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Old 09-10-2012, 08:17   #31
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Re: Saftey gear in cockpit

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Originally Posted by Bash View Post
Throwables first. They not only mark the spot, but they provide the overboard person additional flotation, which can be helpful even in a PFD is being worn.

I'm going to hit the MOB button and start the figure-eight maneuver before I even think about getting out the Lifesling.

One item of ready-in-the-cockpit gear that you haven't mentioned is a good boathook. That can help in situations were a lifesling is nearly useless, like when the MOB is unconscious. Or when you've lost your favorite ball cap.

If you deploy the lifesling immediately, then begin the recommended recovery technique which is to immediately tack without touching the sails... you'll have your mob in the lifesling and attached to the boat before you can complete your first figure eight. Try it... it works.

Forget thowing stuff at the man overboard, 1/2 the time the mob can't swim towards the pdf due to the water soaked clothing being worn. The mob will be doing all they can just to tread water.

Deploy the lifesling, then don't take your eyes off the mob whilst steering the boat.
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Old 09-10-2012, 09:35   #32
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Re: Saftey gear in cockpit

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Originally Posted by TEE View Post
After 20 years of sailing, both coastal and over 20,000 miles in open ocean passages, here is what I would recommend in the cockpit and readily handy for coastal sailing. What should actually be in the cockpit depends a lot on the size of the crew, the state of the weather, the experience of the crew, and the type of boat involved. I am presuming you are talking about a 30 - 40 foot cruising sailboat here. Of course the best safety equipment anybody can carry on a boat is caution. Secondly, the more stuff you have, the more stuff to go out of date eventually, needing replacement, or needing education amongst those who might have occasion to need it at some time. By coastal I am also presuming you are not going substantially out of sight of land.

First, I would have an inflatable pfd with a built in harness for everyone on the boat. Since people usually don't wear their pfds all of the time, you also will have to pack a solid pfd i.e,. the big orange for everyone if you want to meet coast guard regs when they are not actually wearing their inflatable.

Along with the pfd, have a tether for every crew, and some substantial pad eyes with backing plates or other deck hardware for them to be clipped to if the weather pipes up. If you have a cabin below, there should be a way for crew to clip on before entering the cockpit, and a way for them to move clipped if necessary.

The companion way should have the ability to secure the hatchboards so they cannot come out if locked.

I don't use jacklines in ordinary circumstances, but if you are sailing in rough conditions or overnight they are a good idea.

Every pfd should have a whistle and a light.

I keep a substantial fixed blade knife taped to the helm for quick access in an emergency. I also tell crew to bring their own sailing knives or give them a personal sailing knife to use if they don't have one.

A pair of multipliers is a neccesity in my opinion.

You can meet the USCG safety minimums for signaling pretty easily, but I think having three SOLAS hand helds, three rocket flares, and at least one smoke is a good idea.

A waterproof high intensity flashlight.

A fire extinguisher where it can be accessed without getting into the engine compartment. If the boat is a larger boat, you will need a minimum of at least two extinguishers.

A handheld VHF and a GPS/EPIRB unit is a good idea also.

A lifesling on the stern railing ready for deployment if necessary.

A heaving life to throw to any crew that goes overboard.

Several throwable cushions that also act as seats if a MOB situation occurs.

A pair of safety glasses like those worn in factorys. If you have ever been in a big storm with water flying sideways, your eyes need some protection. Better idea is to not go out if the weather looks questionable.

You already said you had a life raft. Just make sure it stays certified and is not abused while in storage by having junk dumped on it, or placed in a damp or wet environment.

Foulies and sea boots readily handy.

You can spend a lot more by buying a lot of extra stuff I didn't mention. But if you buy it eventually it will just go out of date and you are left with replacement. Also, in a coastal situation, you are likely to get help a lot faster than in the open ocean. I would recommend a coastal version of some sort of first aid pack, but that doesn't need to be in the cockpit.

If you are sticking coastal and like to listen to the radio, and if you have a chart plotter that will support it, XM marine radio and weather is really, really useful and does a lot to enhance safety. If not, and you have a smart phone and are noy going to far out, you should be able to get a radar app and stick it on the phone to see what is moving around you occasionally.

Thats about all I can think of.

I really hadn't thought of safety goggles -- cheap and easy! But you mentioned something I've never heard of. What are multipliers?
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Old 09-10-2012, 12:02   #33
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Re: Saftey gear in cockpit

I was a US Sailing Instructor up on San Francisco Bay for a couple of years. I was also a commercial boat driver so had to do the the required USCG STCW classes and monthly training drills involving safety at sea.

On the commercial boats, everyone had a job during an emergency and practiced it montly or quarterly. Not just POB's, but fires, flooding and medical emergencies.

At the sailing school, we put togther a training class for the other instructors on MOB techniques.

Since I was also the biggest instructor, I became the guy in the water with a 8 mm wetsuit and a water helmet.

