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Old 29 December 2007, 13:02   #1
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Floatation suits

These cheap fisherman's suits have been mentioned on here before - I have a few myself. Just thought people may be interested in this article.

http://www.mcga.gov.uk/c4mca/mcga-ne...F9&m=12&y=2007

The angler was swept into the water at Witches Point - Ogmore nr Portcawl. it's a really dodgy area and quite a few anglers have drowned there in the past.


"The floatation suit which the angler was wearing undoubtedly contributed to saving his life. His survival time would have been very short in the sea conditions, with a 1 to 2 metre swell and south westerly force 7 to gale force 8 onshore winds. In addition, hypothermia would have very quickly set in without the suit in the low sea temperatures (8-9 degrees) at this time of year."

It makes me wonder if a lifejacket is really needed if you are wearing one of these? Fjordrafting supply such suits to their customers without lifejackets. In fact a lifejacket may even make your stability worse in one of these - does anyone really know???
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Old 29 December 2007, 13:16   #2
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Hi Codders I agree the suit provides both bouyancy and insulation.
Another advantage is that it will not "ride up" like a poorly fitting life jacket would. And it will not faile to inflate!! as happened to a pal who's new jacket did when he jumped into a deep hole adjacent to the slip.
as to water temperature, today @ 23 Meters in a local quarry we recorded 8deg C.
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Old 29 December 2007, 15:14   #3
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Originally Posted by codprawn View Post
It makes me wonder if a lifejacket is really needed if you are wearing one of these? Fjordrafting supply such suits to their customers without lifejackets. In fact a lifejacket may even make your stability worse in one of these - does anyone really know???
I am sure if the MAIB fished your body out with just one of these on, there would be suitably scornful comments about them not being full lifejackets... ... I have one which I wear on the boat (main issue is its roasting inside one of these most of the year). I wear an auto gas inflation (150 N) Lifejacket over it most of the time but I have never been sure if that was a waste of time as the float suit would prevent the life jacket working properly. Perhaps I should take the plunge and get a 275 N manual jacket to wear over it?
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Old 30 December 2007, 08:46   #4
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These floatation suits will not right you if you fall in the water unconcious though, and for that you would need an auto-inflating lifejacket.

I had heard from someone down here that if you have a floatation suit on, you need a 275N lifejacket to be sure of righting in the event of falling in the water - no idea if anyone on here can confirm that?

I tend to wear my floatation suit only when it's freezing cold out since it has great insulation properties and is nicely waterproof. Anywhere from Aprl onwards is too hot however to wear the thing I find.

-Alex
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Old 30 December 2007, 12:22   #5
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These floatation suits will not right you if you fall in the water unconcious though, and for that you would need an auto-inflating lifejacket.
Over here, we have a separate rating used for PFDs - Personal Floatation Devices. As Alex mentions, the main difference is that they won't right an unconscious person in the water. They do have the advantage of being more comfortable to wear than a traditional life jacket... and are therefore used myuch more often. I believe the self-inflating vests have only recently been approved in Canada.

I don't own a single "life jacket"... all we wear are floatation coats and suits. Generally, you want them for warmth anyway...

Most of us wear gear from Mustang: http://www.mustangsurvival.com/index.php
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Old 30 December 2007, 14:22   #6
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These floatation suits will not right you if you fall in the water unconcious though, and for that you would need an auto-inflating lifejacket.
On the other hand the standard for lifejackets doesn't test its effectiveness at righting a casualty wearing clothes and is performed on an unclothed dummy. A throw away line in this months "Sailing today" implied that in their latest test none of them managed to right their test subject. Air trapped inside dry suits can have the same effect.
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Old 30 December 2007, 14:34   #7
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Originally Posted by Alex Brown View Post
These floatation suits will not right you if you fall in the water unconcious though, and for that you would need an auto-inflating lifejacket.

I had heard from someone down here that if you have a floatation suit on, you need a 275N lifejacket to be sure of righting in the event of falling in the water - no idea if anyone on here can confirm that?

I tend to wear my floatation suit only when it's freezing cold out since it has great insulation properties and is nicely waterproof. Anywhere from Aprl onwards is too hot however to wear the thing I find.

-Alex
Alex - absolutely. 275N only for flotation suit wearers, or indeed any application where the wearer is heavy or likely to be wearing items which will counter the effect of the lifejacket.

150N is pretty much a leisure / summer use item as far as I'm concerned, we certainly don't use them anywhere on the fleet.
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Old 01 January 2008, 08:08   #8
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The makers of my flotation suit say 275N is required - I only have 150N jackets but that is because I already had them and I wasn't going to throw them away and get some new ones. I figure than 150N AND a suit is better than either a suit or a 150N by itself and I will take my chances on the relatively slim possibility of exiting the boat unconscious, but I do know the risks.
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