I'd say the stern cage is almost equally essential. Besides safety
and convenience, where else would you hang your man overboard gear
, BBQ, fishing
lines, drying clothes, yada, yada, yada.
may not seem to add a lot of extra safety
compared to a good non-skid on the deck
and gunwales of a decent height, but with the usual half-inch aluminium profile they do, methinks. When you slip, you go overboard
feet first more often than head
first, and then you do get caught by the wires. At least, I was once.