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Old 13-09-2011, 19:41   #1
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Is a Lifesling an Acceptable Substitute for a Ring Buoy ?

Saw this as under the description on a site that was selling them.

Quote:
USCG approved Type V, which substitutes for a Type IV throwable life-ring or horseshoe buoy on both recreational and commercial vessels
Is this true, on a commercial vessel? I hope so, since I already have a Lifesling.
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Old 13-09-2011, 19:58   #2
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Re: Is a Lifesling an acceptable substitute for a ring buoy?

has horseshoe ring, yes?
if so--yes
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Old 13-09-2011, 20:48   #3
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Re: Is a Lifesling an acceptable substitute for a ring buoy?

From the Lifesling website, only the Lifesling2 is USCG approved. "The USCG-approved Life Sling 2 is the most compact, economical, and effective solid lifesaver unit on the high seas. Stanchion-mounted, the Lifesling2 pack contains a pliable center section horseshoe, 120' of 3/8" floating polypropylene line, and an optional water-activated personal marker light."
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Old 13-09-2011, 22:17   #4
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Re: Is a Lifesling an acceptable substitute for a ring buoy?

the difference is that the sling is tethered to the boat. If the MOB doesnt get to it fast enough, it will get towed away from him by the boat. Possibly not a problem in fair weather, but in nasty conditions, it could be a real problem.
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Old 13-09-2011, 22:56   #5
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And the cover or bag that the life sling comes in is a piece of crap.......uv just eats em up. Every one I have ever seen that is a couple years old , the straps that secure it to the stanchion are rotten. So about the time you need it , it wil prolly fall off the boat with the weight of somebody overboard dragging on it.....
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Old 13-09-2011, 23:03   #6
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Re: Is a Lifesling an acceptable substitute for a ring buoy?

I understand they are approved in the US, I have one on my boat that came from there. To comply with Canadian regs. I had to purchase a ring. They are not approved here. The ring is also supposed to be attached to the vessel with a 5o ft. floating line. My personal opinion is that the Canadian reg is just another money grab.
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Old 14-09-2011, 06:51   #7
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Re: Is a Lifesling an acceptable substitute for a ring buoy?

The bag is a POS, but they also make a fiberglass case for it.
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Old 14-09-2011, 07:24   #8
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Re: Is a Lifesling an acceptable substitute for a ring buoy?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Svsilvergirl View Post
And the cover or bag that the life sling comes in is a piece of crap.......uv just eats em up. Every one I have ever seen that is a couple years old , the straps that secure it to the stanchion are rotten. So about the time you need it , it wil prolly fall off the boat with the weight of somebody overboard dragging on it.....
There are way around that. But most importantly is that the sling itself is supposed to be attached to the boat, not the bag. The bitter end of the line comes out of the bag at the bottom to be tied off, so you're not counting on the bag. Even if the bag is brand new, thinking that it is designed to carry the load is just... unsafe.

It's important to know how your safety equipment works. And if at all possible, practice using it.

Please don't assume that I get around to following my own advice on that one. I seem to work on, "I bought it and that's good enough".
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Old 14-09-2011, 07:44   #9
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Guilty as charged , I don't think I ever looked to see how the better end is attached . It lives in my lazarette now because the bag is falling apart . I have ahorseshoe ring on the stern rail , that has a line attached . Don't remember seeing any exit holes in the life sling bag
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Old 14-09-2011, 08:00   #10
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Re: Is a Lifesling an acceptable substitute for a ring buoy?

I have two Lifeslings onboard. But they are the original version, which is NOT USCG approved. Only the Lifesling 2 is approved and I think they have altered the "horseshoe" to get the approval. I still have to have the "throwable cushions."
- - I solved the bag UV problem by sewing up Sunbrella covers that slip over the bag and are held in position by Velco. However, the "end" that is tied to the stanchion base rotted away after 10 years. I just cut off the bad part and retied it.
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Old 14-09-2011, 08:46   #11
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Re: Is a Lifesling an acceptable substitute for a ring buoy?

The Life-Sling can be an effective tool for recovering a MOB but it is not a substitute for other flotation gear. One needs to get something in the water quickly that the MOB can swim to and will help support him/her while the Life-Sling is deployed and the yacht returns. In additon to the Life-Sling, we have a Horse-Shoe bouy with an attached strobe light that can be dropped into the sea at a moment's notice; and, an inflatable life ring in a heaving cannister that can be thrown to/toward the MOB that inflates when it hits the water.

