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Old 02 April 2003, 04:10   #1
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Auto inflating life jackets

Having decided to go for one of these ,seems to be a big price difference & would appreciate peoples opinions:

Eg: Compass compact @ 36.95

http://www.compass24.com/cgi-bin/abn...l&ARTNR=832225

Sigma @ 40.00

http://www.aladdinscave.co.uk/main/p...cket_sigma.htm

Crewsaver @ 85

http://www.seamarknunn.co.uk/catalog/items/item2764.htm

This one looks very interesting as it has a wave hood & hammar inflating mechanism, ocean passage @ 90 quid

http://www.aladdinscave.co.uk/main/p...eanpassage.htm

Back to my question, do they all use same mechanism or is the Hammar mechanism a better one to go for, which would mean I should buy the crewsaver or ocean passage , I do think however a spray hood is an excellent feature.

If they all use same inflation device then might as well go for cheaper range ?
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Old 02 April 2003, 04:39   #2
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Mateboy,I like the hood thing also,The auto inflation/light thing is Good also,

But consider,would you ever want to swim to a casualty with your jacket on and maybe deflated,I have considered this,against being knocked out and it auto inflating,So we have two jackets one for her indoors that auto inflates and one manual inflatable for me ,just in case I have to go in the drink and fish somebody out,Cos swimming with an inflatable May west on isnt easy.

Food for thought. I cant remember what make we went for but will update.I also think we got a seperate,auto and manual attachment for them which was cheap. So we could decide what was appropriate for the situation. I Will come back to you tonight with a little more info,when the other half arrives home from work.
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Old 02 April 2003, 04:54   #3
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CH

Decided auto inflate is the only way to go for me

Have you tried swimming in icy water, impossible for the unacustomed due to bodies reaction to cold......... uncontrollable rapid panting & probably panic

I've experienced it - horrible

Heard a story the other day of chap working for ribtec managed to get knocked out of his boat through a brief lack of concentration at speed....he had a manual pull jacket and in the panic struggled for some time to even find the pull cord because of the cold & panic
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Old 02 April 2003, 05:03   #4
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Yes Your right about the cold shock,But you will have a dry suit on so this houldnt be a major thing initially.

I would maybe ask the question as your purchasing can you have a manual inflate mechanism as well,as ours were sent through and the cost was only a fiver,or free,I cant remember properly.Has the jacket got harness/crotch strapps as otherwise it can come off in certain situations.

We looked at the press tests and I think we went crewsaver as it had the best overall ratings,150 newton.

Good luck with it and lets hope you dont need to use it in anger.
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Old 02 April 2003, 05:09   #5
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I personally use a Baltic 150 Blue Water. Its a great life jacket and its backed by a 5yr warranty.

When I talked to the RNLI they stressed that a crotch strap is very important. Apparently lots of people slide out of their life jackets when they get recovered to the lifeboat.

Water activation is something you need to think about. The RNLI/MCA don't seem to have an official opinion so itís up to individual preference. I personally prefer automatic life jackets, just in case you get knocked out Ė but then I wear a drysuit so buoyancy isnít a problem when swimming as crazyhorse points out.
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Old 02 April 2003, 05:14   #6
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Hi Matiboy,

I would always go for an auto inflation lifejacket. If you are unconscious you need it to go off!

When buying their are 2 big differences between the two types of auto jacket. You can get a Hydrostatic firing mechanism or a salt mechanism.

The Salt mechanism works by having a salt tablet that will dissolve when it gets wet, once it has completely dissolved it releases a pin which will fire a hole in the gas cartridge. These types of jacket are cheaper but their is a slight risk that they may go off when getting very wet. In 8 years and thousands of hours I have only had one of these types go off when it should not, It was in a bag with water in the bottom. I have been told about people who have had this type of jacket go off when large amounts of water have hit them. If the top is secured properly this should not be the case I have been hit by waves and not had my'n go off.

