Originally Posted by Jon Eisberg
The list is neverending, of course...
But as to the "Most Important", that is the realization that you can't buy safety
that should inform every consideration surrounding the matter...
Very good point, especially given the dizzying array of MOB-related "safety gear" you can buy these days. In the typical case of a cruising couple where only one person would be left onboard, how is that person supposed to try and keep the MOB
in sight & turn the boat around while they're also busy throwing/releasing the pole, MOM-A, life ring, strobe light, throw line, etc., etc.?? And how many of these self-contained, sealed boxes of "safety gear" actually get serviced every year per the mfg.'s requirements? I had one (expensive) MOM-A simply disappear off the stern rail, another who's sealed container distorted from UV to the point of not being trustworthy, and a Lifesling who's pouch disintegrated after a couple of years, also on account of UV. Yes, you can now purchase
an optional Sunbrella cover for an extra $100, but it's disconcerting that gear
which is being marketed as indispensible for crew "safety" seems to be mfg. so cheaply. (By contrast, my simple horseshoe buoy has lived on my rail for the past 8 years with zero deterioration). I'm not even sure I trust the purpose-built webbing I bought for jacklines
some years back. Seems like it color-faded after only a couple of offshore
trips, and would be far too stretchy to prevent someone going over the rail.
In another related thread Kenomac recounted a real-life incident where he found his Lifesling indispensible for recovering a MOB
(and the MOB's dog), so maybe one of those devices is a good idea after all. Then again, it's not clear that a similar recovery could not have been accomplished with a simpler throw line and maybe a life ring. A simple pole makes some sense, especially since it doesn't require periodic "servicing," but it seems odd to me that they don't seem to be offered with strobe lights on top.
In short, some of the array of so-called "safety" gear
being offered may have some utility, but much of it seems either poorly constructed or otherwise unreliable in a pinch, and more importantly a potentially undesirable distraction from the more critical & pressing tasks of stopping the boat, getting turned around, marking the chartplotter
, and most critically, tying to keep the MOB in sight. It is no wonder that more experienced cruisers tend to forego such purchases in favor of preventative measures, as pointed out in the Pardey