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Old 09-17-2021, 02:08 PM   #42
City: Newport, R.I.
Vessel Name: Hippocampus
Vessel Model: Nordic Tug 42
Join Date: Jul 2020
Posts: 3,043
We used jacklines routinely to the point of just keeping them rigged most of the time when moving.
Most folks run them down the walk ways. This will kill you. Even if you watch someone go MOB it will take some time to stop the boat. In those seconds the mob is at the water surface and pulled along. They will not be able to protect their airway being crushed against the side of the boat. There are multiple reports of very fit sailboat ocean racers being killed in this manner.
Also to raise a MOB over a lifeline and back on the deck is impossible even for a deck gorilla let alone the average cruiser. We kept a mast winch and halyard open and dedicated for this purpose knowing that and had a dyneema loop on the D of the harness for its attachment.
When spec’ing my lifelines I asked for 38”. Ended up getting 36” as 38” was too expensive. Ideally life lines need to be above your center of mass. Those on recreational powercraft very rarely are and offer little or no protection. You will flip over them if you strike them while standing. They are useful to serve as a hand rail but not to prevent MOB unless quite high. For many people 42-48” would be required.
A jack line must not allow you to reach the lifeline when harnessed and flip overboard but the harness length must allow you to move. On most boats that means you move the jack line inboard towards the centerline. That will allow you to use the 6’ length. When not fully feasible you are restricted to using the 3’ length. Even then if the jack line is next to the toe rail yo can still go MOB. Rigging jack lines that will actually prevent MOB is easier on sail. On power best way is to place mounts high up on the house and pilot house. Then you can move but still be prevented from MOB while using the 3’ length.
Looking at this put on your harness and tether and actually measure distances when you are clipped in and stretching the jack line. Regardless of how tight you make the the jack line it will stretch. That’s good as if it didn’t you’d break your ribs if you fall.
Think on most trawlers without modifications jack lines aren’t feasible. If you choose to not make modifications best you can do is be very cautious and using a short tether clip to a hard point when you get to where you need to be to do the work you need to do. Depending upon railings or lifelines to save you is a wish and a hope. Clipping on them is likely foolhardy as it will increase your risk of dying if you go MOB.
Big advantage of trawlers is there’s little reason to be on deck in weather or bumpy conditions. Our rule on sail or power is if anyone needs to be outside there’s a second person watching them. I even insisted people use the head not go over the rail or cockpit coamings for a nighttime calling. Or wake someone up. A leading finding in dead MOBs is they have their zipper down.
The foredecks of trawlers look more dangerous to me then the foredecks of sailboats. A wide open space with no inboard grab rails. On sail you usually have several forestays coming down and other stuff to grab or steady yourself against. Can see the sense of running a short jack line bisecting the foredeck or a “manline” like they did on the old time sailing ships.
We routinely run a line from the anchor to a strong point as a common reason to need to go forward is to secure the anchor. We do not depend upon our windlass to do that. Especially as we like no tension on that chain as over time that’s bad for a windlass. It’s a practice I see few others do.
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