The Hydrostatic type (more expensive) works on the water pressure. As you go deeper the pressure increases. This means that you can have a hydrostatic jacket getting wet with ought any risk of it going off. They will only fire if the water pressure reaches the correct amount.

If you set the 2 types of by accident I.e. falling in a salt mechanism will cost anywhere from £7 - £20 to refit yourself whereas a hydrostatic type can cost between £10 and £30 to repack yourself.

Other things to look for on a life jacket. I would always always ensure that their is a light on the jacket. If you have conducted a MOB exercise at night you will know how hard it is to find the person. If their is the slightest chance that you will be out at dusk or night then a light is essential.

A harness is a good idea if you are going to be using the jacket on a yacht as it provides a simple place to clip the jacket to.

A spray hood can be a life saver. If their is any kind of a chop then it is very easy to constantly swallow water. A hood will cut this down and their for prolong life.

Croch straps are also a good feature on a life jacket. These are webbing that links the waist belt back to the waist belt undet you legs. They can be uncomfotable to ware but could save your life. I have one but only ware it sometimes. You can buy these at a later date to the jacket for some modles if you want.

Warring a life jacket is the sensible thing to do how ever good at swimming you are in cold water Olympic swimmers can only manage a few minutes at best as cold shock has sapped their energy. Remember more people drown in a harbour or mariner environment than on the ocean. Best advise ware a life jacket and practice MOB with a drum or a ball.

Finished my essay now
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Old 02 April 2003, 05:28   #7
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Quote:
Originally posted by crazyhorse
Mateboy,I like the hood thing also,The auto inflation/light thing is Good also,

But consider,would you ever want to swim to a casualty with your jacket on and maybe deflated,I have considered this,against being knocked out and it auto inflating,So we have two jackets one for her indoors that auto inflates and one manual inflatable for me ,just in case I have to go in the drink and fish somebody out,Cos swimming with an inflatable May west on isnt easy.

Food for thought. I cant remember what make we went for but will update.I also think we got a seperate,auto and manual attachment for them which was cheap. So we could decide what was appropriate for the situation. I Will come back to you tonight with a little more info,when the other half arrives home from work.
I have also thought about this over and over. I can not think of many occasions if any where I would need to swim to a casualty. I would always advise taking the boat over to them. If you did need to then you would have to be very certain of your own ability to complete the task. Their is no advantage in creating a situation where you have 2 casualties. If you are warring a dry suit this may be a different situation but never the less moving the boat has got the be the better way to do things. One example of when a manual would be better is if you were unlucky enough to be in a flipped rib. A manual would allow you to swim and get on the upturned hull an auto could trap you in the dark. unless you have the light I keep going on about. (get a light)


I think in fact I am sure that you can take the auto mechanism out of certain jackets. This allows you to switch between manual and auto but donít lose the little bit or else you are stuck with manual. (did u do this CJL that is CJL not DJL)
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Old 02 April 2003, 05:32   #8
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If I was you I would get hold of a test on life jackets. They come up in the mags from time to time. When tested their is no guarantee that all the jackets will turn the person the right way up. This is especially true if the person has a lot of lose clothing on. I have tested a xm quick fit and a hydrostatic crewsaver and I could not manage to get the wrong way up however much i tried I always spun around again. I am however only about 9 stone. A point worth thinking about.


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Old 02 April 2003, 05:46   #9
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Yep it needs a bit of thought.I seem to remember that Baltic scored real well also.

I will see if I have last yrs tests.If so I will let you know what they recomended.
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Old 02 April 2003, 06:47   #10
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Hi folks

just a thought, we have stuck with Crewsaver, not because they are the best, cheapest(no chance ), but because all our lifejackets now use the same re-arming kit.

That way we only have one spare to carry, and you cant fit the wrong one.

I would recomend whatever you go for stick with that type for all the lifejackets on board.

Regards Gary
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