Safety strap on boat for Telephoto/body

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Midway

New member
I’ve been on a couple whale watching boat tours recently and the thought crossed my mind that while unlikely, when leaning over the boat railing I could get bumped or for some other reason inadvertently drop a camera with large telephoto lens into the sea. Same with any shooting position with a very long distance to the ground.

I’d prefer not to replace the lens strap with one with quick release connections but would consider it. Twisting the lens strap around my wrist hasn't felt very secure, maybe I'm not using the correct technique. I’m sure I could fashion some type of cord and just attach it to the lens strap but assume I’m not the first to think about this and wanted to check on what others may do to keep their big lens and camera body dry or safe from long drops. I took a Z 9 with the 180-400 TC with me on the last couple trips for example. Thanks.
 

DRwyoming

Moderator
Supporting Member
I’ve been on a couple whale watching boat tours recently and the thought crossed my mind that while unlikely, when leaning over the boat railing I could get bumped or for some other reason inadvertently drop a camera with large telephoto lens into the sea. Same with any shooting position with a very long distance to the ground.

I’d prefer not to replace the lens strap with one with quick release connections but would consider it. Twisting the lens strap around my wrist hasn't felt very secure, maybe I'm not using the correct technique. I’m sure I could fashion some type of cord and just attach it to the lens strap but assume I’m not the first to think about this and wanted to check on what others may do to keep their big lens and camera body dry or safe from long drops. I took a Z 9 with the 180-400 TC with me on the last couple trips for example. Thanks.
FWIW, I wear a Black Rapid strap that has a QD quick release fitting attached and plug that into the QD socket on my lens foot when working in places where I might risk a drop. I don't use this setup when working from a tripod but often use it when hand holding in places where a fall might happen and have been known to use it with a monopod in less than stable settings. I've done pretty much the same thing for camera bodies with short lenses attached when there's risk of dropping gear but the QD fitting plugs into the camera plate/L-bracket.

I'm sure there are lots of approaches that don't rely on the QD fittings or lens/camera plates with the QD socket but some kind of sturdy lanyard is a good idea if you're working in a place where you risk dropping expensive gear.
 

Midway

New member
Thread starter
FWIW, I wear a Black Rapid strap that has a QD quick release fitting attached and plug that into the QD socket on my lens foot when working in places where I might risk a drop. I don't use this setup when working from a tripod but often use it when hand holding in places where a fall might happen and have been known to use it with a monopod in less than stable settings. I've done pretty much the same thing for camera bodies with short lenses attached when there's risk of dropping gear but the QD fitting plugs into the camera plate/L-bracket.

I'm sure there are lots of approaches that don't rely on the QD fittings or lens/camera plates with the QD socket but some kind of sturdy lanyard is a good idea if you're working in a place where you risk dropping expensive gear.

I tend to place my left hand under the foot at times when shooting, does the QD fitting get in the way? A long enough heavy duty wrist strap that attaches to the foot, quick release or not sounds like it would not hinder movement and do the job. Thanks.
 

NorthernFocus

Well-known member
Supporting Member
Certainly as Dave recommended a Black Rapids strap is a simple, secure solution. If the connection on bottom of the lens foot bothers you it's easy enough to just make a nylon loop to go around the vertical part of the foot. I used a safari/military style rifle sling for years and that's how I attached it to the lens. Either that or attach the strap to the bottom of the camera body. Not the way you'd carry a rig but for safety purposes would be fine.
 

IainD

Well-known member
I tend to place my left hand under the foot at times when shooting, does the QD fitting get in the way? A long enough heavy duty wrist strap that attaches to the foot, quick release or not sounds like it would not hinder movement and do the job. Thanks.
I don’t find the QD to be a problem for my left hand under the lens foot. I am using Magpul slings currently but also use BlackRapid the same way.
 

Andy Miller Photo UK

Andy Miller Photo UK - Nikon/Hasselblad shooter
Supporting Member
harnessiiI’ve been on a couple whale watching boat tours recently and the thought crossed my mind that while unlikely, when leaning over the boat railing I could get bumped or for some other reason inadvertently drop a camera with large telephoto lens into the sea. Same with any shooting position with a very long distance to the ground.

I’d prefer not to replace the lens strap with one with quick release connections but would consider it. Twisting the lens strap around my wrist hasn't felt very secure, maybe I'm not using the correct technique. I’m sure I could fashion some type of cord and just attach it to the lens strap but assume I’m not the first to think about this and wanted to check on what others may do to keep their big lens and camera body dry or safe from long drops. I took a Z 9 with the 180-400 TC with me on the last couple trips for example. Thanks.
Just buy a fall protection safety lanyard /tether/ harness for tools at height or yatching safety line ( with cow hitch/loop). Lots of places , including marine chandlers and workwear , and Amazon sell them - mine has a loop and shackle. It needs to be long enough to allow you to shoot with ease but short such that your gear would not drop into the water and folk don’t trip over it. Fix it to the strap point on your tele, lens foot or camera body only if the body is much lighter than the lens. Tie off to your own harness or boat rail / safety line in a way you are not blocking or causing a hazard and make sure you have the captain’s and safety officer’s agreement. If you have a heavy set up — tripod etc -Secure your gear separately from you own safety harness and safety wire.
A QD FITTING WILL SIMPLY NOT BE STRONG ENOUGH to handle the dynamic load when the gear is stopped when the lanyard tightens.
I work on 50kg rating or higher if the gear can fall some way. Work on a snatch load capacity more than 20x the weight of the gear (body, lens, monopod) - Smaller capacity if you fix the lanyard to at fitting point on your harness/life vest etc. remember you must wear a life vest and sometimes immersion suit as well. I would try to keep the line/lanyard to 1m/3feet or so. My harness is normally tied off to the vessels’ rail/safety wire connected to my life vests harness and then when shooting handheld or with a monopod my gear is tied to my harness as well - this means I only need to unhook my safety line when I move about the vessel. Moving about carrying gear needs to be done with care normally one uses both hands, but you will need on hand on your gear while moving to stop it swinging about. Clearly sea conditions will determine what you can do.
Here is a Good article
 
