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Old 20 September 2011, 18:49   #1
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Kids & Pets Safety on a RIB

Hi All,

After months and months of (re)searching I've recently purchased our family's first RIB, a Solent 5.4, absolutely delighted with her and can't wait to get out on our first proper outing in a couple of weeks, keeping my fingers crossed that the weather plays nicely.

Got a few questions around the safety of children/pets on board a RIB, we've got quite a young family and an ageing golden retriever (although I'm not to worried about her, she's water daft and is quite used to boats & dinghys).

When I was a kid and out at sea my Mum & Dad would use a harness to keep me within the cockpit of their yacht, they think I should harness the kids in the RIB, I think on a yacht it makes sense to do this but I'm not sure I agree that it's a safe thing to do on a RIB. Any thoughts?

Seating setup on the RIB is a double jockey seat and a rear bench seat, initially we might all be able to fit on the jockey seat but if that's not comfortable then I'll probably keep my boy (2) between me and the console on the jockey seat and my wife and daughter (4) will sit together on the bench seat. There is a grab handle on the back of the jockey seat for people on the bench but I don't think my daughter will be big enough to hold it while seated, so I'm thinking of getting some stainless steel added to the sides of the bench seat to act as additional restraints/grab handles, anybody have any recommendations of companies that I can speak to about getting this done?

Any additional safety suggestions I should consider implementing would be greatly appreciated.

Thanks
Graham
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Old 21 September 2011, 01:27   #2
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Hi Graham & welcome. Our daughter has been on RIBs practically from birth, she's now 20. We bought a crewsaver "seababy" life jacket for her which had an integral harness, which we never used. I never clipped her to the boat, my rationale being that if the boat went down or capsized, I didn't want her fastened to it. I'd rather her be free of the boat & let the lifejacket do its job. We also have a 30kg Black Lab. who is also water daft. He also wears a lifejacket when on the boat, simply because, if he did go in, how do I haul 30kg of wet dog back into the boat? The Crewsaver "petfloat" has a handle fixed to the top which allows you to grab the dog & haul him in.
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Old 21 September 2011, 04:11   #3
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Wot Pikey Dave said! If you're driving sensibly, no-one's going to get thrown out, if the boat gets capsized somehow - you don't want the kids clipped on.

Interesting/excellent boat name, BTW
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Old 21 September 2011, 04:57   #4
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As Willk and Pikey Dave say the accepted practice on RIBs is for nobody to be clipped on. Personally I think this is a bit paranoid about the risk of capsize, but the risk of passengers going overboard is also pretty small. We take a 7 yr old and 3 yrs old (and took them younger than this) on a smaller boat than yours and the 7yr old holds on very well by himself (suggest you get good gloves though as stainless gets very cold at 20 knots). The 3 yr old is determined not to be held onto now either but she is always either on daddy's knee "helping" to drive (which means we go round in circles a lot!) or mummy has a hand on a lifejacket strap at the back. We have never felt the need to "strap our kids in" but I wouldn't criticise anyone who did. A yacht lifeline approach might not be the best idea though - as the risks of smashing your face on the seat in front would still exist but are probably much more likely than going overboard.

Two obvious basic safety things are wear a lifejacket for everyone on board (and at that age the kids should be fixed foam ones) and wear a kill cord. Make sure you have an effective means of getting help if it goes wrong (VHF radio). Training is probably the other thing worth thinking about if you have not already. The final point I would make is that over the wind and engine noise it can be very difficult to hear your crew (wife) and so as well as frequently looking round to check all is well work out how she will let you know if something is wrong.

Don't do anything silly, take your time, slow down if in doubt, and if you want to do sharp turns etc then warn everyone properly and you will all be fine. The biggest risk from all going overboard seems to be the possibility that the whole console and seat detatch in a sharp turn (several reports in the last 5 yrs). CHECK how your console/jockies are attached, it should either be glassed in or have lots of screws holding it in (in addition to being sikaflexed in place - but you will probably have to take it on trust that they used the right glue not bathroom sealant!). I would give this scrutiny even on a brand new boat.

Rather than add more stainless - which if it ends up in the wrong place could take out teeth in a big stuff etc - then you might be able to improvise some extra handholds with some webbing?

There are some older threads here on adding footrests for kids on jockey seats. There are good webbing "stirrup" suggestions and ideas about using bike pillion passenger footpegs which might give you ideas. Bear in mind there is a good chance that even the older one may fall asleep with all the fresh air and white noise from the engine on longer passages.
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Old 21 September 2011, 04:57   #5
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Hi welcome. Yea what the guys say as I have both g/daughter and Lab. Are u planning to cruise in the waters of Dalriada as I do? Cheers. J
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Old 21 September 2011, 06:51   #6
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Again, as the others say really.

