This point is well deserved and I thank you much for touching upon it.
Let's face it, those knee high lifelines are only there to pass standards. Those are the MINIMUM standards required to sell a boat. Look at the thing! All they can really do for full grown adult who is heaved against one is insure some reasonable bruising on their way over the side. I'm talking what comes aboard 25-45" boats here.
PFD's are fine and well, safety harnesses
are a pain but a must. That VHF handheld
isn't going to do a spit of good once it's wet unless it is Mil spec'd to MAYBE insure the thing comes up talking after taking a dump.
Everyday people go out single handing around with NO thought or care about WHAT IF.
Sailing is an intoxicant. It really is. However single handing is sailing of a purest form and needs to be addressed as such.
I never leave the cockpit when I am single without being tied off with a safety harness
and a PFD. At least the PFD will provide shock absorption if I get whiplashed around a bit.
Running without any protection single is stupid at best. First and foremost you have to stay with that boat no matter what.
I learned rope from doing extreme vertical work from doing extreme vertical work for awhile as teen. At the same time I was also just getting into sailing. Between those two it didn't take much imagination to figure out that staying aboard while single was a non issue. Don't leave the boat!