Having once been knocked off the foredeck of a boat at sea, I can attest that the separate flotation gear is very necessary to give the MOB the greatest liklihood of survival and recovery. Floating around treading water while one watches the mast-head of one's boat disappear over ones fore-shortened horizon is not where one wants to be. The flotation gear helps.

FWIW...
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Old 14-09-2011, 08:48   #12
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Re: Is a Lifesling an acceptable substitute for a ring buoy?

Quote:
Originally Posted by svHyLyte View Post
The Life-Sling can be an effective tool for recovering a MOB but it is not a substitute for other flotation gear. One needs to get something in the water quickly that the MOB can swim to and will help support him/her while the Life-Sling is deployed and the yacht returns. In additon to the Life-Sling, we have a Horse-Shoe bouy with an attached strobe light that can be dropped into the sea at a moment's notice; and, an inflatable life ring in a heaving cannister that can be thrown to/toward the MOB that inflates when it hits the water.

Having once been knocked off the foredeck of a boat at sea, I can attest that the separate flotation gear is very necessary to give the MOB the greatest liklihood of survival and recovery. Floating around treading water while one watches the mast-head of one's boat disappear over ones fore-shortened horizon is not where one wants to be. The flotation gear helps.

FWIW...
Have it all happen in heavy fog and you have described what happened to a friend of mine. Fortunately his companion was not disoriented by the fog and was able to return to him. They were towing a dinghy, and on her third pass he was able to grab it.
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Old 14-09-2011, 08:54   #13
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Re: Is a Lifesling an acceptable substitute for a ring buoy?

Note exactly on topic, but I heard a terrific talk this summer from one of the safety experts at US Sailing that focused on the use of the Lifesling. Some takeaways:
  1. Tie the line off to a secure point, but make sure that none of the underlying polypropylene line is exposed to the sun. It degrades really fast.
  2. Especially for those who cruise shorthanded -- put a loop in the line at a point towards the horseshoe that allows a weaker crewmember to loop the line over a solid attachment point (cleat or winch) along the side of the boat with the person in the water's head clear of the water. It will give the rescuer time to catch their breath and figure out next steps at a point that the person in the water is relatively safe.
  3. Tie knots in the line every 2-3 feet for the last 10-20 feet of the line to allow the person in the water to both know the end of the line is coming and, if necessary, pull themselves along the knots to the horseshoe.
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Old 14-09-2011, 09:32   #14
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Re: Is a Lifesling an acceptable substitute for a ring buoy?

BTW - I just got off the phone with the USCG. They told me the Lifesling is NOT approved as a substitute on commercial vessels.
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Old 14-09-2011, 09:36   #15
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Re: Is a Lifesling an acceptable substitute for a ring buoy?

Owning two Lifeslings, I would disagree with some of the US Sailing points about usage. The polyprop line is small/thin and is indeed UV intolerant. But tying knots in the line is both useless and compromises the strength of the line.
- - Tying knots in any marine line can seriously jeopardize the line's strength. Brian Toss has some good practical measurements on this subject.
- - Tying knots in Lifesling polyprop line would be totally ineffective in affording the person in the water any resistance or better grip on the line. In fact, the nature of the polyprop line with a knot would be painful if not harmful to somebody grabbing and trying to hold on to the line. The "horseshoe" is very large and easy to grab in a "death grip." Of course, how the person on the boat maneuvers the boat to place the Lifesling within reach of the MOB is 99% of the effort.

- - As Grunzster states, Commercial vessels have different requirements for PFD's than private recreational vessels. See: http://www.uscg.mil/hq/cg5/cg5214/pfdselection.asp

- - As to having available independent of the boat "throwable" life poles, cushions, etc. as mentioned by svHylite is very important. One great story of such a situation was published a decade ago by Cruising World mag. A couple of boats were crossing the Atlantic to Gibraltar when the lead boat got into a "blow" for a few days. Their ship's cat got really spooked and during a crew watch change, bolted up out of the cabin into the cockpit just as a boarding wave pooped the boat. Cat went over the side and the couple frantically deployed the MOB pole and life ring.
- - They spent a day circling the area looking for the cat and could not even find the 10ft tall pole much less the cat. With great grief they sailed on to Gibraltar. Two days later their buddy boat arrived at Gibraltar and the grieving couple noticed the boat was heading dead at them and not slowing down. At the last moment the boat stopped inches from from them and on the bow was the cat which jumped back onto its home boat.
- - Later over sundowners the buddy boat recounted that they noticed a MOB pole and flag off to their starboard and altered course to see what was what. They found the cat thoroughly attached to the floating life ring and recognized it as their friend's pet. Worked out that the cat had held onto that life ring for 2 days.
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