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Do you believe that the LifeSling should be taught to new sailors?

  • Yes - Instruct new sailors how to use the LifeSling

    Votes: 32 91.4%
  • No - Do not bother showing new sailors how to use the LifeSling

    Votes: 3 8.6%
  • What is COB?

    Votes: 0 0.0%

  • Total voters
    35
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Learning the HARD way...
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Discussion Starter #1
Shortly after the season up north ended I went to dinner with the owners/head instructors of one of the schools for which I work. During dinner the LifeSling cam up in conversation. I was surprised to hear the principals at this school express such a negative opinion of the LifeSling on a cruising boat. If I remember their arguments correctly, they believed that circling someone that had fallen in the water while under sail was too complicated. They both believed that a Figure-8 maneuver (Shout, Throw, Spot, Beam Reach, Tack, Broad Reach, Cross Wake, Luff, and Approach the COB) would be preferred to the use of the LifeSling on a cruising boat (Hunter 356).

My counter to this argument was that I love to teach the Figure-8, but in the real world, I would have the person at the helm instruct the remaining crew to furl the headsail, sheet in or blow the main depending on conditions, start the engine and then circle the person in the water.

Nope - they weren't buying it. Figure-8 only. They further expressed their concern that the LifeSling was a patented commercial product, and that endorsing it in class was inappropriate.

We have other opinions that diverge, such as leeward vs windward side pickup for crew overboard, but I will save that for another thread.

What say you?
 

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The LifeSling is one more tool in your toolbox. Depending on conditions & point of sail, figure of 8 might be better, or circle with LifeSling might be better. The more options you have, with the knowledge of how/when to use them, the better your chances of a good outcome when someone goes over the side.

As far it being a commercial product and therefore inappropriate to mention--give me a break.
 

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Hired a couple of “captains” to teach Wife to sail. They taught the new recommended MOM techniques. Asked them to pick up a brightly colored float and were given warning at time of toss. Mild conditions 1-2’ 10-15kts. They totally failed. I taught Wife
Throw MOM 8c
Stop boat
Drop sail/ turn on engine
Go get mom
Drag them in over sugar scoop anyway you can. Here a life sling may help

Reality is as a mom and pop if I go in the morning water I’m probably dead. If she goes in a there’s low chance she’ll make it.
But do single handed watches when offshore. Even though I won’t let anyone go forward without first calling someone else on deck most times you’re alone. Go over then you’re dead. Boat will continue on under AP or windvane
 

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Depends on what level class this rescue technique is going to be taught in. Think the beginners are struggling with a lot of new skill development. Maybe this is a feel good technique for liability reasons? Yhink the time learning this would be better spent on other sailing skill development lessons.

Let's see we have horse shoe buoys, Dan buoys...and now somebody is going to moan over a product called "life sling"..geez, these guys need to get a life
 

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Learning the HARD way...
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Discussion Starter #6 (Edited)
The class that we were discussing, and where this could be covered, is ASA 104. In ASA 101 new sailors should have learned the Figure-8 and the Quick Stop. In ASA 103 sailors should have reviewed how to perform the Figure-8 in a larger cruising boat (with a wheel).

In the current ASA 104 textbook, Bareboat Cruising Made Easy, Man Overboard techniques are covered beginning on Page 160. Page 163 specifically addresses how the LifeSling is used.

Personally, I was surprised that these well-regarded instructors were adamant that this should not be covered as part of the class... maybe it's me. :confused:
 

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All to familiar mentality. Reminds me of the typical university professor, who is so immersed in academic perfection that they can't see reality. Teach the figure 8 to a thousand students and I'm willing to bet about 50 can still do it 5 years later. Reality. I'll up the odds to 75 will remember how to do the quick stop, beyond the first move. :)

The average sailor probably gets 10 ish days on the water per year, many even less, so how would they retain it? The lifesling is virtually self evident.

I'm not saying the lifesling is better, only that its practical. I'm 99% certain that my wife was taught how to use one in her ASA104. It may have only been discussed, rather than practiced.
 

