Please wear your PFD's - SailNet Community
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post #1 of 11 Old 07-07-2012 Thread Starter
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Please wear your PFD's

Today the Admiral and I are going to a wake for a fellow sailor.
He died doing what he loved, racing sailboats.
He was retreaved from the water within 2 minutes of having fallen in but sadly it was to late.
His PFD was sitting on a cockpit bench.
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We have three rules;
No screaming.
No bleeding on the sails.
No slobbering on the charts.

Last edited by Dog Ship; 07-07-2012 at 02:17 PM.
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post #2 of 11 Old 07-07-2012
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Re: Please wear your PFD's

I do, and wont leave the slip without it. I single hand so there really is not a chance someone is coming back to get me back on board. It all started when I would only wear it when it was 15kts+ but then one lovely evening I had headed to port only about 5 miles out when the wind was dying and I was messing around on deck. Then that funny wave came from a different direction and I lost my balance and fell fully back on the lifelines. They held and I righted myself but I realized had I fallen a little bit higher or to an angle this would be much different. Sun setting, midweek no other boats near by no way Im swimming to shore in water temps in the mid 50,s. Now I carry a VHF and PFD always. At least there would be a body to recover so my family would have closure.
Please wear a PFD. It only takes a second and it could save your life.
Brad
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post #3 of 11 Old 07-08-2012
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Re: Please wear your PFD's

That's all very sad but if he died within 2 minutes he probably would have died even with a PFD - hypothermia?, head injury? You don't drown that easily.

BTW I singlehand all the time and wear my PFD all the time, plus I carry a personal EPIRB and a handheld VHF. I have jacklines as well and clip on if necessary because I know that if I go overboard I'll probably die.
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post #4 of 11 Old 07-08-2012
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Re: Please wear your PFD's

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!
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post #5 of 11 Old 07-08-2012
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Yes, You can

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Originally Posted by mawm View Post
That's all very sad but if he died within 2 minutes he probably would have died even with a PFD - hypothermia?, head injury? You don't drown that easily.

BTW I singlehand all the time and wear my PFD all the time, plus I carry a personal EPIRB and a handheld VHF. I have jacklines as well and clip on if necessary because I know that if I go overboard I'll probably die.
I attended a Safety at Sea seminar a few years back
SAS Seminars

Which was very informative & reinforcing many things I'd read, it also included a Life Raft demo in pool + USCG helo live demo (impressive)

The most interesting part was a detailed description of what happens when someone falls overboard. The speaker talked about that the initial reaction is disbelief - the person just can't believe they are in the water - and until they focus & gather their wits - it represents the most dangerous time. Because involuntary swallowing of water can be ingested into the lungs which can lead to a quick death.
Even with a PFD, avoiding ingesting water with waves & wind can be challenging since many(depending on users weight & PFD type) do not keep the head and shoulders far enough above the water. Some new versions have spray hoods to help + crotch straps help keep PFD positioned properly because without they tend to ride up.
So 2 minutes can be enough to drown, unfortunately - scary
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post #6 of 11 Old 07-12-2012 Thread Starter
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Re: Please wear your PFD's

He was not alone, his wife was at the helm.
The wind had increased to 20+ knots and they had just crossed the finish line in 1st. place. He was dropping the sails when the boom struck him in the chest and threw him overboard.
Within minutes a dozen boats were involved as well as our local seach and rescue.
His widow has donated there boat to their yacht club to be used as a club boat.
Sail on Jeff, you are already being missed.
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We have three rules;
No screaming.
No bleeding on the sails.
No slobbering on the charts.
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post #7 of 11 Old 07-12-2012
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Re: Please wear your PFD's

Please make sure you use proper life vests instead of PFD's. A PFD is not able to keep your face up if you are unconcious. A proper life vest will keep your head above water which means youcan breath even if you are unconcious.
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post #8 of 11 Old 07-12-2012
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Re: Please wear your PFD's

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Please make sure you use proper life vests instead of PFD's. A PFD is not able to keep your face up if you are unconcious. A proper life vest will keep your head above water which means youcan breath even if you are unconcious.
????? Where are you splitting the difference between a vest and a "PFD"

A type V inflatable pfd most certainly will roll you over and put your mouth up. It's the waterski type "vests" that may not.
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post #9 of 11 Old 07-12-2012
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Re: Please wear your PFD's

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That's all very sad but if he died within 2 minutes he probably would have died even with a PFD - hypothermia?, head injury? You don't drown that easily.
Yep.
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post #10 of 11 Old 07-13-2012
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Re: Please wear your PFD's

Yes, you can drown that quickly, depending upon factors such as medical history, water temperature, fatigue, disorientation, etc. Persons without life preservers can lose the ability to swim in cold water within minutes, long before hypothermia can develop fully. I lost a friend who fell overboard from another friend's boat when we were about a thousand feet away; after about 30 seconds to a minute our friend slipped below the water and disappeared; his body was recovered 21 days later -- a week after the memorial service. His inflatable was in his sailing gear bag. RIP Marty, 1 May 2010.
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