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Old 10-11-2010, 08:34   #1
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Lifelines Required ?

Are life lines required on a sailboat?
I often see new power boats with no rails or lifelines on the bow, which got me wondering if having rails and/or lifelines is required by law or insurance in the US or internationally.

I have never seen a monohull sailboat sans lifelines.
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Old 10-11-2010, 08:46   #2
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They are required by the ISAF racing rules, but not by government or insurance.

There are a few classic monohull designs that don't have lifelines.
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Old 10-11-2010, 08:49   #3
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Life lines are very much a personal choice... they're found on many sailboats and are used by many sailors... but there's also a few who disdain them... prefering to rely on their own abilities/beliefs....
Though I wonder if your refering to Guardrails.... many modern M/boats do not have those fitted...
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Old 10-11-2010, 08:52   #4
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There's a Kettenburg in my marina with no life lines. The traditional flush deck boats look good without them. They've saved my ass a few times.
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Old 10-11-2010, 08:52   #5
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Yes motorboats have the guardrails, and i have started seeing the newer ones with out them. Which is what prompted me to ask about the sailboats. I dont think i have ever seen a sailboat, lets say over 32ft that didnt have lifelines. Assuming i am using the term correctly. The lines that encompass the decks perimeter.
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Old 10-11-2010, 08:55   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Ruf361 View Post
Yes motorboats have the guardrails, and i have started seeing the newer ones with out them. Which is what prompted me to ask about the sailboats. I dont think i have ever seen a sailboat, lets say over 32ft that didnt have lifelines. Assuming i am using the term correctly. The lines that encompass the decks perimeter.
Here's a Kettenburg, no lifelines. You're right in your terminology, and you're right that they're very common.

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Old 10-11-2010, 08:58   #7
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for some reason i cant view that pic, it might be cut and pasted from a site that my firewall at work blocks.

Also, is there information on the weight capacity of life lines or the posts(?) that hold them? I am 270lbs, I have a feeling if i were to have a slip and grab on to one of those, the damage to the boat might be more than the damage to my ego.
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Old 10-11-2010, 08:58   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Ruf361 View Post
Yes motorboats have the guardrails, and i have started seeing the newer ones with out them. Which is what prompted me to ask about the sailboats. I dont think i have ever seen a sailboat, lets say over 32ft that didnt have lifelines. Assuming i am using the term correctly. The lines that encompass the decks perimeter.
To me Lifelines are the wires that run along the deck either side from the cockpit to the bow... when going forward to do something you clip your Harness to one of them... for security
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Old 10-11-2010, 09:02   #9
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exactly. though most of these run around the entire boat if i am not mistaken. maybe not the aft most portions. If you were to fall overboard, how much weight can those support before pulling the post out of the deck? typically. i am sure there are 500 different size posts, screws plates etc, but i am assuming most of these are standard.
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Old 10-11-2010, 09:13   #10
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Navy Academy/ USSail safety study found the pulpits were the weak points. Lots of other interesting safety studies at this site.

December 1998 Lifeline Study

John
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Old 10-11-2010, 09:13   #11
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I am sure that there are a few exceptions without lifelines/guard lines and acetically as the Kettenburg picture shows they would not necessarily add to its looks. I do not have ocean crossing experience but I do cross seas and as such I believe for safety reasons they...or an adequete "safety" alternative... are extremely important, unless sailing in very protected waters and even then i would want them.

As others have stated they have saved lives.

For the heavier individual such as Ruf361 they are useful, but in rough weather and nastly waves, with the possibity of accelerated motion then a harnass attached to secure points able to take the strain would IMHO be necessary.

Notwithstanding the above the Kattenburg looks beautiful.

Regards

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Old 10-11-2010, 09:19   #12
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Some of the ISAF requirements:

TABLE 8
**
LOA minimum wire or rope diameter
under 8.5m (28ft) 3 mm (1/8 in)
8.5m - 13m 4 mm (5/32 in)

over 13m (43ft) 5 mm (3/16 in)

All wire, fittings, anchorage points, fixtures and lanyards shall comprise
a lifeline enclosure system which has at all points at least the breaking
strength of the required lifeline wire.

As a guide, when a deflecting force of 50 N (5.1 kgf, 11.2 lbf ) is applied
to a lifeline midway between supports, the lifeline should not deflect more
than 50 mm.
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Old 10-11-2010, 09:23   #13
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Would someone be so kind as to save that picture to their local hard drive and post it up here in that route so I can view it please.

Also, I am not debating the usefulness of lifelines in any fashion. I was asking if they are required by law or insurance as I have never seen a large sailboat without them. I work in industrial construction; often find myself 200ft off the ground, walking on a pipe or beam 4" in diameter or less, with nothing to hold on to. You bet your sweet ass I am tied off to something above or below me. I fully understand the safety of having something to tie off to. I am accustomed to the "100%" tie off method. Which means you would need to secure a tie off point before releasing from your current tie off. The lifeline system is most conducive for this because your tie point moves with you.

There are alternatives, like having tie off points, or little loops or eyelets placed around your deck that could function in the same manner. Although lifeline I think are invaluable when it comes to the "lush" category of friends. Though a trip overboard might be very amusing at times.
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Old 10-11-2010, 09:26   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by estarzinger View Post
Some of the ISAF requirements:



TABLE 8
**
LOA minimum wire or rope diameter
under 8.5m (28ft) 3 mm (1/8 in)
8.5m - 13m 4 mm (5/32 in)
over 13m (43ft) 5 mm (3/16 in)

All wire, fittings, anchorage points, fixtures and lanyards shall comprise
a lifeline enclosure system which has at all points at least the breaking

strength of the required lifeline wire.

As a guide, when a deflecting force of 50 N (5.1 kgf, 11.2 lbf ) is applied
to a lifeline midway between supports, the lifeline should not deflect more

than 50 mm.

ISAF applies only to racing? Sorry I am ignorant to the acronyms.
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Old 10-11-2010, 09:32   #15
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there is no "law" written that requires using them. If you're offshore racing the "rules" of the sailing event may require them (IE isaf). They are handy for many things, but not required for insurance or legal aspects.

edit: For pleasure use, for charter operations there may be a legal requirement to have them.
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