USE OF SEATBELTS AND SHOULDER HARNESSES IN SEAPLANES.
Seaplanes are subject to the seatbelt and shoulder harness requirements of FAR Sec. 91.107, namely that during takeoff and landing each person must occupy a seat with a seatbelt and shoulder harness (if installed) fastened about the person. Unfortunately, takeoff and landing are the phases of flight where improper pilot technique or water or wind conditions could result in a capsized seaplane. The shock of entering cold water and being inverted while strapped into a seat can cause panic in passengers. That is why the preflight briefing on seatbelt operation is very important. Some operators have occupants leave seatbelts unfastened during water taxiing to position for takeoff or have pilots instruct passengers when to unfasten seatbelts for water taxiing after landing. Other operators have occupants leave seatbelts loosely fastened while water taxiing. A loosely fastened or unfastened seatbelt, however, may not offer adequate protection for occupants if the seaplane should capsize during water taxiing. Plough taxiing usually does not involve high speeds and the use of either practice may be acceptable; however, at no time during step taxiing should passengers remove or loosen seatbelts. If an operator chooses either procedure, the preflight briefing on the fastening and unfastening of seatbelts and shoulder harnesses must be accurate and complete so that the pilot does not have to be distracted at critical phases of flight by supplying additional instructions to passengers.
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