Many marine safety tethers sold today are not safe.
We have known for years that many of the snap hooks used on the “boat end” of safety tethers can come unclipped rather than doing their job. I was reading an article in Scuttlebutt Sailing News that brought this issue up yet again.
A few years ago we looked into making tethers and determined that we did not have the resources to do it right. We consulted sailors (other than ourselves), equipment suppliers and folks with engineering backgrounds. It’s not like we just took a quick look.
Since our decision, sailors continue to die due to safety tether issues yet suppliers continue to sell products that are questionable and others provide DIY advice for a tether that does not make any sense.
We encourage sailors to research their purchase fully. Practical Sailor has a number of articles on this subject. Look at the racing rules and the ISO specification they reference. Do your homework, this is a life and death decision.
We encourage the industry to stop peddling products and DIY advise that does not, at a minimum, meet current thinking within the safety industry. It is a good sign that some manufacturers have quit supplying products that were poorly designed 20 years ago but it shouldn’t take that long to get crap off the market.
Cam buckle straps with heavyweight nylon webbing are just the ticket for securing luggage on your roof rack. Each summer we take a bicycling trip with a group of friends and usually our luggage carrier is overloaded. We have tried getting the group to pack less but that has had minimal success. It has been easier to pile the extra luggage on the roof and secure it with cam buckle straps.
Actually these are the same straps that I use when repairing chairs, heavy weight nylon webbing and metal buckles.
We sell these straps with several choices of webbing colors. They are all made to order so we can set them up to meet your needs. Just give us a call at (253) 883-5800 and we will work with you to get them just right.
If you need something stronger we have ratchet buckles although they are not as easy to adjust.
I am in favor of using more straps rather than one or two super strong models. The last thing I want to do is damage the roof rack.
If you have polypropylene, nylon or polyester webbing, you don’t want your cut ends to look like this. Even though I cut this piece of 1″ nylon webbing with a very sharp pair of scissors, the result is awful.
Cutting with a hot knife is the better way to go. I have let this one get really hot so you could see the cutting blade but for actual use it works much better if the temperature is just a bit higher than the melting point of the material.
Nylon: 380º F
Polypropylene: 330º F
Polyester: 500º F
If you don’t own a hot knife you can seal the cut end of your webbing with a propane torch, match, lighter or even with a gas burner on your stove (but don’t make a mess in the kitchen).
The finished result should look somewhat like this. My example is rather black due to the really high heat of the hot knife which melted way more material than is necessary.
You don’t need to have a fancy hot knife like what I have. My Weller soldering iron has a blade that I purchased at the local hardware store which works quite well. The advantage of the tool I use at work is it heats up much faster which is nice if you need to make a bunch of cuts but hardly necessary for occasional use.
If your webbing is a natural fiber like cotton, it won’t melt. There are a few options:
Metal end covers are available like what we use in our military style belt
The raw end of the webbing can be soaked in shellac or some other quick drying liquid to “seal” the end so it won’t fray.
If the webbing didn’t have to pass through something, you can fold it over twice and sew the end so the cut portion is not accessible to fray. This works best with thinner webbing.
Even though we don’t sell zippers we all use them and know how frustrating it can be when one becomes frozen. This morning I was going through my email and noticed an article published by BoatUS on how to unstick frozen zippers.
I have not tried using vinegar but the next time I have this problem with a corroded zipper my first trip will be to the pantry. My guess is this will work with salt water corrosion, zippers stuck for other reasons might require different techniques. With the nylon coil type I have found when they get stiff and difficult to use some baby oil does the trick. If you have other tricks, let me know.