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Old 11 November 2002, 07:22   #1
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Automat/manual lifeckets?

Hello

During the course of my three years ribbing experience I have switched from a manual gas lifejacket to a fully automatic jacket.

I was wondering what types of LJ people wore and why
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Old 11 November 2002, 07:38   #2
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Obviously both manual & automatic lifejackets only become lifejackets the moment they inflate. Therefore the fact that if I (or anyone onboard) hits the water unconcious (or very disorientated) they in effect have no lifejacket on makes it a straightforward decision for me.

In spite of the downsides of automatic lifejackets (they have a tendancy to go off after a while if you don't replace the salt capsule) I think the extra costs associated with accidental inflation (which generally are highly ammusing anyway) are a small price to pay. (as a result I always carry spares kits and lifejackets on board.

Paul
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Old 11 November 2002, 07:50   #3
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What I use isn't exactly a life jacket as such, it's my scuba BCD. I wear it partially inflated when on the boat, and with the emergency cylinder I can, if I need to, quickly fully inflate it by just opening the valve. The partially inflated BCD along with the drysuit however provide enough bouyancy to keep me afloat.

Eventually, when money allows, I'll be buying a proper boating drysuit and lifejacket, as dive gear isn't the most comfortable alternative. When I do upgrade, I'll probably go with an automatic.

Matt
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Old 11 November 2002, 07:56   #4
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I've moved from a dinghy style bouyency aid to an auto-gas jacket this season, mainly because i have started going out at night, in the rough and think that the higher risk of falling out in these conditions justifies this.

Oh, and the RNLI sea-check guy suggested it too!

Once i had confirmed that an auto-jacket would not go off from spray i could not see any reason to go for manual gas type - the RNLI use auto ones.

How often is the auto-trigger supposed to be replaced then?

Daniel
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Old 11 November 2002, 11:33   #5
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Auto inflate are great for passages and night work, but if you find yourself on dinghy support ie leaning out of boat working on said dinghy watch out they have a habit of going off!!
Also don't leave them in a wet sail bag always worth a giggle
unless you can afford a hydrostatic release!
Jelly
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Old 11 November 2002, 11:55   #6
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Once i had confirmed that an auto-jacket would not go off from spray i could not see

The problem with auto's is not if they go off in spray (unlikely) but when a green wave says hello while you are driving. Jacket goes off, while you are still trying to hold the wheel, which is should we say "inconvienant" at 20+ knots.

The RNLI as I understand it, spent a LARGE amount of money testing automatics for just that reason, and I guess they found it was possible. Whether you auto off the shelf can do that also is another matter.

You are better off with an auto, and you can detatch the auto mechanism to make them manual only on some models.

As a further not, I know of a commercial user that tested a variety of auto's before bulk ordering.

For vertical jumping (feet first) they all passed, but many failed if there was any side angle (ripped the material).
Result = Buy a crewsaver model!

Tiger
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Old 11 November 2002, 11:59   #7
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My only concern with an automatic is the possibility of, during a capsize, ending up under the boat and having difficulty getting out with the LJ inflated. Im not sure if this is more or less likely than getting KO'd. Though in a RIB theres a few less hard bits to bounce off than most boats.

I currently use a bouyancy aid rather than a life jacket but have intentions to change, although the bouyancy aid does offer good heat insulation (even with a drysuit) and is also a bit of good padding if you get thrown against the helm seat or A frame. When I do get some LJ's auto or manual I may be tempted to wear the BA most of the time and if things start getting hairy swap.

Mike
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Old 11 November 2002, 12:20   #8
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Question are you intending to use the LJ in a cabin craft?
The reason is that a few years ago a seismic company had a work boat with a cabin which capsized, result was the two opperators in the cabin died and the two on deck survived.
The reason was the same as aircraft and helicopters LJ's are not auto's. The jacket went off trapping the opperators in the cabin.

I also know some one thrown out of an open RIB and found himself under water, as he was reaching for the manual firing tab, he looked up and saw the props go over head

There are times when you need the bouyancy and times you don't.
I think its another one of those individual users judgement calls depending on what exactly they are doing.
Jelly
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Old 11 November 2002, 12:41   #9
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Only seen a auto go off once, and that was caused by washing the boat down with the hose pipe! As ppl say, quite amusing at first but a pain having to replace the cartridge afterwards.

15 years ago the sports diving world had a war between those who used Adjustable Bouyancy Lifejackets which floats an unconcious diver face up and the modern stab jacket which provides lots of bouyancy but won't guarrantee a face up attitude in the water. Nowadays everyone wears stab jackets without a thought to the hot debates in every club thoughout the land.

Manual for me please, and I will take a chance that I am concious enough to pull the toggle.

