Yeah knee pads are a great idea. I'm always forgetting them it seems.
My boat gets kind of tossed around at times. Even when it's not getting tossed around it seems kind of odd to stand up and walk around on deck
Under sail when going forward for me it's more of a crawl than anything else most of the time. When the boat is getting tossed around every movement becomes a chore and requires singular focus to avoid getting banged up and using more energy than necessary.
But I like that usually. I find a certain meditative pace to having to place each hand and foot individually and carefully while predicting what the next move will be. It's very much like rock climbing.
When it's tossing like that I'm almost always connected to the boat even in the cockpit
. With the long tether on the padeye at the hatch
I can steer the boat, tack the boat, get up to the mast
etc. If I need to go forward for a sail change I'll clip to the jackline which is a permanently attached wire on my boat.
Another thing I've done is to weave a net from the toe rail to the top of the life line aft to the mast
and then from the toe rail to the middle life line aft of that until getting to the cockpit
where it's laced to the top again. The cockpit actually has weather
cloth's on the lower half which I'd like to ultimately carry all the way around the stern. The weather
cloth's really add to the sense of security
in the cockpit. The only way you're falling out of the cockpit is to go up over the rail.
This lace is done with Amsteel and it's plenty strong enough to hold you should you get pushed over the side by a wave. I figure several strands would catch you so even with a heavy hit you'll be prevented from going over. You can see some of this in the picture attached.
I've gotten very comfortable with the lacing and when I step on a boat that doesn't have it, which is most, I feel exposed to the sea. It seems odd and unsafe to me to have those wide open spaces under the lifelines
It's also very convenient in other ways. I can toss bumpers up onto the deck
and they don't fall over. I can set a sail up there and it doesn't fall over. Groceries, water
, etc are all easier to deal with when you don't have to worry about them falling over the side.
You've all seen this on racing
boats on the foredeck to keep sails
aboard. All I did was to make it crazy strong using Amsteel and bring it all the way aft but leave the midsection upper lifeline free so that you can reach through to run a buoy line or whatever.
If you've done this and you are crawling on your knees you are very unlikely to go over the side. If for some reason you do you'll have to go up over the lifelines
and the tether will keep you from going much farther whereas without it you can be washed right through the lifelines at deck level and possibly drown quickly if your tether is too long.
Of course none of that takes care of the problem of letting your guard down in calm weather. I just keep reminding myself that death awaits me on the other side of the rail and that one little gasoline powered wave unseen and coming from a boat over the horizon can throw you over the side as it disturbs the otherwise regular motion you may have adjusted to. So I use the harness when it's almost ridiculous to do so, and if I'm not clipped in I'm down on my knees.
But we're thread drifting I guess. It sounds like this story started with going aloft. That brings up another can of worms in my infinite list of opinions. I go aloft in a climbing harness. There's no possibility of falling then but of course you could still get banged up. A climbing helmet might not be a bad idea for going aloft at sea. One of my peeves has been steps on the mast. So you climb up those 'oh so useful' steps and get to where you need to do something then you let go and start working on the thing.....? Steps on the mast.... don't get me started with steps on the mast.