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Old 18 February 2007, 14:05   #1
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Best Lifejackets

Hi, I see from a previous thread a post about 175N Automatic lifejackets for 40 GBP from a mail order outlet. I am after some new lifejackets & wonder if these are sufficient. My concern about automatic gas ones is how sensitive they are to spray & how can I be sure they will actually inflate when needed.

Has anyone had any bad experiences of them? & the Crewsaver ones are almost double the money, is it a false economy getting the cheaper ones?

Sorry, a few questions I know but I appreciate any advice. Anyone requiring advice about boating in Spain please ask away.
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Old 18 February 2007, 14:26   #2
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I've always used XM Quickfit lifejackets because they are much cheaper than the Crewsaver equivalent. They don't have that Crewsaver feel, but they are perfectly adequate.

You can be pretty sure that any auto lifejacket on the market will work OK, and there are only a few makes of inflation system which are used by all the lifejacket manufacturers.

In all but the worst circumstances the regular (cheaper) type of auto system will be fine -- you have to be taking a lot of solid green water over the boat to activate one prematurely (leaving a wet lifejacket in the boot of your car is a more likely scenario actually).

The more expensive lifejackets are generally nicer (heavy duty webbing, quality feel) but I don't think they are any safer.

John
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Old 18 February 2007, 15:29   #3
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lifejackets and spray

Hello I have used many different types over the last 5 years and Its fair to say been soaked with spray, hail, rain etc on many occasions.
Crewsavers never misfired and went off when dave stepped off the boat in 6 metres no problem they were 18mths old at that point.
Sigma from Lalizas (who I sell) are about the cheapest jackets I have found, I always used them for a season and sold them, they have the reputation as being cheap no frills jackets but they are comfy, and in my experience very reliable, simple auto mechanisms, hidden by folds in jacket itself, we really abused them to the extent they got 400 hours use in 4 months. They also never misfired and again fired when we tried the most worn out ones after the year by leaping in!
Omega from lalizas a bit more refined both kids and adults all 195 newtons (mrked 150) all performed well but I found not as comfy as the basic sigmas.

Omega kids brilliant wellmade and well performing, had a client trip and fall in 2 metres fired V quick and chuffed client. ( I later sold all of these used at 4 months old on a rolling basis and one was bought by Daniel tD5 from this forum whose daughter fell in big time and who didn't get hair wet! ) despite the jacket being used and also 120 hours or so in use in some Vwet/heavy seas.

So we've used the market leader and the budget ranges plus one in the middle in all sorts of seas and never had any problems. I have sold many to other forum users and Noone has had an accidental auto firing.
I don't think theres a problem if you check them everyso often.
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Old 18 February 2007, 15:39   #4
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Send a message via AIM to Top banana
pbo march issue have done a practical test on the most common auto jackets,
may be worth a look.
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Old 18 February 2007, 17:42   #5
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My first lifejacket a few years ago was a gas jobbie and was the cheapest I could find. It was very uncomfortable to wear. I've gradually bought more expensive ones as funds have allowed and now use a Crewsaver 275 Hamar activation. Its very compact given the extra bouyancy it has, and as John say does have a "quality" feel about it. Last Saturday I wore it for about 12 hours and really didnt notice it was there. With the cheap one I first had (which I still do have) you know its there after a few minutes because it's so uncomfortable around the neck. It would seem that a few more quid gets you a much more comfortable jacket.
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Old 18 February 2007, 18:52   #6
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Life Jackets

Hi Do there,

I bought 4 of them last year and they looked like Crew Saver lookalikes.
They were comfortable and with the Hydrostatic trigger and though you dont mention it, they had the Stainless Steel closing mechanism which doubles as lifting/anchour point for safety harness, most useful.

Dont know the make but if you contact Paula in Union Chandlery in Cork
info @ unionchandlery.com I think I paid only 75 each for twoX150 and less for the Children 100 Newtons. Thats Euro not Str.

Hope that helps, they were comfortable and light and well made. Thigh Straps were extra.

Aidan
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Old 19 February 2007, 05:01   #7
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My Hammar ones from the Marine Warehouse certainly fall into the "so comfortable you don't know you are wearing it" category
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Old 19 February 2007, 12:49   #8
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I have always found the Sea Safe Systems to be the best.

I have both the jacket with integrated life jacket and their seperate life jackets, they are brilliant.

Here is their web site

https://secure4.titaninternet.co.uk/....asp?section=2

Martin
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Old 19 February 2007, 13:24   #9
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The main thing to look out for is that the jacket is CE marked which justifies its standard.

