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Safety Terthers And Harnesses - An Objective Study
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Safety Terthers And Harnesses  -  An Objective Study

An Objective Study

In Washington USA 1998, it was decided to conduct an objective study into the common safety of harnesses and tethers used by cruising sailors. This study was prepared and revised May 15, 1999. Next is a very brief summary.

Water Test

The first test was an in the water test. Here a Crew Overboard wearing different brand harnesses with 3ft and 6ft assorted tethers, were towed through the water. The reaction of the wearers was noted, i.e. if they were comfortable, their ability to breathe easily when towed and also how easy it was to re board the yacht. It was also noted how easily the snap shackle at the harness could be released when under load.

Static Test

The second test was a static one where the examiner conducted a physical inspection of the harness and tether. Here comfort, ease of strap adjustment, the width of load bearing straps, magnetic properties and the weight of the harness, was recorded. The workmanship and fabrication of these items was carefully examined

Another phase of static testing and trying to keep it as real as possible in summer or winter sailing weather, crew were timed as to how long it took them to don the different harness with and without foul weather gear. Weight of harness, degree of difficulty strapping it on, ease of adjustment, pinch points, uncomfortable strap rubbing etc. all came under their consideration.

Another test executed was one where the wearer was hoisted by his harness off the ground with a dingy hoist. Points noted were again ease of breathing and what happened with the harness when the wearers raised their arms when trying to climb back onboard.

The Dynamic Load Test

The dynamic load test was done to see how the harness and its tether would react when attached to a 220lb. dummy and dropped 6 foot 6 inches. To eliminate the tether as a variable when testing a harness, each harness had its own brand new tether attached. The same when testing tethers, a same type of new harness was used so as eliminate the harness as a variable.The tethers and harnesses were first soaked in water so as to improve the shock loading qualities of the nylon webbing.

The dynamic test results were the most dramatic because 8 percent of the 21 harnesses and 47 percent of the 21 tethers that were then available on the market failed the test.

Buy With Confidence

Since these test were conducted back in 1998, the quality, comfort and safety of these product have been greatly improved and well known brands may be bought with confidence.

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