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Old 23-04-2009, 20:57   #1
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How Secure Are Yachting Harnesses?

That one looks like it will slip off easily if the person was to raise his arms.

Good on you Rich and congratulations for completing the race.
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Old 23-04-2009, 22:05   #2
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I use Switlik harnesses on Exit Only. They are aviation life vests that are somewhat like parachute harnesses that distribute the stress evenly all around the chest.

If you ever go overboard while wearing a harness, you will experience a mighty jerk from the harness that could easily fracture ribs, particularly if you are an older sailor. Rib fractures can puncture lungs - I've had it happen to me in a car accident from a seat belt. So I chose the parachute style harness that hopefully will not permit all the stress to be focused in a single area of my chest in the event of going overboard.

Before we started our circumnavigation, I hoisted my teenage kids a few feet off the deck by halyard and safety harness to show them the stresses that the safety harness impose on their chest and body as a whole. It's a good lesson to take safety harnesses seriously, because if they ever come in to play, it's likely going to hurt and could possible break ribs if sailing at high speed when you go over the side.

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Old 24-04-2009, 00:41   #3
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I use an older West marine one and it seems to work fine. The loads "feel" like they are evenly distributed. I wore a "racing harness" while crossing the notorious Alenuiha'ha channel on a Hobie 33 ultralight one time. The thing was barely 2 feeble straps that you put on like a bra. He told me it was to keep weight down. I muttered under my breath he should have his head amputated as he was not using it and that would save more weight!
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Old 24-04-2009, 05:51   #4
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I agree some of the harnesses out there are meeting standards - but that is all.

I believe the bigger problem with harness situations is not so much the fall, it is normally not that high from the deck to the water, but the ability to get back on the yacht. If you have a full crew to help then this may not be the issue, but many cruisers are short handed at best.

There are many things to consider if you intend shorthanding with a harness, do you go forward on the low or high side, it may sound like a small fact but if you fall overboard on the high (windward) side then its a long way up. Another factor is how far back your jacklines go, too far and you end up 2 feet behind the boat. Another point of argument is the jacklines themselves, wire or webbing. Webbing may loose some of its strength due to sun exposure but wire may be poor underfoot and has no give.

There are some great harnesses out there on the market, I am happy to buy a great harness and an even better lanyard, there is a lot of difference between cheap and great equipment, and the price is not a true reflection of this. Great equipment is not that much more expensive when you consider the possible outcomes.

There are many things to consider regarding staying on board, everyone will have their own opinion, so take in all the options and make your own decisions, I have.
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Old 24-04-2009, 07:17   #5
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I don't know what brand my harness is. I do know that if I hadn't worn it. I wouldn't be typing today.....wear the harness!.............i2f
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Old 03-05-2009, 17:15   #6
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I don't know what brand my harness is. I do know that if I hadn't worn it. I wouldn't be typing today.....wear the harness!.............i2f
I'll second that!! We always wear our Mustang Auto-Inflate PFD's with the built in Harness...made for sailing, and even though we now have a trawler, we still always wear them when on the water (away from the dock)....and I still have the safety straps to secure us to the boat if we have to go on deck in rough seas..... I won't bore you with my adventure out in the Gulf of Mexico one night.....had the PFD/Harness on....screwed up though and didn't hook up.....went overboard......Happy I'm here to laugh about it now...
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Old 03-05-2009, 18:53   #7
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Quote:
we still always wear them when on the water
You never know when you really need them so you have to have them on to have a shot. The element of surprise take it's share of able sailors.
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Old 03-05-2009, 19:52   #8
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They are really good until they fail.
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Old 04-05-2009, 08:38   #9
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They are really good until they fail.
I would think that would just about cover everything in life......i2f
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Old 04-05-2009, 18:12   #10
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I just did the sea survival course - the one you need to do offshore races down here.
The instructor told told us he recently did a test on inflatable lifejackets with local marina staff who have to wear them. 50% failed to inflate.
The good ones have crotch straps so they won't go over your head, more importantly they hold you in the correct position in the water.
He was emphatic that there is enormous difference between different models/brands. He was very scathing of the toy ones they have on planes.
I wrote it up here:
Seawise Survival Course
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Old 04-05-2009, 18:13   #11
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Old 04-05-2009, 18:52   #12
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With the 5000# test requirment, they will not fail.

