Clip on with care, new RYA video urges

You wouldn’t drive, go on a plane journey or tear around a roller coaster ride without being properly strapped in, so why tackle the waves without being secured to your boat? That’s the safety message being delivered in a new RYA video.

The thought-provoking video is designed to remind boaters of the importance of clipping on with a safety line and safety harness – and is accompanied by detailed advice on the RYA website.

The video is part of the RYA’s new digital safety campaign to highlight its key safety messages: look after yourself, have a plan, keep in touch and know your limits.

The campaign is a fresh approach to the RYA’s more traditional method of issuing an annual Safety Advisory Notice featuring key topics to help boaters think in practical terms about their safety afloat.

The first video asks boaters to think carefully about clipping on. A safety line is intended to provide reasonable assurance that the wearer will remain attached to a craft under normal loading. To do this the safety line must be securely attached to a correctly worn safety harness (which may be a lifejacket with an integrated harness) and to a suitable strong point on the boat.

The optimum length of a safety line will vary dependent on the size of the boat and where you need to attach it for the task in hand.

RYA safety tips include the following:

  • The safety line and harness should comply with ISO 12401. A lifejacket with an integrated harness should be certified both to ISO 12401 and to the lifejacket standard (ISO 12402) which specifies the design and safety requirements for lifejackets and the level of flotation it must provide.
  • Mobility must be balanced against the risk of falling overboard. Generally the safety line needs to be long enough to enable movement around the boat, but if this would allow a person to fall overboard, a shorter line should be used – particularly for people working in exposed positions. A common solution to the need for safety lines of longer and shorter lengths is a mid-point hook. This allows the user to change the clipping on point without being detached from the boat and the user has a shorter safety line to hand when one is needed.
  • Safety lines can only work effectively if there are adequate attachment points on the boat. Guardrails are not built to take the loads imposed by a safety harness and should not be used as attachment points.
  • The method used to anchor the end of the safety line to a vessel should be arranged to ensure that the hook cannot become entangled with deck fittings or other equipment as highlighted in the 2018 edition of the RYA Safety Advisory Notice.

RYA Safety Advisor Andrew Norton says: “It’s also important to make careful choices when purchasing safety lines, which are available from most good chandleries and online. Two and three hook safety lines are available from most manufacturers, some supply elasticated versions and some have an overload indicator to help you to decide when the safety line needs to be replaced. The hooks on the safety line should be designed so they cannot be accidentally opened. An ISO approved safety line is fitted with hooks which have been designed and tested to prevent this.”

Look out for future videos focusing on kill cords, lifejacket and life raft servicing, carbon monoxide alarms, boat fire safety and many more topics.

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