Person Overboard Prevention


Book in Progress. The focus of most of the discussion about sailing safety is on recovering a person who has gone overboard. But the sad fact is, that if you fall overboard from a short-handed boat at sea, you are probably not going to be rescued. John, who has sailed over 100,000 miles short-handed and much of that in cold water, gives practical advice on harnesses, tethers, life jackets, and jacklines, as well as many tips on procedures that will keep you and your loved ones on board.

Online Book Table of Contents

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.

The Risks of Falling Overboard at Sea

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.

Staying Attached To The Boat

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.

Jacklines, Strength and Material

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.

Harnesses and How to Use Them

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.

Jacklines and Tethers Revisited

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.