Home Safety & Seamanship Lifejackets Harnesses

Lifejackets Harnesses

Horseshoe and Ring Buoy Mounts for PFDs

The December, 1993, issue contained an in-the-water test and evaluation of 16 different Type IV life preservers (cushions, horseshoes and ring buoys). Besides their throwability, flotation and the ease with which a person in the water can get to and utilize them, an important consideration was said to be how quickly these Coast Guard-required "throwables" can be detached from the boat and made available to the man overboard. …

Leg Straps Put the Load on Fanny

Considering the short comings of existing leg loops for harnesses, we designed an add-on set of leg loops that can transform any ISO 12401 chest harness into a harness capable of safely distributing the force of a epic fall, without adding significant weight and without inhibiting wearer moment.

Where Credit Is Due: August 2013

Two years ago, I purchased a Water Witch bilge pump switch. When it developed a glitch, I called Kathleen at Water Witch Inc.s San Diego office (www.waterwitchinc.com). She asked me a couple of questions, then assured me the replacement part would be shipped the following day. It was, followed by an email saying it had shipped. It arrived 10 days later (international), complete with a personal note. Does it better than this? I think not.

Practical Sailor Tests a Ruggedly Built Safety Harness and Tether for Kids

Never mind what your experience tells you. Children do not go to sea. At least that is the only logical conclusion we can reach as we deal with the lack of adequate offshore safety equipment for kids. In October 2006, we ran down more than a dozen life jackets for infants and toddlers. There were only a few worth writing about, and none met our full expectations. Of the lot, we pegged the MTI Adventurewear Bay Bee 201-1, the Mustang Survival MV-3150 and MV-3155, and the Sospenders 12ACH as standouts, and all of these products are still available today. In the December 2006 and January 2007 issues, we dug into the topic of safety harnesses and tethers, and the outcome was worse. One product in that test, a safety tether designed for children more than 50 pounds, snapped under the load of a 35-pound weight being dropped from six feet. The tether, from Jim Buoy, underwent an upgrade immediately after our report.

Safety Tips From the Pros

Every two years, some 150 offshore sailboats line up in Newport, RI, to race roughly 650 miles to Bermuda, a semi-tropical island in the western Atlantic, almost due east of Charleston, SC. While this is a relatively short ocean passage, it is not always an easy one. Boats have met serious gale conditions and dodged hurricanes during past editions of this race.

Rethinking MOB Prevention

Man overboard gear standards are behind the times because the sample size is tiny and the facts surrounding an accident are often clouded and disguised by difficult circumstances. But fixing this is pretty simple; piggyback on standards that have been developed for climbing and industry. The following are just some of the steps that a sailor can take to improve his chances of staying on board.

Life Jackets for Active, Racing Sailors

For this test, we rounded up seven flotation aids from four manufacturers: Float Tech, Gill, Spinlock, and Stohlquist. The test field included an inflatable rash guard, foam racing-style life vests, inflatable PFD-harness combinations, and PFDs designed specifically for women. Only the Stohlquist PFDs meet U.S. Coast Guard standards, but all have innovative features and offer increased comfort and mobility over many Type I and Type II PFDs.

Comparing the Latest Inflatable PFDs

One of the most important pieces of boat safety gear is a PFD, or personal flotation device. This update test included the reigning top inflatable PFD, Crewfit 150N, from UK-based Crewsaver, as a baseline for comparison of the other nine life jackets tested. The test field included Three SOLAS (Safety of Life at Sea) rated vests from European safety-gear maker Viking; two Coast Guard-approved PFDs from the Revere ComfortMax series; the new MD0450 inflatable vest with hydrostatic activation from Mustang Survival; and the inflatable bladder from Float-Techs popular float coat. Rounding out the field were a manual and an automatic PFD from West Marine, both of which are made by Stearns Inc. None of these had integral harnesses, though some have alternate versions with that option. PFD/harness combinations will be reviewed in a future issue.

Life Jackets for Active, Racing Sailors

For this test, we rounded up seven flotation aids from four manufacturers: Float Tech, Gill, Spinlock, and Stohlquist. The test field included an inflatable rash guard, foam racing-style life vests, inflatable PFD-harness combinations, and PFDs designed specifically for women. Only the Stohlquist PFDs meet U.S. Coast Guard standards, but all have innovative features and offer increased comfort and mobility over many Type I and Type II PFDs.

Chest High Jacklines

Jacklines (also called jackstays) are rigged along the deck on either side or down the centerline. This is where you are supposed to clip your safety tether.

Simple Tips for Maintaining Stainless Steel

When applying a paste cleaner, a toothbrush is useful for buffing tight spots and working into the pores of welds; follow by buffing with a cotton cloth. A green 3M scrubby pad helps for removing more aggressive stains. Continued rusting in welded areas might indicate a developing failure, requiring replacement. Rinse thoroughly with fresh water and mild soap when done buffing.