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Old 18 February 2007, 13:05   #1
Country: Other
Town: Valencia
Length: no boat
Join Date: Oct 2006
Posts: 135
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, 13:26   #2
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Town: Brighton
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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.


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Old 18 February 2007, 14:29   #3
Country: UK - England
Boat name: Coastalbuzz
Make: Brill Ribcraft
Length: 7m +
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MMSI: tba
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 328
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, 14:39   #4
Country: UK - England
Town: Newcastle Staffs
Boat name: blue it
Make: ribcraft 7.5
Length: 7m +
Engine: suzuki df225
Join Date: Dec 2005
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pbo march issue have done a practical test on the most common auto jackets,
may be worth a look.
Top banana
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Old 18 February 2007, 16:42   #5
Country: UK - England
Length: 7m +
Join Date: Jan 2004
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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, 17:52   #6
Country: Ireland
Town: Galway
Boat name: rockhopper
Make: ballistic
Length: 6m +
Engine: petrol
Join Date: Nov 2006
Posts: 525
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 @ 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.

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Old 19 February 2007, 04:01   #7
Country: Other
Town: Stanley, Falkland Is
Boat name: Seawolf
Make: Osprey Vipermax 5.8
Length: 5m +
Engine: Etec 150
Join Date: Mar 2006
Posts: 3,704
My Hammar ones from the Marine Warehouse certainly fall into the "so comfortable you don't know you are wearing it" category
A Boat is a hole in the water, surrounded by fibreglass, into which you throw money...

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Old 19 February 2007, 11:49   #8
Martin's Avatar
Country: UK - England
Town: Pagham Harbour
Boat name: Scallywag
Make: Arran 16
Length: 4m +
Engine: Tohatsu
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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

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Old 19 February 2007, 12:24   #9
Country: Ireland
Town: Cork
Boat name: Dalesman
Make: Excalibur 6.8
Length: 6m +
Engine: Merc 1.7 diesel
Join Date: Feb 2004
Posts: 167
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

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Old 19 February 2007, 12:40   #10
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Country: Netherlands
Town: Breda
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Engine: Evinrude 250 DI
Join Date: Oct 2003
Posts: 368
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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