The day we did the excersizes, the wind was blowing about 20 knots and there was about a 2 foot fetch.

As the guy in the water I learned a couple of valuble lessons about the lifesling.

When the lifesling was towed to me I placed it under my arms. The two crewmen began pulling me to the boat, which immediately pulled me face first into the water and chop. If I wasn't prepared for it and in a bouyant wetsuit, I probably would have panicked and slipped out of it.

Once at the boat, they used the LifeSling block and tackle to lift me from the water. It took sometime for them to set it up and several minutes to winch me back on board.

We also used several other MOB devices commonly used or found on boats.

A couple things I discovered over the years:

1) Most people don't practice with their safety gear and consiquiently loss time trying during a real emergency trying to figure out how to deploy or use the item.

2) Most sailors do not have alternate plans when Plan A doesn't work. For instance what are you going to do if the MOB is unconcious instead of concious? More than likely you will end up having to put a second crewman in the water, so do you have a line or harness for them? How about deploying the liferaft off a rolling deck?

3) On recreationl boats, most crewman are never taught to use or even shown were the safety gear is. Don't believe me... Go to a boat near you and ask the crewman what they would do in the event of a fire or flooding? Most will respond, "ask the captain what too do".

4) Most people plan and sometimes practice for an POB, but not fire, flooding or medical emergencies.

Finally, I have seen several things I don't agree with in previous postings, like not throwing liferings to persons in the water or not using lifeslings, but if they think it works for them, who am I to judge?

My advise is whatever safety equipment you carry, practice with it and not just you, but your entire crew.

Also if practical, use a real person in the water to get familiar with how things work.

On my boat, I prepared a binder that has basic instructions for emergencies, locations of safety equipment and a map of the boat showing thru hull locations.

It makes it easy to hand a new crewman the binder, have them read it through and then walk them through the boat showing them everything.
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Old 09-10-2012, 13:41   #34
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Re: Saftey gear in cockpit

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Originally Posted by SailFastTri View Post
I considered this when I brought my elderly in-laws aboard and here is what I would do:

1) Lifesling; ask MOB to place the float around back and beneath armpits.
2) Rig a snatch block to end of boom or rigging (in my boat there is a suitable quick-link on the rigging about 6 feet above deck). If using boom-end you may need a second block at toe rail to route line near-horizontal to cockpit winch.
3) Run the lifesling line through the snatch block(s) to a cockpit winch.

edit: If the MOB was wearing a PFD with harness I might use the snubber or another line to lift the person by the harness ring. Also, it doesn't take long for cold water to sap a swimmer's strength -- so this isn't just for obese or out-of-shape crew.
In real life, sitting in the LifeSling works better than having it in the armpits. Under the arms the person overboard can't use his/her hands to help with retrieval; sitting on it he/she can.
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Old 09-10-2012, 14:06   #35
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Re: Saftey gear in cockpit

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Originally Posted by Hannah on 'Rita T' View Post
In real life, sitting in the LifeSling works better than having it in the armpits. Under the arms the person overboard can't use his/her hands to help with retrieval; sitting on it he/she can.

I NEVER would have thought of that one!
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Old 09-10-2012, 15:36   #36
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Re: Saftey gear in cockpit

Regarding MOB . . . the best safety measure is to stay on the boat, and the best tool for doing that is NOT any sort of gear, but to learn how to move on the boat - always have a good firm grip on something, place your feet carefully, sit down when working with both hands, crawl when you feel unsteady. Obviously tethers/harnesses are the second line of defense after learning to move carefully.

Regarding collision avoidance . . . keeping a watch and taking early action is the essential measure. AIS is certainly a huge help in doing this, but there are many vessels not running AIS. We have found a megawatt handheld spot light the best tool for making the vessel visible when it appears the watch on the other vessel is not watching - first shining it on our mainsail makes us hugely visible and then if necessary shinning it at the other vessel . . . yes I know that's frowned upon in some circles (possibly killing the night vision on the other bridge) but it does seem to attract attention when we have had to do it. I find flares to be less effective (shorter duration, not focused), even solas ones.

I carry a knife for normal non-emergency use. We have fortunately never had to use a knife in an emergency but there are obvious possible situations where someone gets a hand or foot trapped in a line where one could save a limb. But this comes back a bit to being careful and using good basic procedure - learn how to place your hands so they can not be trapped in a winch and learn not to step in coils of line or in the 'sling shot range' of blocks that are highly loaded.

I guess my overall point is that the most important satefy step is to learn basic procedure and how to move and operate safely. These things are necessarily natural or obvious . . . they need to be learned and acquired until you do them by habit.
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Old 09-10-2012, 16:11   #37
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Re: Saftey gear in cockpit

As cooler weather approaches, this makes me think of another essential bit of safety gear; a wet suit or dry suit. Lubing the zippers is part of my (stay in the water all winter) winterization routine.

