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PFD/BFD

PFD/BFD

I thought this may be of interest to the sailing community
and wanted to get a more informed answer from the SA readership.

Last weekend was the Annual Regatta for my yacht club
and it was a gear buster, 18-25 with gusts above 30. The boat I was sailing
on had an MOB going downwind on Saturday, doing about 17kt. He was wearing
a life vest and we recovered him without incident, but I started looking
around after that and many sailors were not wearing any kind of personal
flotation at all.

When
we got back to the dock that afternoon I asked the RC why they did not
require PFD’s for all competitors and race support in winds over 15 or
20 and was told that "requiring" competitors to have PFD’s exposed
the club to liability if someone drowned and without the requirement the
club was not liable, even though the chances of injury/death without the
PFD rule probably increase.

I
see this as insane. Is that really the case? I’ve been in several events
where PFD’s are required at the start and finish (I think the NYYC has
this rule), and in college racing PFD’s are required at all times, but
more liability for requiring safety equipment.

Sincerely,
Blake Billman