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Safety harness and line used at Sydney-Hobart Coronial inquest

Date: 1986-1998
Overall: 1170 x 650 x 70 mm, 0.74 kg
Medium: Synthetic fibre, metal, plastic
Credit Line: ANMM Collection Gift from Peter Kurts
Classification:Vessels and fittings
Object Name: Harness
Object No: 00033502
Place Manufactured:Australia

User Terms

    This safety harness and line was used by crews to secure themselves to the boat while on deck. It was used as an example of the types of safety equipment worn on yachts during the 1998 Sydney - Hobart Yacht race in which five yachts sank and six men died. The 2000 Coronial inquest into the race criticised this safety harness and line because in one instance the lanyard (safety line) failed when the stitching gave way on a safety harness.
    SignificanceThe demonstrated use of this type of safety harness and line during the 2000 Coronial inquest was vital in bringing about significant changes in harness design.
    HistoryOn 27 December 1998 a raging storm struck the Sydney to Hobart fleet, with 80 knot winds and mountainous seas. An emergency air/sea operation rescued 55 sailors, and 71 of 115 yachts failed to finish. 5 sank and 6 men died. A coronial inquest held in 2000 recommended that all Tuff Marine harness and No 9 lanyards be withdrawn from use; that the Australian Standard AS2227 be reviewed and a date of manufacture and maximum life or expiry date be placed on all products. It also recommended that all load bearing joints in lines and at the point of attachment on the harness be capable of withstanding either the same load as the base material or a specified load that includes a safety factor and that this be confirmed by a test. Harnesses should also be fitted with a crotch strap to prevent the wearer slipping out of the harness. The Coroner recommended a complete upgrading of safety and rescue equipment, emergency procedures and weather warnings, and set a new minimum age of 18 years for race entry. The tragedy still reverberates in sailing circles.
    Additional Titles

    Assigned title: Yachtsman's safety harness and line

    Web title: Safety harness and line used at Sydney-Hobart Coronial inquest

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