Online Book:

Person Overboard Prevention

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.

Table of Contents:

We Should Focus On Staying Aboard, Not Recovery

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 Online 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.

Flawed Jackline Systems, Part 1

Most of us offshore sailors rely on clipping our harness tether to a jackline to stay safe. But, in many cases, we are totally deluding ourselves, because if we do go over the side, something may break and cast us adrift, or we will drown by dragging.

Better Jackline Systems

In the last two chapters we discovered that the jackline systems most of us use for POB prevention are pretty much useless. Now we are moving on to what to do about that—the good stuff.

Banishing Sidedeck Jacklines Forever

We have shown that sidedeck jacklines are deeply flawed and may even be more dangerous than no jacklines at all, due to drag risk and the false sense of security they confer. But can we get rid of them and still work our boats efficiently? Yes, we can! Here’s how, with video proof.

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.

Which Lifejacket Auto-Inflator Should We Select?

Assuming that we have decided to buy and use auto-inflated lifejackets, we have yet another decision to make: Which of the two available activation devices should we select, hydrostatic or dissolved tablet? John interviews an expert and makes a selection.