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  #11  
Old 04-11-2013
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Re: Ever been injured on your boat? Just happened to me.

As you've all figured out, there are plenty of trip hazards, moving parts and lines to get caught up in, and injured by. One can only imagine the kinds of injuries our ancestors suffered, before the advent of safety equipment and safety culture.

Here are some tips that may help avoid injuries in the future:

1. Knives- Knives are a prevelant part of sailing. When cutting, always cut so that the blade edge is pointed AWAY from you, so that when you finally cut through, the blade jerks away from your body instead of into it.

2. Lines: Never put a body part in between a line and a hard object.
When sweating sheets, grasp the line with your thumbs pointed at your chest. If you get overloaded, and the sheet runs, your digits won't get sucked into any hardware that way.

3. Gloves: Don't be macho, especially on larger boats. Don't let your crew be macho either. Wear the damn gloves.

4. Deck operations: (Setting aside all discussion of tethers and jacklines) Stay low while moving, and while working, wherever it's practical. One hand for you, one hand for the boat.

I'd be interested in hearing some common sense safety for windlass operations because I'm not equipped with one, and my windlass safety knowledge is limited. Anyone?
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  #12  
Old 04-11-2013
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Re: Ever been injured on your boat? Just happened to me.

Over the years I've seen many more people hurt getting on and off boats, then when actually sailing.
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Old 04-11-2013
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Re: Ever been injured on your boat? Just happened to me.

Dislocated the the middle joint of two fingers while anchored getting into a seated position on the side deck to hoist the dinghy aboard. Grabbed a wet handrail and slipped sideways, just one of those freak moments. One joint popped right back in , the other took four weeks, two trips to Dr. and eventually I got it back in place myself once the swelling went down enough to manipulate it. Sailed from Florida to the Bahamas and up to the Chesapeake with it taped and splinted.

I think fingers and hands are typical injury areas on sail boats. It pays to be good at splinting, buddy taping, and using steri-strips.
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Old 04-11-2013
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Re: Ever been injured on your boat? Just happened to me.

I use gloves even when sailing my 14 foot dinghy. Saves you from rope burn and those nasty little splinters. And gives a lot better grip. Got whacked a couple of times by a boom when wind suddenly changed (happens all the time on inland lakes) - usually when I was busy with something else and not paying attention. Hurt my back pulling on a stuck anchor. Got many sore muscles hanging out of my dinghy in a lot of wind for a long time. Usual stuff. Thankfully, nothing serious... knock on wood.
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Old 04-11-2013
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Re: Ever been injured on your boat? Just happened to me.

When I had a 27 Catalina I climbed to the cabin top to remove the ties from the main. I was so intent on doing this in a timely manner that I completely forgot I had not closed the hatch. I dropped through the hatch, fell 7 feet, hit the side of the salon bunk, broke two ribs, then motored back to the marina. My wife drove me to the emergency room, they took some X-rays, sent me home and told me to take it easy for a while. Needed some heavy medications for this one, though. The pain was pretty intense the following days.

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Re: Ever been injured on your boat? Just happened to me.

Quote:
Originally Posted by algee View Post
Over the years I've seen many more people hurt getting on and off boats, then when actually sailing.
That's a very good point, I would guess that more people are hurt on sailboats when in proximity to a dock, or at anchor or on a mooring, than when underway in open water...

Overall, I've been pretty fortunate - only thing I've really ever injured is my Pride, but that does seem to occur with somewhat depressing regularity... (grin)
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Re: Ever been injured on your boat? Just happened to me.

All the injury's listed are typical of what I've seen too. We've had people step through open hatches, had anchor locker hatches fall on barefoot toes, jammed hands into winches, etc. Typically it's not the inexperienced people either, it's the good sailors getting careless (not that I'd ever do that)

In most cases, it has been at anchor or benign conditions.

When it get's nasty, in a gale, "injury" has been limited to sea sickness. When things gets serious, we get on the harnesses, clip in, and get careful about our movements, extra attention to navigation, and safety in general.
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Re: Ever been injured on your boat? Just happened to me.