Having sides to a bench seat can be a bonus certainly in my view.

Our lab doesn't wear a life jacket, but then i don't take him out much and he won't jump in as ironically as a lab doesn't like water! (He ran at full tilt parrallel to the beach in the shallows as a puppy then hit a deep bit where an estuary entered the beach. He went under and got swept out ) The best thing re the dog lifejacket is the handle rather than the bouyancy. Some non lifejacket harnesses have it too. Cheaper and v useful. As other posters say, its the weight of them wet that means it is hard out at sea to get them in. Fine by the beach/jetty, but not in a swell out from land.

Careful putting them in between you and console. In my view, the most likely danger is hitting a wave and them falling forward and smashing their face. I wouldnt be averse to putting a harness/tether on child from 2-7yrs old if they are sat on the bench. If you think the boat is going to flip, in my view again, you are either driving like a tw~t or out with children in the wrong weather, so I don't see how a tether is bad. It will stop them falling too far forward when hitting a wave, or getting off the bench and jumping overboard when you aren't watching.

Sub 2/3 yr old, surely they should be in the lap of an adult who isn't driving. over 7 ish, they should be OK if taught. Our 1yr old loves it, but only take her in fine weather and she's sat on mums lap on the bench, while I drive.
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Old 21 September 2011, 07:00   #7
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, while I drive.[/QUOTE]

everytime i see you drive you got a beer in one hand

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Old 21 September 2011, 07:03   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by tony t View Post
, while I drive.
everytime i see you drive you got a beer in one hand

[/QUOTE]

which is why i can't hold a child too!
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Old 21 September 2011, 08:08   #9
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Again, great advice above. Take it show, gentle and easy - frighten them the first few times out and your family boating days will be history. Take them out the first time on flat seas with blue skies and leave them wanting more.

Always reminded of a great article in a mountain bike mag by a female MTB'er about trying to get your partner/GF/wife etc into biking - golden rule, never use the words 'easy', 'just' or 'only' as in "it's 'only' a little hill", "it's 'just' another few miles" or "come on! - this downhill bit is really 'easy'"!

Or in this case; "...'just' hold on tight, it's 'easy', they're 'only' little waves"...etc

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Old 21 September 2011, 08:55   #10
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Personally I don't agree with the whole "never clip on in a rib" theory.

It's a rib, it ain't gonna sink!

Capsize? How many ribs do know of capsizing? When Alan Priddy did his x-atlantic shake down from Bilbao to Portsmouth? he originally had a self righting bag fitted. After battling through awful conditions he decided the boat wasn't going to capsize and took the thing off for the Atlantic. In the sea areas most of us operate in you'd have to be driving like a complete tool to flip or barrel roll a rib.

Weigh that up against the chance of falling out of a boat with a gunwhale height thats barely up to your knees and can lurch about in all directions in a chop. Particularly young kids and inexperienced crew who can't read the waves and predict what the boat's about to do.

Everyone's got their own opinion and reasons for having it, this is just mine of course
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Old 21 September 2011, 09:08   #11
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+1 for the good weather approach.

Just to play devil's advocate, is tethered to a bench seat a good idea? Bench seats generally are at the stern. If the kid goes over the side for whatever reason, will the tether be long enough to let them "body surf" clear of the engine, or as most of these straps seem to be about 1.5m, will they end up being held in place right beside the mincer?
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Old 21 September 2011, 11:13   #12
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Thanks for all the responses, some great advice and food for thought, quite a few things I'd never really considered.

Think I may well purchase some harnesses for the kids and keep them onboard, so I have them should I ever feel they are required, I really don't intend on taking the kids out on her in any conditions that'll scare them or us for that matter, but I've learned from my sailing days that the weather can change pretty quickly in this country. I'm now starting to think that if I do feel the need to use them that I'll harness them to the adult on the seat with them rather than the boat, particularly those on the bench seat.

I'll definitely look into getting the dog a harness, we've never used one on her previously (never really needed to) she tends to spend most of the time sleeping when she's on my Mum & Dads boat and the only time she's ever gone in from the dinghy she just swam to the shore, guess she won't do quite as much sleeping on the RIB and the shore might not always be possible.

She currently has a real lack of equipment on board, no depth sounder, gps, vhf etc. so over the winter I'll be looking to kit her out with some gadgets and possibly an auxilliary. I'll also look into some of the suggestions re: webbing, checking the seat mounts (there are plenty of screws holding them down down but water does appear to be getting into the locker underneath, so I think the sealant needs replaced at the very least) etc.

