One of the most common ways that people get killed or maimed on a sailboat is by being hit by the boom. So, what can we do about that? Pretty obvious answer: Rig a preventer.
Such a nice simple solution, right? Well, unfortunately, no, it's not. Rigging a proper preventer can be a pain in the neck. But there are things we can do to make rigging a proper preventer easy and quick.
But before we get into that, have you noticed that I seem to be overusing the word "proper"? That's no accident. You see, a lot of the gear I see out there being used to restrict the swing of the boom does not constitute a proper preventer.
These set-ups might be boom brakes, like the one that Colin writes about here. Or boom tackles, where a line is taken to the boom, then down to a block near the rail, and then to a winch or tackle. A lot of people call these preventers, but they are not.