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Old 28-04-2015, 21:25   #1
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hight of life lines?

on a 30 ish foot mono hull sailboat what is the acceptable hight of life lines?

thanks
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Old 28-04-2015, 21:43   #2
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Re: hight of life lines?

unfortunately, the length of the average persons legs do not change proportionately to the length of the boat. Are you designing for strength and safety or looks? I have 34" stanchions and railings but it is a 55' LOD vessel so they look fine. What amazes me is the 24" flimsy tubes on even medium size craft in the 36-45' range. They often feel as though I could rip them right out of the deck with little effort. If it is going to be considered a safety item, size them accordingly. If you feel that taller is too much in your face then at least make them strong so you have something to rely on. Often the strength of the bases is key. Walk around the marina and have a good look at various installations.
Another way of looking at it , is if good stanchions are put on, even 27", they may become a future positive selling point of the boat.

cheerio, Greg
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Old 28-04-2015, 22:22   #3
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Re: hight of life lines?

I seem to recall something from the Pardey's that they rigged temporary lifelines from their rigging about 4ft high when offshore. For most boats the existing lifelines are just about right for tripping you right over the side. I don't trust them in anything but the calmest conditions. If it is a bit boisterous I'll trust a harness to keep me on board.


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Old 28-04-2015, 23:41   #4
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Re: hight of life lines?

Racing rules for a yacht require:
For yachts less than 8.5 m LOA, double lifelines, minimum height 450 mm above working deck to upper line.
For yachts 8.5 m or more LOA, double lifelines, minimum 600 mm above working deck to upper line.
(Ref YA Special Regs, Part 1, section 4, regulation 3.12.5

The above is not prescriptive / universal, but if in doubt it is a good place to start
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Old 29-04-2015, 10:20   #5
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Re: hight of life lines?

Reading more on this, it appears as though there are two differing philosophies on lifelines. One is to accept the fact that they are only there to establish the edge of your world (the deck) before you are gone, the other is to actually help keep you on the right side. As I read elsewhere, lifelines are like deadlines, cross it and its over. If you look at commercial guidelines in most regions of the world, anything less than a meter or 39" isn't going to cut it. I guess the lives of recreational boaters haven't quite the same value.
Interesting points here on an old posting in 2006 Cruisersforum. Handrail Height.

Greg
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Old 29-04-2015, 12:44   #6
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Re: hight of life lines?

Just IMHO but lifelines are useless except at the hook (where would you dry your laundry?). Jackline and thether are what matters to keep you on the deck but to keep your extremities aboard low netting is much better than few wires.
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Old 29-04-2015, 12:55   #7
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Re: hight of life lines?

24" is the standard height for lifelines. Higher is better but might look out of place on a 30'ish boat.Always thought lifelines were kind of useless at 24" till I took them off to paint the deck on the boat. Nearly took a dive to the hard and was only saved by grabbing a shroud. Moved around with great trepidation after that until the lifelines were back on. Then, no problems moving about.
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Old 29-04-2015, 13:03   #8
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Re: hight of life lines?

I totally understand when people say that lifelines should not be expected to save you just when you need them, etc. But I also understand that they do provide some measure of extra safety and peace of mind. Ever noticed how naked you feel if you have ever been on to the deck of a sailboat with no lifelines at all. Makes me fee uncomfortable even at a slip.

There are times when you are just about to lose your balance and just the tiniest bit of support can catch you and make the difference from dry to wet in a heart beat. But I would never "rely" upon cable lifelines as a secure handhold. I like the poster above who said he liked to go along the deck using the more secure bolted down hardware even when not needed so as to create "muscle memory" or practice so you know where to put your hands/feet when you need to without overthinking it.

Our previous boats lifelines, all the way around, were changed by the prior owner to all tubing and at a 40" height. I loved those lifelines! I did use them at times but never when a failure could have pitched me through them, although there were some times when they did make a difference. My current wire lines make me nervous and think about changing them to all tubing at the increased height. But even raising the existing wire stanchions higher would be a huge expense so not likely to happen.

I do plan to add netting from the top wire to the rail though when I get a chance. It will certainly catch a lot of gear that might otherwise be lost and it would lessen the possibility of me going under the wires a lot. Would I bet my life on it? Not by plan, but it wouldn't make me feel bad if it did save me once by accident.

Anyone who thinks lifelines are dangerous are welcome to just remove them from their boats and see how they like it.
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Old 29-04-2015, 13:19   #9
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Re: hight of life lines?

Quote:
Originally Posted by roverhi View Post
24" is the standard height for lifelines. Higher is better but might look out of place on a 30'ish boat.

Ours are 36" but the boat is bigger. I'd not like them any lower. I've had boats from 14 ft to 42 ft. Some without lifelines and one with 24" life lines. If you are installing them why not make them safe?



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Old 29-04-2015, 20:35   #10
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Re: hight of life lines?

I also think that 24" are too short and while at times they may be helpful I believe that form dictates over function. The one question I have often wondered about, is why on most boats they are lines and not a solid railing for cruising and pleasure boats. I know there is a weight difference but it probably not all that significant. I would prefer taller rails than a 24" stanchion with flexible lines.
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Old 29-04-2015, 21:47   #11
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Re: hight of life lines?

Most all lifelines I've seen are sailboats might be adequate if one crawls. Best if they are waist-high so they will be sufficient to walk along the deck if the seas aren't rough and the boat is level.


I chose strong, steel railings waist high, and the boat is a motor vessel!


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