Mailport: May 2012
I have been following the safety tether discussion for quite some time. I am familiar with a type of quick-release buckle that might be applicable to harness-tether systems. I am a whitewater kayaking instructor on the South Fork American River. There is a category of whitewater PFDs known as a “Rescue” PFD that has a belt with a quick-release buckle rated for load. It is intended to allow swiftwater rescuers to be lowered into a turbulent river and release the buckle under tension, if needed, in an emergency to release from the lowering/rescue line. When the buckle is released, the belt slips free (bitter end). Normally, there is a stainless O-ring threaded through the belt/PFD that is the anchor point for the rescue line or locking carabiner; the O-ring usually is at the center of the rescuers back in this application. When the belt slips free, it releases the O-ring, which remains securely fastened to the rescue line but no longer to the person.
You can see an example of this at www.coloradokayak.com/Astral-QR-Rescue-Belt.html. The belt will hold a very high load and is designed not to release accidentally. It has a red ball that is easy to locate blindly. Some technical info is available at www.whitewater-rescue.com.
I think this could be integrated into an offshore PFD design.
1978 Ranger 22 #200
So. Lake Tahoe, Calif.
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