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Old 30-03-2019, 11:02   #1
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Life Jackets

The latest MOB thread got me thinking how bad it is that we don't really wear life jackets except in bad weather.


This is a really bad habit, because not all MOB occurs in bad weather. Plus the MOB beacons are in the life jackets, so if you go over you not only have no flotation, you've got no beacon


I have Seago 275N life jackets for the watch (and several 170N ones for others -- and for the dinghy etc.). I've had these for 10 years and service and test them regularly and like them, and their high quality is testified by their continuing excellent performance.



However, they are fairly bulky and fairly heavy and I think that creates a serious disincentive to wearing them in other than bad weather. "Bad weather", on this boat, at these latitudes, means probably F7 and above, so it means we are routinely without life jackets even in pretty lively weather.



Maybe I should acquire a couple of the smaller Spinlock (local brand; three or four doors down from me ) Deckvests, for use in better weather? These are light and super comfortable and don't seem like they would get in the way much.





Does anyone use different lifejackets, for different weather? Is it a waste of time -- is that not enough flotation to help you, when kitted out with cold weather clothing?


I'll be interested to know what others do.
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Old 30-03-2019, 11:31   #2
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Re: Life Jackets

We wear inflatable life jackets with crotch straps and integral harness anytime the wind is over 15-17 knots, plus we remain nearly all the time within the center cockpit where there's almost no chance of falling overboard. We also use tethers attached inside the cockpit when the wind picks up above 20 knots.
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Old 30-03-2019, 11:37   #3
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Re: Life Jackets

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Originally Posted by Kenomac View Post
We wear inflatable life jackets with crotch straps anytime the wind is over 15-17 knots, plus we remain nearly all the time within the center cockpit where there's almost no chance of going overboard.
This is procedure on my boats. The inflatable jackers are small and comfortable so easy to wear, even in warm weather.

Settled weather, daylight, in the cockpit, no harness or jacket required. Otherwise, wear a jacket and if on deck a harness.
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Old 30-03-2019, 11:44   #4
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Re: Life Jackets

We wear our inflatables (older Mustangs) all the time when we’re underway. They also have the built-in harness, which makes clipping into the backlines very easy.

I wear them b/c they are innocuous. I come from a wilderness canoeing background where I rarely wore my lifejacket because of the bulk and annoyance. I would not wear a bulky lifejacket all the time on my sailboat, but I find my inflatable to be barely noticeable, so why not.

Another fun fact (which I’m sure you all know), an inflatable lifejacket is not a legal lifejacket if it is not worn. So having it accessible does not count towards the legal requirement of having a lifejacket for all crew.
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Old 30-03-2019, 11:50   #5
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Re: Life Jackets

We wear life jackets all the time. I wear them with crotch straps all the time. We're not tethered in while in San Francisco Bay but we're tethered in while offshore - all the time. If the aspriation that happens during "cold shock" doesn't kill you, then the numbing cold will because most MOBs (50% or more) aren't recovered in time before death. I don't have actual data on that, but I do know more people die without PFDs than those who do have them on when going over. It's personal preference though Mike is correct. You gotta be wearing the inflatable type to be legal unless you have some other PFD in the cockpit with you. Just have to remember to grab it first as you're going overboard ....

As to different types, I do throw on the light weight inflatable without crotch straps on nice days on the Bay and the inherently inflatable types when sailing small boats (like Cal20s) because I have gone over on those and it's costly to replace the cartridges.
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Old 30-03-2019, 12:17   #6
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Re: Life Jackets

Dockhead

we have two types of spinlocks, the 270's and the 170's. Normal weather we wear the 170's extremely heavy weather we get out the 270's. We always put on a vest when going on deck and we always wear a vest and are tethered in at night (always).
Generally we wear vests when we are alone on the watch even during the day.

Spinlocks are comfortable because they place the weight of the vest on your shoulders not you neck
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Old 30-03-2019, 12:26   #7
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Re: Life Jackets

Quote:
Originally Posted by Kenomac View Post
We wear inflatable life jackets with crotch straps and integral harness anytime the wind is over 15-17 knots, plus we remain nearly all the time within the center cockpit where there's almost no chance of falling overboard. We also use tethers attached inside the cockpit when the wind picks up above 20 knots.

That's more or less what we do, but add on wind force everywhere.




But I'm starting to question whether that's really adequate.


There's almost no risk of going overboard if you stay in the cockpit and the wind is 20 knots or so. The problem is when the weather is moderate and everyone climbs around the deck. If it's glassy smooth maybe not that big a deal, but F5 or F6? The problem is that it always happens when you least expect it.
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Old 30-03-2019, 12:29   #8
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Re: Life Jackets

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Originally Posted by carstenb View Post
Dockhead

we have two types of spinlocks, the 270's and the 170's. Normal weather we wear the 170's extremely heavy weather we get out the 270's. We always put on a vest when going on deck and we always wear a vest and are tethered in at night (always).
Generally we wear vests when we are alone on the watch even during the day.

