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Old 16 December 2009, 18:54   #1
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Crotch Straps and Life Jacket Lights

Reading about the recent incidents on the forum, and the thread about everybody wanting to buy a PLB, the discussion on Automatic v Manual Lifejackets.

Just out of interest:

  1. Do you check your lifejackets before you go out and routinely inflate them to check for leaks (24 hours with Pump)
  2. Do you have a crotch strap(s) fitted and use it.
  3. Spray hoods fitted to the Lifejacket
  4. Do you have a Lifejacket light fitted.
Your first line of defence is you lifejacket and your drysuit when in the water it keeps you alive till rescue arrives.

As a Lifeboat crew member said to me " Its ok having a PLB to alert us to your location, but we still need to get to you"

Helicopter Rescue on the Firth of Forth my play ground, will take at least 40 mins for the Helicopter to arrive on scene, after they removed Search n Rescue from RAF Leuchars.

Optional Extras that Manufacturers sell , crotch straps, lights and spray hoods are really life savers.

good link http://www.rnli.org.uk/what_we_do/se...lt_lifejackets



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Old 17 December 2009, 03:04   #2
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Crotch Straps

I've tried for ages to get a decent, robust, after-market crotch strap for my life jackets. The only ones I have seen, and the ones on my life jackets have a thin webbing strap, maybe 20mm, and snap buckles that are correspondingly small. If I was to be rescued, and the rescuer grabbed hold of my lifejacket, I am sure it would not take much heaving for the crotch strap to fail (either that or do serious damage to certain parts of my anatomy )
Are there any with decent width straps out there
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Old 17 December 2009, 03:25   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Ian M View Post
I am sure it would not take much heaving for the crotch strap to fail (either that or do serious damage to certain parts of my anatomy
While there is always the possibility that a rescuer will grab your lifejacket if things get desperate, your removal from the water should be more managed than that for a number of reasons.

The strap is there mainly to stop an inflated lj from riding up over your head and you ending up clinging to it rather than wearing it.

That said most manufacturers offer a combined harness/lifejacket and these do tend to have more robust straps all round, as well as the handy securing point on the front. One of these might suit you better.
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Old 17 December 2009, 04:48   #4
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I recently bought crotch straps for all our lifejackets, XM do a reasonably robust one and the buckles are, if anythng, better than the one on the one lifejacket that came with a strap fitted.

I don't routinely check the lifejackets, in our area the local RNLI station at Oban do a free checking service in the spring and I normally try and check them once or twice during the season.
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Old 17 December 2009, 05:16   #5
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Originally Posted by Ian M View Post
The only ones I have seen, and the ones on my life jackets have a thin webbing strap, maybe 20mm, and snap buckles that are correspondingly small. If I was to be rescued, and the rescuer grabbed hold of my lifejacket, I am sure it would not take much heaving for the crotch strap to fail
Exactly this happened on the Clipper 07-08 Round the World Yacht Race - a crewman went overboard, and as they were hauling him up, his crotch strap buckle parted, and he ended up in the water with no Lifejacket. The skill of te skipper and crew of Glasgow Clipper, not to mention a massive amount of good luck, got him back on board.

Clipper changed their lifejackets this year, and now have the Baltic ultimate - the manufacturers quote a "wider more comfortable crutch strap" and I'm not sure if this is the same one Clipper are using - I know that the race director was insistent (for obvious reasons) that it was substantially tougher than on previous models! May be worth checking out the ultimate.
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Old 17 December 2009, 05:31   #6
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May be worth checking out the ultimate.
http://www.baltic.se/product.asp?prod_id=94&lang=eng
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Old 17 December 2009, 05:50   #7
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Exactly this happened on the Clipper 07-08 Round the World Yacht Race - a crewman went overboard, and as they were hauling him up, his crotch strap buckle parted, and he ended up in the water with no Lifejacket. The skill of te skipper and crew of Glasgow Clipper, not to mention a massive amount of good luck, got him back on board.

Clipper changed their lifejackets this year, and now have the Baltic ultimate - the manufacturers quote a "wider more comfortable crutch strap" and I'm not sure if this is the same one Clipper are using - I know that the race director was insistent (for obvious reasons) that it was substantially tougher than on previous models! May be worth checking out the ultimate.
Jimbo - my understanding was that this shouldn't be able to happen with a correctly fitted lifejacket even with no crutch straps so the wearer may not have correctly fitted it. My understanding was that crutch straps were designed to make your position within the jacket more comfortable and ensure that you sat 'higher' in the water so your face was less likely to be submerged by waves etc - but that the normal straps were designed to take the "load" during recovery etc. Perhaps if you are more 'rotund' then your waste is larger than your shoulders though? Hey, RougeWave can you get your lifejacket off over your head without undoing it?
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Old 17 December 2009, 05:59   #8
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I bought (4x) Seago 175 auto-inflate lifejackets a couple of years ago.

1/ I routinely check them, probably more so at the start of the season
2/ All have crotch straps (essential in my opinion)
3/ None have hoods
4/ Only one with a light
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Old 17 December 2009, 05:59   #9
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The above is true, it shouldn't ride up but reading reviews in magazines this isn't always the case.
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Old 17 December 2009, 06:34   #10
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Is it not about time that all Life Jackets were surpplied from new with Crotch straps,and it was made illegal to sell without them.Then if you choose not to use them its up to you.
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