Safety Equipment - Quality and Standards
I have often thought that the instructions and labeling on safety equipment is sometimes woefully inadequate and left to interpretation by the user, often wrongly!
This has been brought again to my attention in a thought provoking article in June's Yachting World regarding harnesses, lifejackets and MOB recovery. This comes about following the MAIB investigation into the death of the skipper aboard the Ocean Racer "Lion" in June last year; whereby he drowned after falling overboard, despite his state of the art lifejacket inflating and still being tethered to the yacht by his safety line. The thigh strap buckles were found to be inadequate for the weight being put on them, and the correct lifting straps on the lifejacket were not obvious to the crew trying to recover him.
Making equipment strong enough for the job and fully labeled as to their function should be a basic requirement for all lifesaving equipment.
Rubbish safety equipment
Hi Captn. D.
I would go further and say that some safety equipment is just rubbish.
For example - I was after a new Dhan Buoy as my previous one had disintegrated due to uv light damage on the float.
I tried an expensive one in the chandlery, the type that one extends to raise the flag height. Gave it a gentle pull and the damn thing came apart in my hands. Disgracefully shoddy rubbish - totally unfit for purpose despite a high price.
Another useless tool piece was a floating MOB rescue line - the type that has a loop for your wrist and you are then supposed to throw the weighted sock end towards the caualty.I tried it out one day in the marina just for practice. Float and weight went half way across the marina which was great but the cretins that made it had omitted to secure the end of the floating line to the the weight so the line flopped into the water at my feet.
Deeply unimpressed - it seems some manufacturers are content to ship shoddy safety gear in the knowledge that many buyers fit the kit then forget about it.
Morale is perhaps to test and practice with safety kit as best you can and don't assume that it is maintenance free.
Pleiades of Birdham
Further to my original post; I think one of the main issues from this tragedy is that lifejackets with integral harnesses are unlikely to be able to keep a MOB in a survival state if being dragged along by the harness tether to a yacht doing any normal sailing speed. eg: crotch or thigh straps may stop a stationary lifejacket riding up over ones head, but not when being dragged along at 3+knots. The lesson is that harnesses work only if the wearer stays aboard; once in the drink, they may be very dangerous, negating the benefit of the combined lifejacket!
This is the case even with standard chest type harnesses according to information I received in the mid 80's. Anything connected to the body where the pull is around the sternum area will likely pull one under the water at speed. The issue isn't the crotch straps it is being attached to the yacht at speed when in the water. This has been or is being recognised in the racing side of sailing where wearing harnesses on high speed yachts is now being questioned. Better to be in the water and a yacht coming back, than being pulled along with all the risks of drowning.
Originally Posted by Captn D
With regard to quality of lifesaving equipment, I would agree that there is some low quality stuff out there. One just has to look closely. The product tests in the sailing magazines are a good source of information on how suitable a a product really is.
A harness MUST keep on the boat. If you can go over the side it is too long.
I have my safety lines on the cabin roof, I use the opposite side to clip on too.
Several years ago, I tested some safety equipment for a sailing magazine (not one of the IPC titles) and had exactly the same thing happen.
Originally Posted by Pleiades
I wonder if it was the same supplier?
That particular magazine had a policy of letting the suppliers of products reviewed see "their" write-up before publication, "to check the facts". It's a policy I have never agreed with, because it means that anyone with a less-than-flattering review can kick up enough fuss that reviews of crap products never get into print!
Anyway, discussions with this particular guy went true to form -- I was a liar, I had tried to break the product, I hadn't followed the instructions, I had been bribed by his competitors, he was going to sue me for every penny etc. etc. etc. etc..
In the end, he turned up at the office baying for my blood, with a van full of the things, all of which (he said) worked, expecting me to test them to prove it, and rewrite my report on the strength of it. (I declined)
Funny, isn't it, that the one he (presumably) picked at random from his shelves for a magazine test just happened to be the only one he had ever come across with that particular fault?
PS another test, another mag, we wanted a photo of a danbuoy hitting the water. So we chucked one in. We got the photo, but never recovered the danbuoy -- because when it hit the water, it just kept on going, and never re-surfaced!
Because writing for yottimags has been my main income since 1987, and to the best of my knowledge, that that one was the only magazine I have ever worked for that has done so -- in the UK or abroad.
Originally Posted by VicMallows
And I'm sure you won't believe this -- but I'm going to say it anyway -- advertising revenue has never influenced anything I have written for any magazine, nor has any Editor I have worked for ever tried to persuade me to let it do so. And only one Advertising manager has even tried to persuade me that it should. He failed.
Sorry, think you misunderstood me....I meant: I think I have an idea of which mag you might have been inferring .
Originally Posted by timbartlett
Originally Posted by BlackPig