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The Norfolk Broads Forum / General Chat / Life Jackets
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Posted By Discussion Topic: Life Jackets

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Richard
Mar-26-2006 @ 6:40 PM                           Permalink
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After the recent incident the subject of life jackets has been a topic at our house.

While we always wear jackets in higher risk situations, crossing Breydon, when it's blowing really hard etc. we've come to the conclusion that we've been rather cavalier in the past, and that we should wear them at all times.

The boat yard provide great jackets, although they call them buoyancy aids - not sure what the difference is, and the ones for kids look good and fit well. But with the larger ones I'm forever getting caught up in bits of string and such.

I was looking to get one of the thin auto inflate types, like the people who know what they're doing seem to wear. Problem is they cost an arm and a leg in the USA (ok you shouldn't put a price tag on safety, but..), after looking at cheaplifejackets.co.uk (thanks very much to whom ever posted that link) and thought the Parmaris Raider might be suitable.

Any thoughts, recommendations ?

This message was edited by Richard on Mar-26-06 @ 5:42 PM

Jonzo
Mar-26-2006 @ 7:03 PM                           Permalink
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I must admit my approach is similar to yours Richard. The majority of my boating these days is on the relatively calm waters above Acle, and so I very rarely wear a life jacket when hiring dayboats etc. That said, there is always the possibility of tripping over while hopping off the boat during mooring etc.

I know that if I were on more tidal waters I would definitely wear whatever buoyancy aid was provided. Furthermore if I were in a dinghy or yacht (it has been known) I would also probably wear one regardless of where I was because of the inherent lack of stability etc.

As I understand it, the difference between Life Jackets and Bouyancy Aids is that the latter are the cheaper "waistcoat" style affairs that boatyards tend to issue you as they are inexpensive and low maintenance. Lifejackets as you say are what people who seem to know what they're doing (not me) seem to wear. They often have the advantage of a gas cylinder to inflate them and give extra buoyancy when you need it. I think they also conform to a higher safety standard? The disadvantage is that they are initially more expensive to buy, and require periodic replacement of the gas canister.

This message was edited by Jonzo on Mar-26-06 @ 6:09 PM

idlerx
Mar-26-2006 @ 7:20 PM                           Permalink
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Ok - a lifejacket is supposed to keep the face of an unconscious person out of the water - you can't really swim much in one - boyancy aids are designed for swiimers who undertake watersports and have a smaller safety factor. All lifejackets are much more efficient if the crotch strap is fashioned. PaulW

NB I've only ever seen lifejackets issued by boatyards.

This message was edited by idlerx on Mar-26-06 @ 6:23 PM

fendoff
Mar-26-2006 @ 8:01 PM                           Permalink
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Hi Richard
Download this Crewsaver catalogue and it explains the differences.

http://www.crewsaver.co.uk/Crewsaver2006.pdf

Also Practical Boat Owner tested most of the cheaper auto life jackets and a brief summary of all of them is here

http://www.seagoyachting.co.uk/PDF/PBO-Article.pdf

I have just bought some more automatic life jackets this week from the Marine Super Store. They are selling Crewsaver Freedom with hammer trigger at £69-95 and some cheaper XM Quickfit Autos at £44-95. The Crewsaver are more comfortable than the XM for me as the XM seem very high on the chest. The XM might also be unsuitable for a lady but I have a female tester due next weekend so we shall see.  Playful Wink

http://www.marine-super-store.com/posit/shop/index.php?category=6&group=7

fendoff

PizzaLover
Mar-26-2006 @ 9:52 PM                           Permalink
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The Parmaris Raider looks as good as any from this distance.
I did 15 seconds of research, and couldn't find out how to re-arm one... which either means that it is really easy (using standard kits) or is hard. I'd suggest that the answer to that question should be sought.
Re-arming involves (for some, if not all) a gas cylinder and an immersion-detection-device.
The cylinders look like they might last for a very long time. The immersion-detectors have expiry dates.
The cylinders don't weigh a LOT but their weight is a significance. A chap who is flying might consider baggage weight and bulk of such garments.

lifeboatbod
Mar-26-2006 @ 10:28 PM                           Permalink
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In an ideal world we would all have auto lifejackets and wear them from the time we get out of the car to the time we get back into the car. This is not only unlikely to happen it is normally impractical. I personally will always wear a lifejacket when....

1. In the Lifeboat (Its regulations)
2. When outside the cockpit of a cruiser at any time.
3. When the weather is bad or likely to get bad quickly.

Auto lifejackets can be a hinderance in a real emergency, for instance if the boat overturns (Such as the Breakaway V) then the jacket would inflate and you would have litte or no chance of getting out. For people who have larger boats that are unlikely, In normal use, to capsize then they are fine.

Basic difference is as stated by idlerx, Lifejackets should bring your face out of the water if you are knocked unconcious.

I recently purchased one (Maunual Gas) for myself when in boats other than ones owned by the RNLI. It cost me £50 from a well known chandler in Oulton Broad and as far as I am concerned that is money very well spent. The replacement cylinders at between £5 and £15 is a small price to pay to have that knowledge that it will work when you need it.

Ex Small boat driver and SAR for the forces and still joined a lifeboat...am I mad!!!

fendoff
Mar-26-2006 @ 10:28 PM                           Permalink
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Hi
PizzaLover makes an interesting point about flying. Some airlines will not allow the co2 cylinders to be carried. See this on the Rya site and check with your airline.
http://www.rya.org.uk/KnowledgeBase/boatingabroad/flying.htm  

fendoff

Jimbo
Mar-26-2006 @ 10:49 PM                           Permalink
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Its funny that airlines wont let you carry the cylinders on board when you consider that every single seat has a life jacket underneath containing just the same type of cylinder  Question

Speleologist
Mar-26-2006 @ 10:51 PM                           Permalink
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As I've implied in another thread, the key issue I see is not if, but what. I see four basic products

1. Self inflating lifejacket
2. Manual Lifejacket
3. Manual or Self inflating with pernmanent bouyancy (effectively a bouyancy aid uninflated, a lifejacket inflated)
4. A bouyancy Aid

Of these, I would favour the lifejacket offshore, but would prefer manual ( Having had an auto lifejacket inflat in a knockdown, when it wasn't needed) In other circumstances I prefer a bouyancy aid, as it allows me to swim, and to dive if necessary. With a bouyancy aid I am at greater risk if unconscious, but I see that as a lesser risk than being unable to swim or dive appropriately to look after the boat or other crew.

Robin
www.robin.me.uk

dannyboy
Mar-26-2006 @ 10:59 PM                           Permalink
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I have to admit that we too have been cavalier about this in the past, and have had a similar chat since reading that thread!

We have always used buoyancy aids on the broads and found them ideal. I appreciate that no product can provide total safety, but we tend to exercise other precautions in a blow or on Breydon, such as insisting everyone is down in the cockpit - and even tying on if of necessity we have to be on top of the yacht...

The self inflating types look great, but you do have to stay on top of them, check them etc. and for our occasional Broads sailing, I fear we might get complacent. So for us, at the moment, it's stick with the buoyancy aids - but wear them!!!

Danny

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