Free Introductory Chapter There are countless articles, books and courses that focus on recovering a person overboard but what really matters to the short-handed crew offshore is making as sure as humanly possible that a person overboard situation never happens in the first place—we need prevention, not cure. This chapter introduces this book and that basic concept.
Before we can come up with good and effective person overboard prevention systems, we need to think about and clearly understand the risks we are dealing with, which I examine in this chapter.
The key to person overboard prevention is never losing contact with the boat. In this chapter I take you through an easy to use (with a little practice) system, which we have evolved over 20 years sailing offshore short-handed on our boat, that will enable you to stay clipped on at all times and still have the mobility and reach to sail your boat properly. Updated and video added, October 2014.
In this chapter I examine the options for jackline (jackstay) materials, strength and recommended replacement cycle. Note that the many things I learned from the comments have made me change my mind about much of what I write in this chapter. I have covered those changes in Chapter 6.
Your harness, its fit, and how you use it are among the most important parts of staying safe on a boat offshore. In this chapter I share what we have learned in 140,000 miles of offshore sailing, most of it short-handed, about harnesses, features to look for, and their use.
In this chapter I examine some of the dangerous illusions and downright fantasies prevalent in the offshore sailing world about how various jackline and tether systems will prevent us from being injured or being dragged over the side, and some options for what we can do on our own boats to make these systems safer and more effective.
We have written a lot about gear in our ongoing Person Overboard Prevention Online Book, but all the gear in the world won't keep you safe if you don't heed this tip.
We have been working on improving our person overboard prevention system over the summer and have just made a video that just might save your life.
To be safe we need to be open to reviewing our assumptions in the light of new information. John takes a fresh look at the Spinlock Deckvest that he and Phyllis have used for years, and also revisits the whole issue of wearing crotch straps, or not.