That was an interesting result. With 63% carrying knives on their person, I'm clearly the minority. Doesn't mean I'm going to change, just interesting.
A quick and dirty analyis of the posted comments was also quite revealing.
- Of the 79 votes there were 26 posted responses
- Of the 26 posts, 17 said they carried knives all the time
- Of those only 4 said that they had actually had to use them in an emergency. One to cut a locked halyard, one a tow line, another a jammed anchor. Of these I consider only the towing one to be an "emergency" and that post acknowleged that they were saved by having a knife nearby, not on them.
- The 4th was during a dismasting and the "emergency" was cutting away the halyards. It is almost certain that the poster wasn't carrying a bolt cutter on his belt to cut away the standing rigging so the effect of having a knife on the belt is actually moot.
So I'm not convinced that carrying a knife is a lifesaver. The guy who was dragged down by his anchor would have had to have serious presence of mind to take get the knife off his belt, open the correct blade (not a marlin spike
) and then cut the line while he is heading for the bottom. And if he cut the wrong side in his panic, the anchor and he would have continued to the bottom. He probably would have drowned anyway. He surely would have on my boat because I anchor in water shallow enough for the rode that is out to be chain only.
. And he would in any case have been brutally mauled as he went through the bow roller.
A jammed winch needs to be cleared immediately, not left until later. I have been lucky and never jammed a halyard winch but have several times had over-rides on my sheet winches. I clear those using another winch. Haven't found an over-ride yet that I can't pull out by putting the tail of the sheet on the opposite winch. If it's too tight, luff the boat. And I do it right away.
I have thought about this and I can't visualise a situation on my boat where I would have to cut anything in a true "emergency situation" where the time taken to get a knife from it's pocket in the cockpit will make it too late. I understand the cutting of an anchor line or a tow line or a rope around the prop but those are not really emergencies (OK maybe the tow-line). I can't imagine an emergency situation that would be solved by cutting a sheet or a halyard.
Maybe we should start another poll to indicate how many people "lock" lines on their cleats. Because I don't. A few cross-over wraps and then a turn or two.My dock lines have spliced loops. But to tuck the tail under the last wrap? Never. That's a gilt invitation to an emergency.
Anyway, thanks for the responses to the poll, it was interesting.