The RYA PB2 course is definitely on the cards aswell, I've been sailing and pottering about in SIB's for most of my days, but when we trialled the boat before we bought her I realised very quickly that this was quite different (much faster) from anything I've done previously. It was a pretty wild day on Loch Neagh (blowing hard and plenty of white horses) when we trialled her, she handled the conditions brilliantly, which is comforting to know, but I think it would be good for my own peace of mind to have at least done the course.

Our first time (and probably last time this season) out with her will most likely be Loch Lomond in the next couple of weeks; myself and my wife are going to go up (without the kids & dog) and spend a bit of time practicing launching/recovery, communication and getting used to her etc.

Afraid I can't take any credit for the boats name, it was the previous owners that named her, but we really like it and it's very apt given that's where she'll be spending most of her time. I think for the most part we'll be dotting about the Clyde estuary (chasing my Mum & Dad and their cronies), launching somewhere around Inverkip/Largs and travelling to Kyles of Bute, Arran, Cumbrae, Loch Goilhead etc. I'm also hoping to increase the amount of camping we do next year, so we'll tow her with us to a campsite and use the site as a bit of a base to explore a bit further up the west coast, show the wife and kids some of the wonderful (and more inaccesible) places where I spent some of my childhood, Ardinamir on Luing is a particular favourite of mine :-).

Thanks Again
Graham
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Old 21 September 2011, 11:17   #13
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Continuing in the devils advocate theme, if it ain't going to capsize or sink, & the sprogs are fastened in, what's the point of a lifejacket?(apart from keeping the Ribnet life jacket militia happy that is)
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Old 21 September 2011, 15:36   #14
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My solution for a 2 year old a few years ago...

http://www.rib.net/forum/attachment....6&d=1181599288

He's now 6 and more than capable of hanging on to a grab rail sitting on a jockey.

Lifejackets are a must IMO if they fall in without one its game over. Once they get old enough to be comfortable on a jockey I would not bother with straps or a tether.

Main thing is don't take them out when its rough. Once they will start to get windy about the boat it will take months if not years for them to get back into it.
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Old 21 September 2011, 16:19   #15
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Graham,

Some tips for Loch Lomond:

(1) Beware although it is inland it can still kick up some significant waves. Its particularly important you make this clear to your other half or she will be discouraged from taking it out in the sea if "thats how bad it was in a loch".

(2) Don't go to "practice launch and recovery" on the Glasgow sept weekend (is that this weekend?)
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Old 22 September 2011, 03:05   #16
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Like the car seat trick, will keep that one in mind.

I think september weekend is this weekend, won't be practising this weekend, maybe the weekend after (will be watching the weather closely).

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Old 22 September 2011, 03:06   #17
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Yes, this weekend...

So a nice clear trip to work tomorrow and traffic h*ll on Saturday!
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Old 22 September 2011, 03:54   #18
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My kids have been boating all there lives & we have always insisted on life jackets when younger, but now they use buoyancy aids mostly as we are normally in or around estuary's!
I too have used kids car seats & push chairs adapted for boating & they have worked very well, putting kids to sleep with the sound of the engine!
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Old 22 September 2011, 04:45   #19
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When our kids were smaller the biggest issue they had with Jockey seats was that they couldn’t touch the deck because their legs were not long enough. This meant that they slid backwards and forwards and found it very uncomfortable hanging on with nothing to brace their feet against.

I produced some very simple adjustable webbing stirrups which went over the Jockey seat for them to put their feet into, and were also connected to a strap which went all the way round the base of the seat to stop the stirrups moving backwards and forwards.

This simple piece of kit made the experience so much better for them, and they started to look forward to a bit of rough sea rather than dreading it.

Having turned a RIB over a couple of times, admittedly my own fault and of course I wouldn’t be stupid with kids on board, I could never agree with strapping kids in.

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Old 22 September 2011, 10:28   #20
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Here in the US, kids (under 12, I think) are required to wear a PFD unless they're down in the cabin (unlikely on most RIB's.) So that takes care of that part for me.

As far as dogs, mine wears a PFD anytime she's on the boat. She swims well (though I'm not sure how much she likes it - she got the same sort of surprise as Humber's dog, but it was trying to run between 2 anchored boats to play with another dog.) Problem with dogs is that they stay on the surface only as long as they can keep actively swimming; once tired, they founder and drown (and that happens sooner in cold water.) I'd rather give them more of a fighting chance, hence the doggy PFD. I used to tether her in place when I was off the boat, but have found that she'll stay put while I'm diving (apparently the dip she took taught her a lesson), so now I don't worry about it. While underway, she usually hides behind me on the pilot's bench anyway, so no need to tether her there either.

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