Quote:
Originally Posted by kismet View Post
They are really good until they fail.
Without a full body harness to distribute the force, it will hurt and possibly break bones. There is NO force distribution requirment in the code, other than 2" minimum webbing.

Also, anyone wearing a harness, fitted loose over lots of clothes is an optomist.

There are several solutions:
* Wear a full body harness with a high tie-in. Right. No one will do it.
* Wear the harness almost snug and right up under the arms. Low an loose is for folks who don't plan to use it; what climbers call "pycological protection." Something that makes you feel better. Even tight, still bad if it is a hard fall with some air time.
* Put some shock absorption into the system. OSHA requires shock absorbing lanyards. Rock climbers use both shock absorbing runners (I believe Jeff Lowe invented the idea in the late 70s) and energy absorbing ropes. Yates SCREAMERS The down side is that if there is too much stretch, the chance of going over the rail increases. The "sceemers" (catchy name!) limit the additional stretch to 1-2 feet and will keep the strain below the rib-breakage point.
* Ideally, the jack line system should make reaching the rail impossible, so an impact is not so bad. I have a catamaran, which is wide, so it works for me.

If you are concerned, take a look at the "screemers" or the equivallent. They have been around for 25 years and are very simple and reliable. The OHSA versions are too big.
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Old 04-05-2009, 19:11   #13
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[quote=Just a Tinch;279584]I'll second that!! We always wear our Mustang Auto-Inflate PFD's with the built in Harness...quote]

As you say ... good to use protection, its no use left in the drawer.

Even if you don't use this SOP, an easy trick is to have different coloured lifelines on each lifejacket. Regular crew can then pick their jacket quickly as they get on the boat, or when risks rise and time is scarce.

Modern jackets with harnesses are very comfortable in temperate areas. Mine is so good that I packed up the boat last weekend, and drove halfway home before realising that I was still wearing protection ...
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Old 23-12-2009, 22:46   #14
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Originally Posted by maxingout View Post
Before we started our circumnavigation, I hoisted my teenage kids a few feet off the deck by halyard and safety harness to show them the stresses that the safety harness impose on their chest and body as a whole. It's a good lesson to take safety harnesses seriously,
I wish that people approving yachting harnesses did that sort of test them-selves. As soon as the harness at post 1 takes the load of a body it hurts under the arms, squeezes the chest and quickly become unbearable, and is unusable with a conventional life jacket (non inflatable). Interestingly that type of harness seems to be universal for “yachts people”. Watching some documentaries lately, reenactments of Magellan and Cook’s voyages and some tall ships sailing, I noted that none of the crews on board these ships did wear that type of “yachts people harness”, but did wear the more traditional waist harness, sometimes equipped with double crotch strap, a type of harness that I can not find in OZ.
So for the time being, I will stick with the old way of waist securing that I learnt when mountaineering in the days when abseiling was done with a rope and a thick pair of trousers, which is more bearable but can not be used to suspend someone for longer than one hour. Pic 1.
For a more bearable way of been secured and suspended, for example when working on the mast, I use a simple rope harness. If required a shoulder strap can be added. Pic 2-3. It will surely be as safe as some commercial stuff. See (recall).
A simple modification of a “yachts people harness” makes a better use of one of the shoulder straps, the remaining one is worn across the chest. Pic 4.
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Quote:
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an easy trick is to have different coloured lifelines on each lifejacket.
I like this idea it as many advantages.
“ Look Mum at the color, Dad has fallen overboard!”

Merry Xmas, happy New Year and good sailing to all of you.
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Old 24-12-2009, 00:45   #15
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What I want is...

What I'm looking for in a harness is something that will keep me from getting into trouble in the first place.

I found a brief summary of harness types here.



Now I can only see a fall arrest harness being useful if I'm working on the mast, but in that case a suspension system may be more useful.

Most of the harness available seem to be predicated on the assumption that help is only a few minutes away. I can imaging that for a Cruiser help may be a long time coming and may never arrive.

Maybe what I want is a restraint harness, maybe even just a restraint belt. Trouble is, I have no knowledge of where to get one, how to set it up and how to use it.


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