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  #1  
Old 09-22-2006
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Horseshoe rescue bouy..

I purchased a sailboat this summer. The rescue bouy that came with the boat is of the horseshoe style. It has some length of yellow nylon line attached to it.

My friend, who is quite experienced, told me to get rid of the hard-to-manage, twisty nylon line and put some quality line on the bouy. His reasoning is that if you throw the horseshoe, the twisted line will foul up and the bouy may fall to the water 10 feet from the boat.... not reaching the MOB victim.

Then I got a comment from the original owner of my boat. He mentioned that he likes the nylon line because it floats and would be easy to retrieve while floating. I guess he would just throw the whole thing overboard, unattached to the boat, and then go and get the line? A floating line would also allow the MOB to grab something even if you didn't get a perfect throw off and missed the MOB's exact position.

What about normal quality line.... it sinks. What about getting into the prop?

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groundhog
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Old 09-22-2006
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You really ought to have floating line on the throwables. I suspect that the line you are concerned about is the cheap three strand polypropylene that can be found in any hardware store. The stuff really can be a little unmanageable unless it is coiled perfectly from the start. It seems to take a set and fight to keep it!

If you are concerned yourself, most marine stores now sell a polpro core braided (nylon?) jacket in yellow which is perfect for the task. I couldn't find it on the West Marine site but I now they have it in store.
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Old 09-22-2006
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Nylon line does not float. The yellow line is polypropylene line, and for a rescue buoy has some advantages. The first being is that it does float, which makes it much easier for the MOB to find. The second being it is usually a color that is quite easy to see. Third, it is very unlikely to snag your prop, as it floats.

However, it does have some serious disadvantages. First, polypro is very subject to UV degradation, and breaks down faster than most other types of line under exposure to sunlight and UV. Second, it is one of the weakest fibers you can get as modern synthetic ropes go.

Properly stored, with protection from UV, polypro is probably an excellent line to use with a horseshoe buoy. That is what is used IIRC on all the LifeSling2 type IV PFDs. However, the polypro line that comes with the LS2 has a nylon protective UV cover for the section that is tied to the boat.

A lot of the Polypro line avaiable today is braided, not three-strand laid rope..and doesn't to tangle as easily or as much as the older lines did. There are new synthetics, that are much more UV resistant than Polypro, that also float, that could be used in its place. However, they tend to be far more expensive as well. Polypro is one of the cheapest lines available.
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Old 09-22-2006
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Do yourself (and your COB) a favor and ditch the horseshoe. Buy a Lifesling and practice with it so you'll know how to use it when the time comes!
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Old 09-22-2006
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If the horseshoe is intented to be a thrown, take the dumb line off of it. Should you ever actually try to throw it, first by the time you get to it and toss, you are likely to be too far from the MOB for the float to reach them, secondly, if its tied to your boat, you will pull it away from them anyway. If it is not tied to the boat, then the floating line can only be a source of trouble, floating or not.

The big battle in the case of a MOB is getting the person back on board, and a horseshoe bouy with a poly line is of no use. As Steve said, buy a Lifesling, and actually practice using it some sunny day. Keep a couple of cockpit cushions as throwables - you'll reach one of them more quickly, and they pad the sharp corners in the meantime.
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Old 09-22-2006
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Our boat came with two type IV horseshoe PFDs, Jim Buoy make, which are mounted at the stern on brackets. Even though we aded a Lifesling to our inventory, these throwables were custom embroidered with the boat's name by the PO so we kept them.

They also have long nylon braided lines attached, which I had questioned the use of, in case of COB. This discussion confirms my earlier understanding that the lines should not be attached to the boat, and maybe even removed entirely, due to prop entanglement risks. We would throw both at the person in water to mark the location, then upon returning to the person, deploy the Lifesling for retrieval.
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Old 09-22-2006
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My understanding was that attaching a line to a throwable was that they could be retreived and rethrown if the first throw goes awry. Of course having more than one throwable (like floatable cushions) solves this problem.
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Old 09-22-2006
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Life Ring ??

Have you ever tried to throw a horse shoe bouy into the wind? They do not go very far. In Canada they do not meet DOT requirements for that reason. Since the early 80s we have been using the hard plastic rings. I would not want to get hit on the head with one but you can get pretty good distance on them.

I do agree that they should not be attached to the vessel but should have a strobe attached. At night it gives the swimmer and the boat a rendevous point.

We are also required to carry a throwable object ( a ball ) with 50 ft of floating line attached. I would get the ring over board first and then use the throwing line during the rescue.

Gary
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Old 09-22-2006
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Gary M
Have you ever tried to throw a horse shoe bouy into the wind?
I don't even think mine have ever been in the water, let alone thrown into the wind - guess I should practice. It seems to me however, that putting a spin on it while tossing it sideways (or overhead), will effectively reduce wind drag and increase distance.
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Old 09-22-2006
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Quote:
Originally Posted by hedglin
My understanding was that attaching a line to a throwable was that they could be retreived and rethrown if the first throw goes awry. Of course having more than one throwable (like floatable cushions) solves this problem.
The idea of retrieving a thrown ring and then throwing it again, while everyone needs to be dousing sails, watching the MOB and returning to his/her location is a bit fanciful. In the meantime, if the MOB actually needed the float, they are just as likely to drown.
In a fire drill like a MOB, time is of the essence. Always have a few cushions (http://www.westmarine.com/webapp/wcs...allpartial/0/0) at hand, if someone goes over, toss 'em all, and then focus on the recovery. While you are doing so, the MOB can try for a cushion if you don't hit him/her with it.
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