocket. This with a small PLB in the other pocket I might be in good shape if I go over the side.
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Old 08-17-2011
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Quote:
Originally Posted by patrickbryant View Post

My point is that the harness should support more than your entire weight - from any angle of suspension/deceleration - without dumping you out or seriously injuring you. You only have to fall a tiny distance to impart a 2G force on the harness and you.
A great goal, and it's good to rethink and redesign, especially if if makes a better product. It's a good discussion to have. The deceleration is an issue for the tether though, not the harness. We use one's that are designed to elongate under shock load that have a quick release shackle instead of a carabiner type release at the harness attachment rings.
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