Just as one poster rightly pointed out that a boat hook can help you get a hold of someone, a wet suit allows the rescuer to safely enter the water. It could be a matter of "rescuing" a line from the prop or rudder, or fooling with an anchor. It could be a matter of helping scared folks off a small swamped boat when it is too rough to bring them together (that happened to me once too).

It does not need to be a 3/8-inch cold water suit, even in freezing water, as you will be working hard and not in the water too long. 3/16-inch is probably enough, and many folks have these from their dingy sailing or surfing days. Just make certain it still fits!
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Old 10-10-2012, 06:28   #38
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Re: Saftey gear in cockpit

Correction to my previous post: Yes, I would deploy the two bright orange horseshoe rings with attached stropes along with the cannister marker at the same time the Lifesling is deployed. What I ment by my comment regarding not throwing stuff at the MOB was that I would not substitute pfds for a lifesling device.

One more item which hasn't been covered and we always keep in a Handy location, and have practiced using is a survival suit.... Hope to never need it, but we have two onboard.
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Old 10-10-2012, 06:55   #39
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Re: Saftey gear in cockpit

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Correction to my previous post: Yes, I would deploy the two bright orange horseshoe rings with attached stropes along with the cannister marker at the same time the Lifesling is deployed. What I ment by my comment regarding not throwing stuff at the MOB was that I would not substitute pfds for a lifesling device.

One more item which hasn't been covered and we always keep in a Handy location, and have practiced using is a survival suit.... Hope to never need it, but we have two onboard.

Don't have that, but I have three thermal blankets in the first aid kit. They take up an incredibly small amount of space. I also have a couple of thermal turtlenecks and thermal long socks I can put someone in if they've been chilled. These items stay warm when wet (according to the mfg).
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Old 10-10-2012, 07:29   #40
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Re: Saftey gear in cockpit

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Don't have that, but I have three thermal blankets in the first aid kit. They take up an incredibly small amount of space. I also have a couple of thermal turtlenecks and thermal long socks I can put someone in if they've been chilled. These items stay warm when wet (according to the mfg).


Survival suits are those red, buoyant Gumby suits one wears if the need to abandon ship arises and the need to get into a liferaft along with your ditch bag.

Add a well-equipped ditch bag to everyone's safety equipment list
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Old 10-10-2012, 07:47   #41
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Re: Saftey gear in cockpit

Just to keep the bigger picture in perspective . . .

The brits did a study during world war II of survival in life boats (from torpedoed convoy ships). Their (Eric Lee, Secretary of the Naval Lifesaving Committee) conclusion was that the mental aspects were much more important to safety and survival and the level of safety equipment almost irrelevant: “Men with a minimum of equipment, but with a strong will to live, survived for long periods, whereas other men with ample equipment succumbed in less.”
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Old 10-10-2012, 08:00   #42
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Re: Saftey gear in cockpit

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If you deploy the lifesling immediately, then begin the recommended recovery technique which is to immediately tack without touching the sails... you'll have your mob in the lifesling and attached to the boat before you can complete your first figure eight. Try it... it works.

Forget thowing stuff at the man overboard, 1/2 the time the mob can't swim towards the pdf due to the water soaked clothing being worn. The mob will be doing all they can just to tread water.

Deploy the lifesling, then don't take your eyes off the mob whilst steering the boat.

And practice it, because a lot of people aren't skilled at single-handing, and that's exactly what you need if there were only two on the boat, or if you have three left on the boat but one of them is on the sail at the boom trying to keep an eye on the mob ...
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Old 10-10-2012, 08:02   #43
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Re: Saftey gear in cockpit

Also, I disagree with "not throwing anything." It can help you know where to go for the rescue. If your boat is sailing at 6 knots you're going to move away from this person VERY quickly. You need all the help you can get to get your crewmember back.
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Old 10-10-2012, 08:11   #44
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Re: Saftey gear in cockpit

We have life jackets below deck in the salon, only wear these if are in a storm and the seas are very rough. A life sling bag in a locker in the cockpit. Very rarely do we have a tether on while in the cockpit. At night we start out with it, but after a few days they seem to stay on the seat. Never go on deck at night or bad weather unless we have too, then we do tether. We go on deck in good weather without the tether. GPS with charts is in the cockpit with paper charts as backup.
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Old 10-10-2012, 08:16   #45
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Re: Saftey gear in cockpit

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Just to keep the bigger picture in perspective . . .

The brits did a study during world war II of survival in life boats (from torpedoed convoy ships). Their (Eric Lee, Secretary of the Naval Lifesaving Committee) conclusion was that the mental aspects were much more important to safety and survival and the level of safety equipment almost irrelevant: “Men with a minimum of equipment, but with a strong will to live, survived for long periods, whereas other men with ample equipment succumbed in less.”


You must be kidding... "A strong will to survive" won't work for very long whilst in cold water wearing only your underpants.
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