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Offshore Safety Gear Use Procedures

Instructions and Checklists for Safety Gear Usesafety_kit_02

This page has several outlines for offshore safety gear use procedures.  Whole books are written about each of these topics so if interested please check Amazon for more detailed information.  What is here is intended as an overview so you are aware of what is expected on Golden Glow.

Safety Vest and Harness Use Procedures:

Golden Glows instructions for offshore use of safety harness

  • Check that your offshore vest has a valid, non-expired automatic inflation cartridge.   It will show green if OK.  If it shows RED or you are not sure please check with Rand or Ellen. If you are bringing your own vest please be sure you have extra cartridges that fit your vest.  If you are flying in to join us, be sure there will be a store that carries your brand where you land.
  • To put the vest on, put over shoulders and then snap the crotch strap so the vest cannot ride over your head. There are two crotch straps: be sure each is secure.
  • Always wear safety vest when outside of the cockpit in the open ocean.
  • Always wear the vest when in the cockpit if the boat is pitching and rolling.
  • Always be clipped in if the boat is pitching and rolling.
  • Always be clipped in if outside of the cockpit, at all times.
  • Always be clipped in when at the helm if there are seas over 10 feet.
  • The vest has an automatic inflation device that will activate if pulled. Only pull if you are in the water or instructed to by the Captain.
  • The vest has a “cow tail” or harness that is used connect your vest (and you) to the boat. There are black “Jack Lines” that run through the cockpit and the sides of each hull on the deck. It is important that you snap into these as you enter the cockpit in rough weather and prior to exiting the cockpit on to the deck, at all times. There are some places that you may need to pass from one line to another. In these cases, always clip on the next line prior to disconnecting the prior line. Ask for help if not certain.
  • The belt pouch on the harness has a face shield. This is to allow you to breath if there are breaking waves when you are in the water.  If in the water and there are blowing seas: take the shield out of the Velcro pouch and put it over your head to keep water and spray out of your mouth. This is attached to your belt, keep it attached as this will allow you to get it back into the pouch if needed.
  • There are two strobes on these vests. One in the outside pouch along your collar and another that is exposed when the vest is inflated. Both are water proof and will help with rescue. Please ensure these are working if you find yourself overboard to aid in your pick up.
  • There is a knife in your vest. This is to be used if you need to cut yourself away from something holding you under the water. There is also a quick release on the harness if you find yourself being dragged underwater by the boat. This will release you from the harness. Please note: if under tension (ie your are hanging over board or being drug underwater) this release may be hard to pull.  Pulling the pin away from the shackle in line with the pin may make the release easier.  If you want to practice, have the harness hold you a couple inches from the deck in calm seas and try to pull the release to drop you to the deck.  Worth a few minutes to feel what it will be like if you are swept overboard and need to release from the boat.
  • There are pocket on the vest to attach sunglasses, chap-stick, and other small items. It is suggested that you keep these on the vest in the event of an overboard so you have them with you. Keeping an extra hat attached is recommended.

Dan Buoy Safety Gear Use:

  • If someone is overboard, the person at the helm will throw the Dan Buoy into the water to mark the location of the person over-board and to offer the person something to hold onto that has additional flotation. The Dan Buoy safety gear has a light at the top of the inflated marker as well as reflective tape on a streamer.
  • All you need to do throw the Dan Buoy overboard it will auto-inflate when it hits the water.  If possible drop/toss towards the person overboard. The Dan Buoy also has a manual pull to inflate the buoy.
  • If the Dan Buoy has been deployed, BE SURE SOMEONE HAS THE RESPONSIBILITY TO WATCH THE PERSON OVERBOARD.  They must keep their eyes on the person at all times.

Offshore Life Raft Safety Gear Use:

  • Only deploy the life raft if instructed by the Captain. Only deploy the life raft if the water is close to the deck level (the steps are already under water). You want to step UP to the life raft.
  • To deploy it you pull the string on the quick release shackle on the top of the black strap running vertically around the canister. The canister will drop to the water and life raft will be tethered to the boat.
  • Once the canister is in the water and clear of any obstructions, you can pull hard on the tether and it will cause the raft to inflate. The raft will make a hissing noise as the excess air of the inflation is released, this is normal.
  • Load life raft with charts, ditch (grab) bag, medical bags, and food and water. Once inflated attach the ditch (grab) bag tether to the life raft tether and move the ditch (grab) bag into the life raft. If time is short get the people in the life raft first. Use the same procedure for the two medical kits: tether first so as not to lose them if they fall out of the life raft.
  • When entering the life raft be sure to get in and towards the back of the life raft quickly so the next person can jump in. Stay alert as it is possible to get injured boarding when jumping onto someone else in the raft.
  • If you are the first person to enter the raft please get people in first and gear in second. If there is already gear in the raft that is loose, move to the back of the raft to allow others to get in without hurting themselves on the grab bag or medical kits.
  • There are hand holds around the raft and a ladder to help board the raft. There are also preexisting supplies in the raft so be careful when entering to not hurt yourself on them. Keep everything lashed down until all people are in the raft.
  • There is a list of last minute items to grab once the grab bag and med kits are loaded.  See here for that list.

Use of Sea Drogues (Sea Anchors):

  • 2 drogues are stored under cockpit table in forward floor locker (port side grey bins)
  • Drogue chain is in port aft locker inside a 5 gallon bucket
  • Additional rode is in forward fender/battery locker
  • Chapmans and “heavy weather sailing” have good chapters on use
  • Ask Captain if interested

Use of Emergency VHF Antennae:

  • There is an Emergency VHF antennae stored in the Grab Bag.
  • It has an adapter to replace the mast mounted or attach to a hand held.
  • The mast mounted VHF cable is under the salon seat near the nav table.
  • The emergency VHF should be mounted as high as possible: one potential would be to lower the topping lift or another halyard and tie an in-line figure eight and attach the VHF antenna and raise it to the height that the cable would allow.
  • For a longer term solution, run the cable through one of the holes near the mast step to the house battery locker and then through to behind the nav table, then run up the mast via a flag line or spinnaker halyard.
  • If de-masted, use the longest rigid object available to create a high point and then hoist to that point.

Use of Medical Kits:

  • Two professional grade med kits are located under salon table bench seat on mid port side.
  • Red Kit is internal medicine and Blue Kit is a Trauma Bag
  • These both were created by medical doctors specifically for Golden Glow and are comprehensive for many ailments and procedures.
  • Each bag has a list of contents.
  • First aid and medical manuals are in the grab bag and in our library.
  • Use SSB, SAT Phone and/or VHF to get medical expert for procedures you are not familiar with.
  • The bags have contact information for doctors that have agreed to be available for consultation on diagnosis and procedures.
  • Please CALL professionals for support and second opinions if in question.

Use of Lightning Strap:

  • Located below cockpit table on starboard side mid-locker
  • Use oven as faraday cage for cell phones, hand held VHF, ipads, computers
  • Ask Captain if interested