The Offshore Voyaging Reference Site

Crew Overboard Prevention—Use of Climbing Harnesses

Pretty much every time I write about crew overboard prevention someone will suggest using a climbing harness instead of a lifejacket with a built-in harness, like the Spinlock Deckvests that Phyllis and I favour, or a separate sailing harness as many other voyagers use.

The benefits of this approach often cited by advocates include:

  • There is absolutely no way to fall, or be dragged, out of a properly-fitted climbing harness.
  • Much less bulky.
  • Will absorb tether arrest loads better.
  • Possibly more comfortable.
  • No need to mess about with separate crotch straps.

I can certainly see the attraction of this idea and don’t disagree with the above benefits list; however, I think that we must also think about the drawbacks: