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Go Back   SailNet Community > General Interest > General Discussion (sailing related) > One thing that worries me, swimming in full gear
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Thread: One thing that worries me, swimming in full gear Reply to Thread
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Topic Review (Newest First)
06-03-2008 01:04 PM
Stillraining
Merlin

I think the best advice you got was the fact that you will not be trying to swim anywhere...maybe 20' max if the boat lays over and you fell out a little before hand...Your PFD WILL keep you afloat with all your wet gear on...no worries about that....only worrie is a punctured inflatable...In a storm or single handed not my choice of PFD anyway..getting back aboard is the chore...You can practice that if you wish..or throw your 70 lb Labrador in... getting him on board will be about the same difficulty..
06-03-2008 12:47 PM
merlin2375 Thanks a lot for the comments guys. Sounds like maybe a practice dip is in order, I'll have to find someplace suitable. Just trying to be prepared for a wide variety of hazards. Seems like going over is not as uncommon as I once thought, particularly in racing. You just never know.

I have another question about harnessing, but I think I'll throw up another thread about that
06-03-2008 12:43 PM
TrueBlue Bad thing about dry suits is, they are air-tight so the skin cannot breathe. I can't imagine sailing actively for hours, being hermetically sealed in a ziplock baggie. A wet suit will create a similar, but more uncomfortable experience. The neoprene rubber will trap in body heat - making you sweat like a pig.

I own a few sets of both types but they're used exclusively underwater.
06-03-2008 09:57 AM
chucklesR In the Marine Corps boot camp of the past you had to pass water survival training by jumping in with full gear (cammo's, boots, a dummy rifle and Alice pack) - yep, it sucked - even tho the pack floated minimally.

My floatation point dead still in the water is roughly equivalent with my hairline (i.e., I do not float). Both fresh and saltwater, I just plain sink.

Wear, and I'll say this again, wear - not just buy, but again in case you missed it - wear a PFD. At the minium a manual inflatable fanny pack style PFD.

It causes minimal discomfort, doesn't affect sun tan lines - you can adjust it fore and aft for those of you that don't want lines at all.

If you can't swim or tread water as you are normally dressed for at least 20 minutes or you are sailing alone you are literally taking your life in your hands every time you go out.
06-03-2008 09:37 AM
eryka I once hosted one of these sessions, for about 20 people, as part of a larger safety conference. We worked with the hotel that was hosting the conference, closed their swimming pool to the public for an hour, and all jumped in with our inflateable pfds and fully clothed. (That POP! when the inflateable goes off is startling, the first time).

One of the other hotel guests reported us to security - "There's a bunch of drunks swimming in the pool with their clothes on!"

Seriously, knowing that your pfd will support you is something that's useful to try once. After that, use a jackline or whatever it takes to keep yourself on the boat.
06-03-2008 01:53 AM
sailak As a firefighter we were taught that our turnout gear provides quite a bit of flotation. The heavy coat and pants trap air, the high rubber boots hold quite a bit of air (you have to get your toes up) and the helmet can be held on the chest with a bubble of air in it.

Foul weather gear should do pretty well also. Button the collar up and scoop air under the jacket with your hand (an old Boy Scout trick) to increase buoyancy. Even wet the clothes will be pretty close to neutral buoyancy and the added insulation will be very important in cold water.
06-03-2008 12:57 AM
tjaldur In my opinion, swimming is not an issue. In a "man overboard" situation, I don't think one has anywhere to swim. To swim to catch the boat is more or less impossible. One need to hope that one will be missing and that a MOB-alert is issued. This will take some time, so one will need to keep warm and be afloat as long as possible.

The best thing is of course not to fall in the water. That is why many sailors rather use a lifeline to attach themselves to the boat so that they never leave the boat.

Even if one manages to be warm and keep afloat, the problem of being able to reenter the boat still remains. It may be useful to try and reenter the boat fully clothed.
06-03-2008 12:12 AM
NauticalFishwife Merlin, MANY years ago, while at Girl Scout camp we were required to jump in the water fully clothed. Then practiced taking our clothes off while in the water, using our pants or shirts for floatation. Then we discovered the boy scout camp... another story. Go to a swimming pool right after they open. Talk to the life guard and tell them what you're doing and why. Get all your gear on, jump in. See what it feels like to inflate your PFD. What it feels like with wet, heavy clothing on. You'll realize that the PFD will hold you up, wet clothes and all. But it's uncomfortable, for sure. IT IS VERY helpful to know what it feels like, and if you should fall in, fully clothed, even with good crew, it's going to take a while to get you back on the boat. This may sound a bit silly to do, but you will be more confident and better prepared if you do it. Take a friend with you and you can both feel silly! And if you sail solo, clip on my friend.
06-02-2008 05:39 PM
Plumper Find a warm spot and try going in with all your clothes on (with and without a life jacket) just so you know what to expect.
06-02-2008 05:30 PM
Stillraining I can not swim...I hear drowning is not really that uncomfortable..
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