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Patrick M

Moderator
Supporting Member
I have two pb connectors on the lens foot. One is attached to the pb neck strap with the other end on the base of mt camera. The other connector is linked to the camera strap loop on the camera body. So even if the lens detaches, I’ve a good chance for saving both. 🙏
 

Midway

New member
Thread starter
Just buy a fall protection safety lanyard /tether/ harness for tools at height or yatching safety line ( with cow hitch/loop). Lots of places , including marine chandlers and workwear , and Amazon sell them - mine has a loop and shackle. It needs to be long enough to allow you to shoot with ease but short such that your gear would not drop into the water and folk don’t trip over it. Fix it to the strap point on your tele, lens foot or camera body only if the body is much lighter than the lens. Tie off to your own harness or boat rail / safety line in a way you are not blocking or causing a hazard and make sure you have the captain’s and safety officer’s agreement. If you have a heavy set up — tripod etc -Secure your gear separately from you own safety harness and safety wire.
A QD FITTING WILL SIMPLY NOT BE STRONG ENOUGH to handle the dynamic load when the gear is stopped when the lanyard tightens.
I work on 50kg rating or higher if the gear can fall some way. Work on a snatch load capacity more than 20x the weight of the gear (body, lens, monopod) - Smaller capacity if you fix the lanyard to at fitting point on your harness/life vest etc. remember you must wear a life vest and sometimes immersion suit as well. I would try to keep the line/lanyard to 1m/3feet or so. My harness is normally tied off to the vessels’ rail/safety wire connected to my life vests harness and then when shooting handheld or with a monopod my gear is tied to my harness as well - this means I only need to unhook my safety line when I move about the vessel. Moving about carrying gear needs to be done with care normally one uses both hands, but you will need on hand on your gear while moving to stop it swinging about. Clearly sea conditions will determine what you can do.
Here is a Good article

I should have been thinking in that direction all along. I use a lanyard on my underwater camera housing in case I drop it when diving. I'll need to check the rating and I may have one set that is strong enough, in fact it is so big I never use it. If not, simple to build something that is. Thanks.
 

Andy Miller Photo UK

Andy Miller Photo UK - Nikon/Hasselblad shooter
Supporting Member
I should have been thinking in that direction all along. I use a lanyard on my underwater camera housing in case I drop it when diving. I'll need to check the rating and I may have one set that is strong enough, in fact it is so big I never use it. If not, simple to build something that is. Thanks.

Sounds like you have experience/a rating --

As you know you must not impinge the operation of your life vest/life jacket or its fit. Mine is inflatable so I cannot wear a strap over it (mine is made by Baltic and has a built in harness and safety line fixing point).

While I could wear a black-rapid twin harness or similar under the vest and attach to it -- but I consider it safer to attach a safety line from the same fixing point to my gear.

Now if you are on calm seas and a large stable vessel -- then you can probably shoot like you are on land; but if you are on a 30' sailboat or a chasing launch OR rib - like I was not long ago -- then you will need to work out with the skipper how you are going to shoot -- presumably as a group.

I have been on Ribs in groups with saddle seats and we had to sit down while shooting as a group and so a monopod (which can be dangerous if not tied to you) or hand holding gear was essential (including 400 or 600).

In fishing vessels in the Mull on a calm day shooting white tail eagles -- we were not "required" to wear life vests and could "wander about" but when the weather picked up the rules changed and we all donned life jackets. When I skipper everyone wears a vest. {the rules of the road are a little different with locals -- but safety is key}

I self drive a rib fairly often around the solent/poole harbour and between and shoot whatever is interesting (and a few races) - most of the time I am sitting behind the wheel shooting. Sometimes I bring along a skipper and I shoot out from the bow. I am always attached to the boat and my gear attached to me.

Shooting while racing yachts is more challenging -- and lots of fun -- but small light gear is what is needed. Unless you and your client/host just want to go for it.

You will need to keep the gear you are NOT using at the time dry and salt free - I tend to strap a peli-case in front of the helm in the ribs I hire for quick access or strap a pack into a spare seat in the dry. Never change lenses in the open.

Some folk use camera/lens rain coats on their gear to keep the salt/spray out - I tend not to these days.
Just take lots of dry lens cloths and wipe your gear down at the end of the day.
I prefer NOT to use zoom lenses which extend significantly in/out while zooming -- unless they are wrapped. Otherwise salty water can get inside and that can be trouble.

I will be attending a racing shoot during cowes week on The Solent next year using a catamaran (which can do 28 knots) and there will be 10 shooters+2 guides and lots of deck and stern space -- it is a stable platform upto force 4 -- but above that -- it becomes interesting above that ........ A not untypical day on a rib with my skipper and two shooters (me behind the lens)


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RichF

Well-known member
Supporting Member
Try a QD attached to an L bracket on the body and use in peak design wrist. Not ideal for holding the camera but may save the camera from Davey Jones locker

 
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