Spinlocks are comfortable because they place the weight of the vest on your shoulders not you neck

That's kind of what I was thinking about!


You've worn my life jackets -- how does the large Spinlock compare? Is it less heavy?
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Old 30-03-2019, 12:37   #9
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Life Jackets

We have 150N and 170N (Spinlock) all very light, everyone wears while not moored or at the dock. Never went beyond F7 and tethering inside central cockpit is as from F6 with swell or F7 or if safety is not sure.
No guest has ever argued. Matter of how to introduce the obligation Seems like everyone forgets about them as they are really comfy
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Old 30-03-2019, 12:42   #10
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Re: Life Jackets

Type 3 (foam-filled non-inflatable) equipped with whistle, LED light, and folding knife.
Same vest for sailing, SUP, and kayak and all on inland lakes and rivers.
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Old 30-03-2019, 13:48   #11
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Re: Life Jackets

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Originally Posted by Dockhead View Post
That's more or less what we do, but add on wind force everywhere.




But I'm starting to question whether that's really adequate.


There's almost no risk of going overboard if you stay in the cockpit and the wind is 20 knots or so. The problem is when the weather is moderate and everyone climbs around the deck. If it's glassy smooth maybe not that big a deal, but F5 or F6? The problem is that it always happens when you least expect it.
Agreed, but MOB recovery is relatively easy in conditions under 17 knots. So as conditions increase above 15-17 knots is when I become insistant with guests that they put on a life jacket, then add a tether above 20 knots. It also depends on boat size, on our Oyster 62 things remain fairly begnin up to 30 knots with healing easily controlled with hydraulic sail controls.

So basically.... it depends.
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Old 30-03-2019, 14:17   #12
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Re: Life Jackets

We've pretty much got a full enclosure so if guests are staying in the cockpit I won't insist they wear their life jackets. But they are responsible for trying one on at the trip start and bringing it on deck every morning and keeping it where it is accessible. Crew wears their inflatables from engine start to engine off.

Quixotically enough we are not so anal about it when it comes to the dinghy, which given the water temps we usually sail in is pretty stupid.
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Old 30-03-2019, 15:46   #13
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Re: Life Jackets

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Originally Posted by Mike OReilly View Post
Another fun fact (which I’m sure you all know), an inflatable lifejacket is not a legal lifejacket if it is not worn. So having it accessible does not count towards the legal requirement of having a lifejacket for all crew.
Inflatables that have certain features do not need to be worn to count, at least in the US. I got this one to increase the legal capacity for my boat without buying more foam: https://www.defender.com/product.jsp...0067&id=902554
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Old 30-03-2019, 16:11   #14
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Re: Life Jackets

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Originally Posted by Mike OReilly View Post
We wear our inflatables (older Mustangs) all the time when we’re underway.


I singlehanded down to Honduras and back last year from Nth FL and there was a couple of times I threw on my inflatable lifejacket......an older mustang. I did attach a line to the harness......for giggles.

So about a week after I got back I went aboard and found my life jacket had self inflated.....and deflated. After inspection I found it was basically falling apart.

I inflated another older mustang I had aboard and exactly the same thing.

To be fair , these units were over ten years old. I talked with Mustang.....just curious what they thought. Too old. Fair enough.

Upon reflection, had I had gone overboard I would have been most upset to find my lifejacket useless.

So......ya'll may want to have a think about maybe that lifekacket you are wearing every time you step foot aboard is useless. Maybe.
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Old 30-03-2019, 16:15   #15
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Re: Life Jackets

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Originally Posted by Kenomac View Post
Agreed, but MOB recovery is relatively easy in conditions under 17 knots. . . .

MOB recovery can be "relatively easy" in F4 and below, but may not be easy at all, and especially not in cold water. How many sailors have died going overboard in F4 and below.



If you go over without a beacon in a brisk F4, you're out of sight in no time, and may not be found. That will produce enough sea to obscure the victim from sight in seconds. No life jacket, no beacon, in most cases.



And it's dangerous to be in cold water without a life jacket even in calm conditions. The victim becomes debilitated in no time, and if he doesn't drown straight away, he will still soon not be able to hold onto to a line or use a lifesling. So then you have a really major problem getting him back on board, especially if there is only one other person on board. With no life jacket you don't even have anything to clip a line onto.



So this is a serious issue and I'm afraid many of us, including me, are perhaps too complacent about it, hence this thread. Carsten's practice seems like a very good one to me.
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