according to compass24 website about lifejackets
Classification according to EU standards - Lifejackets are subdivided into different buoyancy classes. The criterion for this is the minimum support force, or buoyancy, expressed in Newtons (N). EU standards 396 and 399 also cover a certain level of safety for unconscious persons, meaning that the jacket buoyancy is distributed so that an unconscious person is quickly turned onto their back, face up. The buoyancy level in these standards relates to a person weighing 70 kgs, thus the actual buoyancy of lifejackets in the same class can in fact vary depending on the weight of the wearer. If in doubt, always go for a jacket in the next class up to be on the safe side. The standards stipulate that the automatic inflation mechanism should be triggered within 10 seconds of immersion in water.
EN 393 - 50 N buoyancy aid
For use by good swimmers in safe waters only as long as assistance is at hand. Not safe for unconscious persons..
EN 395 – 100 N
Lifejacket suitable for adults and children who are swimmers for use in inland waters and safe areas. Only limited protection for unconscious persons, depending on clothing.
EN 396 – 150 N
lifejacket for swimmers and non-swimmers, for all waters. Only limited protection for unconscious persons wearing heavy waterproof clothing or in extreme sea states.
EN 399 – 275 N
Lifejacket for offshore use and extreme conditions. Immediate protection for unconscious persons, with turnover guaranteed within 5 seconds. Adequate buoyancy even with heavy clothing.
Service - Keep to the manufacturer’s recommended servicing intervals, as only regular inspection will ensure that the lifejacket functions properly in an emergency. You should have your lifejackets checked by an authorised agent who has the necessary equipment for testing the bladder and inflation mechanism and can issue the requisite test certificate.
Compass can organise servicing for you – send us your lifejacket and we’ll get it checked by the manufacturer in the minimum of time.
Rearming kit - A rearming kit should always be kept on board for use after an emergency. In any case, it makes sense to do a "test run" once in a while and inflate the jacket while wearing it, ideally prior to winter servicing. Don’t spare the expense of a kit – your safety is more important than the cost of a cartridge – and make sure you get the right kit, as manufacturers supply different gas cylinders for different models and only the correct one will fit. When inserting a new tablet, check that no bits of the old one remain in the mechanism; the tablet compartment should be completely clean and dry. After replacing cartridges/tablets, work through the manufacturer’s checklist to ensure proper functioning.
Every crew member needs their own personal lifejacket that should be comfortable yet secure and suitable for the conditions in which it is used. The shape of the buoyancy aid, especially the cut of the neck, and safe and easy operation of the lifebelt are important for handling and fit.
A good cut is essential for a comfortable fit. The weight of the jacket should be evenly distributed to the shoulders as well as the neck. A closed V section not only makes it easier to don the jacket, but also increases comfort. The neck should be free and the jacket should lie flat. Short "bolero" cut jackets with a lifebelt that sits high on the chest give greater freedom of movement.
The best lifebelt fastener designs include mushroom- or anchor-type fasteners and also good “plug-in” systems. Adjustment of the lifebelt should be sufficiently easy for it to be readjustable using one hand even in the water. You should practise operating the lifebelt mechanism and ensure that other persons sailing with you are familiar with it too.
The lifejacket should have a basic setting and be kept on board where it can be accessed rapidly in an emergency. Practise putting it on and operating and adjusting the lifebelt until you can do it quickly.
Once put on, a lifejacket should fit closely to the upper body, with the lifebelt positioned roughly above the breastbone and adjusted so that a hand can pass between the belt fastener and the breastbone. In practice jackets tend to be worn too loose, which can significantly worsen the position of an unconscious person in the water. When changing clothes, for example after putting on heavy oilies, you should always readjust the lifejacket.
Tips for emergency situations
If you fall into the water, attract attention immediately either by blowing the whistle or by means of the light on the lifejacket.
Check and adjust the lifejacket. If necessary, top up the air by blowing into the valve to increase the buoyancy.
Draw clothing around you as tightly as possible – pull on hat or spray-hood to protect your head.
Do not remove restrictive clothing or boots, and adopt the "embryo" position to conserve body heat and prevent overcooling.
Keep arms close to the body and draw legs up slightly.
Avoid any unnecessary movement, as this will displace water already heated by the body.