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Lifeslings help solve a couple of problems, getting the person to the boat and back on board if you find them. We've had them on boats, and practiced with them, they work IMHO. But they don't help find the person.

Like Out, we've carried a MOM last couple of boats. It's a PIA that you need to service the thing, but my thought is forget all this fancy stuff (Williamson turns, figure-8's, etc), pop the MOM (or throw over whatever you've got to help the person with floatation attached with a pole and flag of some sort to up the odds you'll find the guy), and then stop the boat ASAP and get back to the man overboard ASAP by whatever means you've got...which means don't be afraid to drop sails and start the engine.

We are mostly 2 handed, my wife's a great sailor and boat handler in close quarters, my biggest worry would be me finding her or her finding me. All that stuff like assigning someone to keep pointing at the man overboard doesn't work when you are one person busy maneuvering, dropping sails, starting engines, calling for help on the VHF, etc. Some of the new person AIS beacons and proximity alarms all seem worthy of discussion especially for those of us who sail watches with only 2 persons on the boat.

I don't think we should teach one technique like its the "way" and all other techniques are inferior. Same with devices like MOMs or Lifeslings. Buy this and all your problems are solved? Not true, but it's also not true that a lifesling has no value. Every situation is different based on sea state, the boat, and capabilities of crew. I think we should talk about the pro's and cons of the different techniques and equipment with new sailors, let them try figure 8, let them try a williamson turn perhaps under power, let them try a quick stop and get the sails down, and let them try different equipment if available. Get them to think about how it would be different if instead of 5 people on board taking a course, it was a crew of 2.

Education should be about learning how to think about it. That lasts. A single technique de jour might be easier to teach but doesn't serve the student IMHO.
 

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I had to google the technique because I have never used one. Looks a little bit like picking up a water skier or wake boarder. Has any one here ever used this technique in a real world scenario. It seems like it would be slower than just bringing the boat to the person as quickly as possible and chucking them a throw bag. I can see it being useful to help some one who isn't wearing a harness get back on board the boat though.
 

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Discussion Starter #11
I try to teach *everything* - in fact, I have been chastised for providing too much information. I even cover the pros and cons of windward AND leeward COB pickups (yes, there are advantages to both). I also cover the LifeSling in 104. But, as I stated I was taken aback when I learned that the guy that runs the current show does not want it covered, and seemed hostile to the idea of using one. Looking at the current poll results (6 - yea / 2 - nay), it seems like some of the folks here are in that camp too.
 

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My thoughts...

It's always been worthy to know...it's an active solution.

Why somebody would not want it taught is personal....direction from above them, no $s coming to them, closed mind due to.....

There's a reason.

Just keep that as a bullet point to promote when you start your own school...:)
 

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Maybe they know West Marine is the sole provider of the equipment and patent?!?!?!? altho other people designed the product, they produce it. My swag with monomy buying WM, they will not own or manufacture the product for too long. They will sell this option for the cash in the process of destroying the company like most folks of this ilk.

Marty
 

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dadio917
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yea for us but we're in the ocean a bit. We have a life sling plus a completely separate horseshoe/light/flag pole combo with 30' of floating yellow line. Also have one electric winch for the halyards that if we were lucky enough to snag someone who went over with the sling or horseshoe we'd have a hope of dragging them back up. Also use jack lines if its snotty or dark. Don't have personal AIS yet but when we head off to pacific islands next year might spring for them. why not increase the odds? If my wife went over I'd want every chance.
 

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I have one and it's inside the cockpit lazarrette. I would not try to sail to a person overboard... but furl the sail and let the main halyard go and motor with the swim ladder dropped into the water and a floating line with horseshoe at the end. I would toss everything in the cockpit that floats... PVDs and sea cushions, deploy the MOB pole with attached strobe and horseshoe. I sail 99% of the time with my wife... who does not sail, cannot drive the boat or swim... she is super careful and stays in the cockpit... often wears a PFD when conditions are "fun". I bought the lifesling hype... anyone who wants an old one can have it. Message me.
 

