{Stus-List} tethers

Don don31 at sympatico.ca
Tue Jun 23 17:35:56 EDT 2009

My wife and I use a tether almost always. Man overboard practice convinced us that we better not leave the boat.  

I made my tether, so I could get the length I needed. My experience on the foredeck led me to the conclusion that minimal slack is important. When tossed, I want to be secured quickly, so I can regain my balance immediately, while it is possible, and I am still on the deck. Otherwise, life gets very complicated very quickly. Consequently, my tether is shorter than standard and lacks bungee cord. 

Having the snap shackle, with a grip friendly halyard, at my end is critical.On the boat end I use a locking carabineer designed for climbers. It will not release under load and is easier to operate than the self locking type when your hands are cold; although it is heavier than I want. My wife's has a standard carabineer, since it is easier for arthritic hands. The tradeoff is: releasing under a twisting load vs. not being used.

We connect the tether to the harness of our must and life jacket. Wrapping the tether around your back keeps it out of the way when you are not connected.

A tether, for us old cruisers, is an essential safety device - more important than our life jacket. But it must fit the dimensions of your body and the location of the fastening points where you will be working.

Its worth a few trys to get the right length. Climbing shops have tubular strap and carabineers. A water knot (I add a hitch and hand sew it), used by climbers, will secure the carabineer. You can make the tether at first longer than needed. Then, try it out on your boat to see what works for you. I plan to make another that is a little longer. This time, I will include a very thick bungee, since I want a little more length and want to prevent its lust for grabbing onto knobs on the motor control and self steering pulley on the wheel. A proper machine sewn stitch (strong and less bulky) may be desirable when I am convinced I have what I need. 


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