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  Topic Review (Newest First)
09-22-2009 09:12 PM
SoftJazz I think I'll be needing more than a PFD soon. I just found out my skipper signed me up for the Frostbiters. I've never sailed in one of those. Now I have to find out what other goodies I'll be needing to get. Maybe a drysuit?

----------> bleeding bucks? <-----------

Glad you like my sig, smackdaddy. I'm guessing you know what it's like to be goosed?
09-21-2009 11:06 PM
ArgleBargle thanks for all of the great replies. an interesting informal survey with many valid points raised. seems Sailnet'ers more often wear lifejackts than average, at least the (substantial) selection bias of replying to this thread.

i have to say, although i respect contrary argments and would not neceassarily want a law, i'm in the nerd camp with davidpm. there are many people around most cruising areas who might potentially save you, but if i'm unconsciousness, significant injury, darkness or hypothermia are around and i have no flotation, i'll just be one of those sad page two newspaper stories about some guy who got knocked off his boat and drowned.
09-21-2009 10:35 PM
davidpm I put on a type Type 3 life vest non-inflatable with pockets, when I leave the car to walk to the boat and take it off before getting back in the car.

There have been many cases of drowning at the dock.
Most people think they can determine when the conditions are such that they "need" a vest. Every month during the summer there are at least two guys that drown without a vest right here in long island sound. It seems that most of them have years if not decades more experience than me. Apparently they guessed poorly.

In my opinion you "need" a vest if you are on anyplace where a simple misstep can put you in the water. That includes dock or boat. The exception is swimming at anchor when someone is assigned to life-guard duty.

A couple of years ago at about 6 AM I was walking from the bedroom down the hall about 20 feet to bathroom in my home. About half way there I slumped against the wall and was very dizzy. Did not fall but had a hard time controlling my limbs to make it to the bathroom. On the way back I was fine. I spent about 5 days in the hospital, they ran every check on me possible and could find nothing. If that would have happened on a boat or dock I very likely would have been overboard.

All it takes is the smallest misstep.
A line breaking.
A boat wake
A moment of inattention
A winch spinning out

If you are lucky someone sees you immediately. If not you swim for, what 30 minutes. You can't even get into the survival position to conserve heat if you don't have on a jacket.

Depending on the water temperature the difference between with and without a jacket can be hours when even minutes can be enough to save your life.

I'm more than happy to be the nerd who wears the jacket at all times while the cools guys wear the racing t-shirts. If it's good enough for the coat guard it's good enough for me.
09-21-2009 08:46 PM
painkiller I once put on an inflatable PFD/harness while racing Frostbites and one of the other crew said "Sure, you wouldn't want to ruin your freezing to death by drowning!"

I generally don't wear a PFD unless conditions are doubtful.
09-21-2009 08:16 PM
eryka Going forward from the (very deep) cockpit, with whitecaps on the water; or after dark; or if air temp + water temp degrees F is less than 100; we wear PFDs (harness + inflateable). Any time there are kids aboard, they need to wear PFDs by law, so we lead by example and wear ours also.
09-21-2009 06:55 PM
Coldwater I got so used to wearing a PFD while river and sea kayaking, that I feel naked without it. I sail a small 22' racing boat with a low freeboard in fairly cold water, so a PFD seems wise. Plus, it is a nice layer of insulation in cold wind. On hot days I just dunk once in a while.
09-21-2009 06:38 PM
doubleeboy So far we have only sailed our 39' boat on Puget Sound. The rule on boat is... if we need to reef everyone wears one. We are thinking of changing that to everyone all the time, but when its sunny and 80 degrees with 6 knots of breeze and half foot wind waves it seems a bit silly.

When we drop sail near the marina, we are near ferry, freighter, tug traffic and their wakes. If someone goes forward to adjust the lazy jacks they wear an inflatable pfd with harness rings, with tether available if they desire.

No body has brought up the scary subject, what if the inflatable doesn't inflate? A lot of faith seems to be put in these devices, myself included. Yet there is a poster here who won't allow them on his race boat for having seen them not inflate. Just a thought.

09-21-2009 04:46 PM
SeanRW My rules which I am adamant about others following though occasionally I stray. We use the Mustang auto-inflating vests with the harness (2 onboard) and the auto-inflating vests (6 onboard). Whistles attached to all the vests. Jacklines strung forward (actually, the flat webbing stuff movers use with carabiners securing either end)

When the boat's underway I try to keep to the following guidelines. When anchored or just "driftin" then common sense applies. With the kids or our elders (who I occasionally treat like kids) there is the occasional mumbled prayer that a wave would wash them overboard but then I'd have to explain to the police why I was having a few celebratory cocktails before conducting a search

Good Weather
- No vests in cockpit (except kids) but common sense applies to all
- No vests going forward (except kids) but common sense applies to adults only

Bad Weather
- Vests & Tethers in cockpit (tethers sometimes don't get hooked but.....)
- Vests & Tethers when going forward (no exceptions including me)

Night and/or alone
- Vests & Tethers in cockpit
- Vests & Tethers going forward

One thing I do agree with is that it helps the crew / passengers get into the habit if they watch you put on your vest. Lead by example was taught to me in the Army and hey, it works.

"There's always time later on for suntanning without the vest in the way. Lets just get there first......."
09-21-2009 04:32 PM
surftom All the time on the water - make the kids wear them on the dock too - even though they can swim.
09-21-2009 03:34 PM
welshwind 99.9% of the time when not below, I and my family wear our life preservers. Once in a great while, if it is glass and hot, I will take mine off and let anyone else take theirs off if they are sitting completely in the cockpit (My boat is a center-cockpit boat). However, if anyone is outside of the cockpit, they have the preserver on. I leave it up to adult guests to do what they wish (I overrule if the weather or traffic becomes too much) but we insist children of guests wear them.

If we are in our dinghy just motoring around the marina at idle speed, we don't have to wear them. If we decide to take the dinghy out on Lake Michigan, we all wear them and I attach the kill lanyard to the vest.
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