Leading Journal of the Irish & UK Fishing Industries

Why are crotch straps a benefit when using a PFD?.

Frankie Horne. RNLI Commercial Fishing Safety Manager is asking fishermen to ensure they are using their PFD’s properly by ensuring that the crotch strap is correctly attached and will give maximum benefit if needed.

Frankie advises:

“When I’m out and about on the quayside with fishermen talking about PFDS, one of the main conversations is around the need to use the crotch strap.”

“Comments would be “it’s a snag hazard”.  “It gets in the way when bending down”. “it cuts my oilskins”.

“Well, there are quite a few benefits to using the crotch strap should you need your PFD.”

It will hold the PFD down on the casualty when inflated.

It will bring the legs of the casualty up to a better position in the water to prevent bobbing.

It will hold the casualty in a better position for self-righting.

It will prevent the PFD coming off over the casualty’s head in a recovery event.

Some tips to make the crotch strap more user friendly.

Try wearing a belt around the oilskin and crotch strap, this will hold it in place and stop it flailing when bending down. This is also a benefit should you go overboard by holding all your clothing in place, you can also attach a knife to the belt.

Try putting the crotch strap down inside your oilskin trousers, however this only works when you have no oilskin top on.

The shorter the PFD is the longer the crotch strap is. Many users then choose to wear it without the crotch strap. This will not make the PFD useless. However, the lower the waist band is, the more important the crotch strap is.

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