Surveyor’s Notebook: Respect your Lifelines - Sail Magazine

Surveyor’s Notebook: Respect your Lifelines

Author:
Publish date:
Corroded, improper lifeline fittings like this one pose a serious danger to the crew

Corroded, improper lifeline fittings like this one pose a serious danger to the crew

Considering lifelines play such a critical role in the safety of the crew, I’m constantly amazed at the apparent disregard many boat-owners have for them. Nothing lasts forever, especially lifelines, which should be replaced as soon as anything more than surface corrosion appears. Often, even when standing rigging may be replaced, lifelines are left to soldier on for many years past their expiration date. Surveyors, as a rule, like to see plain wire, as it’s easier to judge the condition. Plastic-coated may be nicer to lean against when sailing, but hidden dangers can sometimes lurk beneath. Specifically, crevice corrosion can go unnoticed, and the wire could fail just when it’s needed the most.

The example shown here is especially bad. The wire is uncoated, which is good, but the toggle was too short and a cheap hardware store spring clip has been used to extend the lifeline to reach the pushpit. Additionally, the ring circlip has certainly seen better days and appears ready to gash a hand or tear an expensive sailing jacket.

Other sections of the guardrail on this particular boat were equally bad—needless to say I recommended that all the guard wires and associated fittings be replaced.

Lifelong boat addict and marine surveyor Mark Corke can be reached at surveymyboat.com

Related

TOTW_PromoSite

SAIL's Tip of the Week

Presented by Vetus-Maxwell.Got a tip? Send it to sailmail@sailmagazine.comA clean run Dropping a coil on deck so that its running part is on top will always help it to spool out cleanly. Flaking it in a figure of eight can be even better. This allows the line to fall naturally ...read more

Outremer45

Boat Review: Outremer 45

It’s funny the way things that work right almost inevitably tend to look right as well. Case in point: the Outremer 45, a catamaran that can’t help but turn heads with its large rig, nicely sculpted cabintrunk and narrow, purposeful bows. Better yet, under sail the boat more than ...read more

Sunset-Tyrrel-Bay

Charter: Glorious Grenada

In the wake of the hurricanes that devastated the Virgin Islands last year many charterers ended up going farther south to Grenada and the Grenadines where they found the sailing excellent and the vibe just fine“God must have been a sailor when he created the Caribbean,” a friend ...read more

WaterLinesNov

Waterlines: Tangled Up in Pots

I learned to sail on the Maine coast as a boy, and one of the things my elders taught me was to respect fishing gear. If you got caught up with a lobster pot, you did everything you could to get clear without cutting the pot warp. It represented a family’s livelihood and thus was ...read more

7353

Harken’s Reflex 3 top-down Furler

Furl PowerAre you afraid of flying—spinnakers, that is? Harken’s new Reflex 3 top-down furler will tame A-sails on monohulls from 44-58ft and multis from 39-55ft, and Code 0’s on 39-54ft monos and 36-50ft multis. All you do is heave on the furling line and the sail will roll up ...read more