Top Menu

In the past, when having conversations with people about the benefits of martial arts training, I would often compare the activity to swimming. My comparison would be that one hopefully doesn’t train in the martial arts solely because they are afraid that bad guys are lurking behind every tree or in every alley, hiding in wait to pounce on unsuspecting victims. People train in the martial arts, or at least keep training beyond the very basic stages, because of the myriad of other physical and social benefits that come from the practice.

Swimming, in my opinion, is a lot like that. Learning to swim solely for the reason that you are afraid that you will fall out of a boat is pretty silly, for a variety of reasons. First, you will no doubt be engaged in pleasurable water activities way more than any life-saving variant. And more importantly, swimming skill may very well NOT save you if you do fall out of your boat!

MOB (man overboard) situations are super serious, especially for a short handed crew (like a husband and wife couple). Some safety can be added to the equation by wearing a PFD (personal flotation device or life jacket) but that is still dealing with the problem after it occurs. A better solution, and one which is used by many sailors in certain situations, is to wear a chest harness and be attached to the boat via a tether so that you can’t fall overboard!

There is some excellent info on the subject on a Blog that we regularly read: Sail Delmarva. Although Rebecca and I have yet to acquire harnesses, or the auto-inflating PFDs that we want which have harnesses integrated into them, they are on our boat-show shopping list.


  1. Best of luck to the both of you!

    How time flies since we last saw each other (kickboxing in Kingston – I was leaving for New-Zealand)… It is great to hear that you are embarking on another adventure. Take good care of each other.


    • Hi Isabelle

      Great to hear from you. Thanks for the positive words. This will be, as you said, an adventure for us!

      Rebecca and I will be sure to take good care of each other. Right Rebecca? Rebecca… are you listening…? 😉


  2. Rebecca and Mike,

    I just found your blog yesterday. It’s nice to see how dedicated you are to documenting the process of getting ready. My wife and I (and our 2 kids) are in a similar situation.

    Anyway, I wanted to tell you that last spring we bought Mustang inflatable vests with harness for a lot less than the normal price (the manually inflated ones, currently $250). I think we bought for $160 o $180 each. It was a spring sale at Binnacle ( If you wait 2 or 3 months they might be put on sale again.

    Happy 2010!

    • Thanks for the tip Ernesto. I wasn’t familiar with that store. I now have it bookmarked though and will keep my eyes open there for specials.

      Good luck on your “journey” as well!


      • Here’s a couple of tips when shopping for a harness:
        1. There will be times you will want to wear a harness without pfd and times you will want the combination so get 1 of each per person.
        2. For a tether, get a double with 1 short and 1 long leg. It allows you to always be clipped in while moving across the deck and working around objects like standing and running rigging. Having the short one allows you to clip in to work at the mast in rough conditions while minimizing the chances of getting tossed about.
        3. Typically, when in a harness or combo, especially at night or on lone watch, most crew will attach additional safety gear to the harness, (ie. strobe, personal beacon, whistle, etc.) especially since in warmer climates pockets may be few. Be sure to select a harness that allows one to easilly attach those extra items that you may wish to compliment the safety system. I suggest shopping for those items at the same time as the harness.
        4. There are good and not so good tether clips. Most will hold ok but some are more difficult to operate, especially one handed. While you are at the show, try as many different ones as you can before buying.
        Have fun!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <s> <strike> <strong>

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.