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VOL. 9 NO. 10
Take a class

Stay onboard

Jack lines can keep your crew safe on deck

Stay onboard

A life jacket can save your life if you go overboard, but the best plan is to stay on the boat in the first place.

While many competitive racers use jack lines, less-skilled boaters rarely use these easy-to-use and easy-to-make safety devices. The best design requires the jack line to be firmly attached to a secure fitting at both ends. Each crewmember above deck wears a body harness attached to a tether line that slides along the jack line.

Depending on the boat’s size and type, one or more lengths of jack line can protect the active deck area.

You can fabricate a set of jack lines from nylon webbing cut to the required length with 3 feet to spare at each end. Double the extra 3 feet and double-stitch most of the length, allowing for a loop at each end for attachment to the mast, a cleat or other secure fitting. Make the tethers as you would a jack line but in various lengths ranging from 2 to 8 feet or more to meet the needs of the users and the distance they need travel from the jack line.

Design the jack line system so that it’s impossible for the user to go over the rail.
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