Couple of points regarding Auto inflate jackets. Check regularly that the gas bottle is not loose. during sea safety checks we are finding this to be a major problem. it would be an interesting exercise if all on the forum checked their bottles, reported back and we can then see the extent of the problem.

hydrostatic do suffer the same problems with bottle loosening, but cost an arm and a leg to service in comparison

Jon
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Old 19 February 2007, 13:40   #10
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Recently there was a test in a boating magazine, here in Holland.
Result: only the 275N are any good when wearing a sailing jacket.
Only a few makes do turn you around in the water and keep your head up.
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Old 19 February 2007, 14:23   #11
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Crewsaver preferred, otherwise Sea Safe.

Don't bother with 150N - if you're wearing normal clothing, or anything vaguely related to heavy weather clothing, only a 275N will turn you face up quickly. Also spend a bit more and get a decent sprayhood and light.

Buying cheap is flase economy - the jacket may look similar, but most jackets fail around key wear points - not external ones, but internal material folds are a favourite wear point.

Best for ribs is a proper rib jacket (like the RNLI ILB type, made by Crewsaver) which I use pretty much everyday and gives great bump protection as well as a degree of thermal protection.

150N are really only much use when wearing a drysuit.

Simon
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Old 19 February 2007, 15:07   #12
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One of the companies I do some work with is an organisation called Remploy, turns out they make most of the lifejackets in the UK then various cos rebrand them and sell them on.

Safe to say I took the oppurtunity to buy half a dozen 150N the other day for 15 each. ;-)
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Old 19 February 2007, 17:23   #13
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As regards the loosening of CO2 bottles I have read it is a very common problem. What about a tiny bit of LOW strength threadlock - the loctite purple one for example. Just got to make sure it is just applied to the thread on the bottle and doesn't go anywhere else!!!
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Old 20 February 2007, 03:49   #14
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There was also research done a few years ago that highlighted the fact that if you used a 275N jacket and were not heavy enough it was more dangerous that the 150N.
I seem to remember it was due to the fact that you were higher out of the water thus less stable and more likely to be capsized by the wave action. You would also be more wind movement effected
If I find the report again I'll link it
Jelly
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Old 20 February 2007, 06:21   #15
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As others have posted on here before, a potential problem with 275N jackets can be MOB recovery when it's inflated. The bladder is obviously a lot larger and more obtrusive than a 150/175N.

A significant hidden difference between models is whether the bladder is part of the cover or a separate skin. This will often have an effect on price as well. There may be extra bulk with a separate bladder of course but should be longer lasting as not so subject to outer wear.

It's all horses for courses and you should buy appropriate to your sort of boating and conditions.
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Old 20 February 2007, 15:46   #16
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Quote:
Originally Posted by codprawn View Post
As regards the loosening of CO2 bottles I have read it is a very common problem. What about a tiny bit of LOW strength threadlock - the loctite purple one for example. Just got to make sure it is just applied to the thread on the bottle and doesn't go anywhere else!!!
Don't think it would be a good idea. Just check the bottle a couple of times a year. keep it simple!
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Old 22 February 2007, 09:29   #17
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Quote:
Originally Posted by codprawn View Post
As regards the loosening of CO2 bottles I have read it is a very common problem. What about a tiny bit of LOW strength threadlock - the loctite purple one for example. Just got to make sure it is just applied to the thread on the bottle and doesn't go anywhere else!!!
I have not been and looked but I seem to remember the CO2 screws into a hard plastic surround (?) if this is the case I would definitly not use any form of thread lock. I used some on brass threads incased in ABS not so long ago and it decayed the plastic causing it to break up. Just a thought....
I have used PTFE tape on plastic though to no detriment but I really agree with Cork Rib the more you keep an eye on your kit the better it will look after you!
Steve
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Old 22 February 2007, 18:34   #18
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Just seen an article that covers several life Jackets in Motor Boat Owner I think.

Anyone interested and I can dig it out.

It covers a few makes...

Aidan
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Old 23 February 2007, 08:40   #19
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There have been quite a few reports of larger jackets being so cumbersome that they cause all sorts of problems. A few people have drowned because they couldn't get out from a capsized vessel due to the bulk of their lifejackets.

Another factor nobody seems to mention is an individuals own buoyancy. Some divers need a load of lead to make them sink - others hardly any. A really skinny person will need a much more buoyant lifejacket than someone who has their own built in - Jordan for example probably wouldn't need anything and is bound to be self righting!!! They don't call life jackets Mae Wests for nothing!!!
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