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Discussion Starter #16 (Edited)
Maybe they know West Marine is the sole provider of the equipment and patent?!?!?!? altho other people designed the product, they produce it. My swag with monomy buying WM, they will not own or manufacture the product for too long. They will sell this option for the cash in the process of destroying the company like most folks of this ilk.
Are you saying that West Marine is the sole provider of the LifeSling?

:confused:

[EDIT] I see in the manual that West Marine DOES, in fact, manufacture the LifeSling (more likely it is manufactured under contract for WM).
The sole obligation of West Marine shall be the repair or replacement of Lifesling3 and under no circumstances shall West Marine, its agents, of successors, be liable for any direct, consequential or other damages arising out of any claimed defect in the device or the method of its use.
If there were any heartburn with West Marine, then we would have another brand of boat hook, binoculars, dock lines, and a bunch of other stuff. West Marine, and Port Supply, must offer sailing schools a substantial discount, because of the amount of West Marine badged stuff that every school that I have worked for uses.
 

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Discussion Starter #17
@SanderO - I am in the same boat, so to speak. My wife does not swim, and does not feel comfortable at the helm when sailing (she's awesome at the helm when docking though!). On my boat, I keep the LifeSling on the pushpit because of her. She knows that if I go for an unplanned swim that the first thing that she should do is throw the LS, and the second thing is to start the motor.
 

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Regardless of what the instructors might think of the device, the reality is that it is being carried on a rapidly increasing number of yachts, so people ought to be taught how to use it.

IMO, there's not just one "best" way to recover a COB. The best way is any way that works. It takes more skill to use the figure 8 maneuver than the Lifesling. What could be simpler than deploying the Lifesling and circling the COB? Moreover, the Lifesling could be used in conjunction with the figure 8. For example, if you miss the COB on the first approach using the figure 8 technique, you could use the Lifesling as a throwable device. You might be able to drag it close to the COB and the COB might be able to grasp the line. The lifesling gives you options.
 

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I'm generally in agreement with the replies so far (which is surprising, I was afraid this might be a anchor/mono-cat type subject!)... I think it can't hurt to have a lot of different options but Lifesling is not my first. Ours now is off the stern rail, lives in a cockpit locker, is there as an aid to lifting someone into the boat only (we don't have a sugar scoop or anything so will need to use a block and tackle off the boom, which we are set up for, to lift someone)... while I can jury rig other options to do that, that's my best bet right now for bringing a person on board who can't help themselves.

I prefer the Dan Buoy inflatable pole to throw out to someone as it will stay with the overboard person while I/we corral the boat and get back to that person... the vision I've always had with the Lifesling is of it skipping along on the water behind us as we leave the person-overboard behind while maneuvering.

Another issue I wonder about with the Lifesling is how good of shape they're in... that floating line degrades in the sun REALLY quickly... everyone points to the bag it's stored in, but the bitter end has to be tied to something solid and I have - literally - broken the bitter end by hand on a boat where it had been sitting out in the sun for years... so not much good there unless you've managed to grab the line as it's feeding out and snub a solid piece of it onto a cleat before it gets to the rotten end.

I will admit I haven't practiced throwing the Lifesling much, but I have practice with seat cushions and I can't throw those very far at all, especially not with any breeze at all. I wonder how far you can really throw the sling if you try to use it that way instead of towed? For a throwable rescue I much prefer whitewater throw bags:
https://www.nrs.com/product/1825/nrs-standard-rescue-throw-bag
... you can throw a bag of rope a lot further than a Lifesling or seat cushion (although still challenging into the wind, and requires practice / familiarity).

-- Bass
 

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The strategy for getting a MOB ... OB varies depending on the boat. Sugar scoop is fine if the person can get back... up... Same with our swim ladder... it's folding and when dropped you can pretty easily climb on board. I don't need to hoist someone with the boom... but the Garhaurer lifting crane for the OB is ready at the pushpit too. Lifesling will remain in the lazerette until someone claims it. I would only deploy it as flotation.. but but expect the line to be in OK... and it's not mounted nor tied off either. Quick stop, drop sails, engine on... don't take your eyes of the MOB and toss everything that floats at them... including floating heaving line.. No I will not do LS drills. nor go to LS university.
 
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