We just took our maiden voyage, from Galesville MD to Willoughby Harbor Marina VA. It was a delightful 3-day rough-weather trip. Upon arrival to our new "home", we had a series of unfortunate events that resulted in a broken leg for me. First was a mechanical failure, where the cables for the shift/throttle go through a plastic clamp that broke, coupling the two. This resulted in a forward acceleration when trying to shift into reverse, as we were pulling into a tightish marina. We attempted a u-turn but were going too fast. I was on the bow fending off, when the wind (which had been in our faces for *3* days!) came up behind and spun us around, trapping my leg. I saved both boats from contact! I had my tibia rebuilt with a plate and bone graft 2 weeks ago, now I have 6 more weeks on crutches before I can sail again. Many lessons here. 1. we could/should have checked out reverse while we were still out in open enough water to do a 360 or two to slow way down. 2. plastic piece replaced by cast aluminum, and is on the annual pm "checklist" 3. now there is a bumper on the bow to use for fending off-no more body parts! Any other input/suggestions from you experienced folks would be much appreciated! This sucks! (and hurts!) Bottom line: In any event of something unusual, back off, take your time, and think through the options ahead of time rather than having to react quickly.

Last edited by nkamper; 04-11-2013 at 09:27 AM. Reason: typo
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Re: Ever been injured on your boat? Just happened to me.

Quote:
Originally Posted by BubbleheadMd View Post
I'd be interested in hearing some common sense safety for windlass operations because I'm not equipped with one, and my windlass safety knowledge is limited. Anyone?
It would be interesting to know how much the ever-increasing electrical mechanization we're seeing on modern boats has contributed to an uptick in injuries... My guess is that is could be significant, stuff like electric winches have contributed to some ghastly injuries, and an electric windlass has the potential for being one of the most dangerous pieces of gear on any boat...

Most obvious advice, of course, is never to get your hands or an item of clothing anywhere close to a windlass in operation... Furthermore, don't use the windlass to pull the boat towards the anchor, especially if there is enough chop in the anchorage to set up any potential snatching loads due to the boat's pitching.

I'm not a big fan of the modern trend of mounting the windlass in a locker below deck level. I find many of them can be very awkward to reach if need be, which could contribute to a potential injury, especially in the event you're attempting to apply some leverage to free a jam, or whatever...

And, I long ago came to detest deck-mounted foot switches for windlasses. I'm amazed builders/owners continue to go that route... They live in an incredibly tough environment, are often poorly designed/cheaply made, and few things on a boat are more prone to failure or malfunction (of which sticking in an 'ON' position is the most hazardous, of course)... In addition, it's very easy to forget to turn the windlass breaker off when finished, so the possibility of accidentally activating a windlass is very real... I think a FAR better solution, is to use a hand-held corded remote control run from a plug inside the boat, out through a hatch or port... I don't like the idea of a wireless remote for this application, I'd suggest a hard-wired remote, instead...

Another modern trend on the rise which I think is a very poor practice, is the operation of a windlass using a remote mounted at the helm... You always need to be WATCHING your windlass in operation, in order to be able to anticipate a jam, or whatever... Leave that sort of lazy deployment and retrieval of your anchor from the cockpit to the Sea-Ray drivers... (grin)

And, make a cover for your windlass to help protect it from the elements, that will definitely pay off in the long run...
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Last edited by JonEisberg; 04-11-2013 at 09:33 AM.
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Old 04-11-2013
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Re: Ever been injured on your boat? Just happened to me.

I have often said "If I'm not bleeding, I'm not sailing." I get so many small injuries it's ridiculous. Some of it from single handing in wild conditions, some of it from not paying attention at other times. The most frequent and most frustrating injury occurs when bolting up the companionway steps too quickly, and not leaning forward. I am just tall enough that I smack my big bald head on the bottom grip of the slider about three times a season. It invariably takes a chunk out of my head the size of a quarter. One of these days I will learn, but apparently not quick enough. The last time was earlier this winter as I was leaving the boat with a large plywood panel that I had test fitted and was taking back to the woodshop for a trim. I hit the slider so hard I saw stars like a Looney Toons character, but also heard a disturbing "clack" sound in my neck. I stood there for a moment, dazed, and waited to see if I had paralyzed myself or not. No paralysis, but a big ding on my head for 10 days.

I used to have the same problem with my cheapie backyard steel shed. The doorway is apparently exactly 6 feet tall. So am I.
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