Pete
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Old 11 November 2002, 13:01   #10
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Automatic for me please. I want it to inflate whether or not I manage to pull the toggle.

For more thoughts you can also search the foums for previous threads like this one, or read the article in the features section.

My view is that the inonvenience of a prematurely inflated lifejacket is outweighed by the inconvenience of one that doesn't inflate!

It is a personal judgement though, but make sure you think it through carefully -- especially with regard to less experienced crew and passengers. Don't underestimate the debilitating effect of thermal shock in cold water either.

Whatever you chose, make sure you use it!

By the way, unless they have changed recently, lifeboat crews only use fully inflatable life jackets on "all weather" boats. RIB crews either have permanently bouyant life jackets or the Crewsaver combination life jacket with both.

John
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Old 11 November 2002, 13:23   #11
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Whatever you chose, make sure you use it!


Yup, best lifejacket in the world is damned useless in a locker.

Keith (mine's an auto with the depth thingy as well) Hart
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Old 11 November 2002, 14:16   #12
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Manual when in my SIB (not much to bang head on)

Automatic on a RIB (lots of hard bits to bang head on) - this was proven on the BIBOA Weymouth cruise. Funny (not) how when it got rough, the injuries started.... On the outward leg, I managed to head-but the GPS. Fortunately I was wearing my Geko helmet, but unfortunately the GPS didn't come off very well. On the return leg (well, the return attempt) another crew member suffered a nasty head bump. Speaks for itself, I reckon.
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Old 11 November 2002, 14:48   #13
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After reading all the thread,s can anyone suggest which auto jacket is best value for money.


Rubber (no coin,s left)Jonny
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Old 11 November 2002, 15:06   #14
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have a look at www.compass24.com auto jackets from £35 for non hammar . We have some hydrostatic hammar mechanism jackets but also some of these £35 ones- no problems with them getting wet and premature firing from spray/waves etc and they do work cos a certain nameless instructor dropped one in the oggin at weekend and I now need a re-arming kit Well done Simon! (oh sorry ignore that accidental name drop )
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Old 11 November 2002, 17:10   #15
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I've been using the XM Quickfit life jackets which I bought very cheaply at the London Boat Show a few years back. Although they are not quite the same quality as the Crewsaver, they have worn well and are very good value for money.

Shop around on line and you can find them for under fifty quid!

Having said that, for regular use I would probably go for the Crewsaver next time although it's getting on for twice the price as it's not something you buy every day and I prefer the heavier weight webbing and better quality stitching.

XM and Crewsaver both make life jackets with the Hammar hydrostatic release for a few pounds extra too.

John
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Old 12 November 2002, 01:04   #16
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Looks good value JK.
Quote:
with free rescue kite
So, I'll ask the dumb question anyway. What is a 'rescue kite'?

K (in a hurry) H
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Old 12 November 2002, 02:17   #17
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Auto/Manaul Lifejackets

I wear an XM Automatic Lifejacket with built in lifting Harness & crouch straps once inflated has 150n bouyancy.

I find it very comfortable to wear & dose not get in the way when at the helm, but my main point is this

If you are unfortunate to hit your head when falling overboard it will automatically inflate and turn you face up "It helps". The canisters are very easy to change & cheap.

I tried mine out durng the summer it works fine and I am a fully paid up member of the Fat Boys Club!!!

Try the Marine Super Store in Port Solent only £49.

Regards
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Old 12 November 2002, 02:33   #18
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Originally posted by Keith Hart
So, I'll ask the dumb question anyway. What is a 'rescue kite'?
Why not look on the site that is selling them / giving them away?

John
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Old 12 November 2002, 06:13   #19
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It's supposedly a kite that's a radar reflector. If it's any good at being the reflector, I dunno, but it should make a decent kite. So, when you're stranded out at sea, it gives you something to do!

Matt
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Old 12 November 2002, 07:04   #20
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When Instructing in the School the Students wear Autos and the Instructors generally wear manual in case they have to enter the water. ( I as principal have left this up to individual Intructors as to what the Instructor wears)

In the Army Boat Squad we wear manuals with a choice of manual or auto for passengers depending on the operational requirement.

When Cruising myself ( on the odd day off I manage) I wear an auto every time !

Horses for courses !

I always wear a life jacket even with a Dry Suit. Anyone who thinks there is no need to wear a LJ with a dry suit should read the Ballycotton Inquiry Report concerning the drowning of 4 Fisheries Officers while engaged on a routine patrol over here 12 years ago. Very akin I would say, to our friends in Finland.

The Ballycotton report is the bible for those of us who drive boats for the Government here in Ireland.

Best wishes,

Stuart
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