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Old 10 October 2001, 13:03   #1
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Life Jackets for the LARGER male?

Hi there

The life jacket I use is one of those foam filled thingys @150n rating. I chose this because a) it was reasonably priced (okay, it was cheap, but that makes me sound mean) b) I considered it was fool proof in that there was nothing to go wrong with it and that I would most probably fiddle with a 'gas' one and break it!

Also the dealer said to me that if I needed to go over the side of the boat (OH YES!!) to do something like untangle the prop, I would have to take off one of the self inflatable jackets. At the time it sounded like good advice so I got the foam filled ones.

I have since found that the only life jackets that are GUARANTEED to right an unconsious person wearing heavy gear are the 270n rating jackets. I have only seen these as the gas inflating models. Now I like to feel safe. Sure I can swim, but not if I am unconsious, and most probably not if weighed down by all my boating gear. And I have decided that in no way am I ever getting out of the boat to go into the water! It's damned cold in the North Sea and there might be things in the water that BITE.

As I am on the BIG side of normal - 6 feet 2 inches tall and 18 stone (252 pounds) stark naked (lord knows what I weigh when fully kitted out) I read the specifications and decided that I needed a heftier life jacket.

I know there are two types - one operated by a tablet that disolves in water and a slightly more expensive one that operates on pressure.

I was reading about 'Hot Lemon' in Rib Lines when Mike Deacon fell in the drink after topping up the engine oil (great to see that even the experts can get caught out). It appears that his life jacket only inflated after he had been out of the water for about 2 minutes. Of course that's plenty enough time to drown.

Was his life jacket one of the 'disolving tablet' ones? I assume that a professional crew such as those on 'Hot Lemon' would have the best kit. So, just how reliable are these inflating life jackets?

I know that I will never go further out than about 1 mile and in good weather at that, but just like Mike Deacon, you never quite know what will happen.

Cheers

Keith Hart
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Old 10 October 2001, 13:16   #2
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Try This

Tthis Life Jacket from Crewsaver should fit the bill...foam filled and air inflatable bladder as well...this should keep that little bit over normal afloat...
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Old 10 October 2001, 14:34   #3
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Hi

Thanks Sirzap, I've found the crewsaver website:

http://www.crewsaver.co.uk/index.htm

They also have a dealer in Birmingham - Hollywood Marine, so hopefully I'll be able to try some on.

Thanks
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Old 10 October 2001, 16:55   #4
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Lifejackets

Hi Keith

I reckon Im a similar size to you - and if you're not worried about looks I have a couple of crewsaver jackets - foam filled and air inflatable, hat i bought when I started boating.

I say not worried about looks as they are ex-boat club ones and have numbers / letters writtien on them

They may be an answer to see if you like them or not?

Graeme
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Old 12 October 2001, 07:35   #5
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Keith

Have you seen the article about life jackets in the features section?

My preference is for the normal 150N automatic gas life jacket. I'm not small (6'6"), but I'm happy that mine would float me the right way up if needed. The 270N jackets are much bulkier and less comfortable to wear, as well as more expensive.

I'm not sure how the pressure activated (aka Hammar) system compares to the water activated system price wise. Last time I looked they were much more expensive, although that was when they first came onto the market.

The only time I have seen a premature inflation of a lifejacket due to spray was off Cape Wrath. Actually it wasn't really spray at all, more like a large wave that got into the boat with us and filled it to the top of the tubes! I managed to doge the worst of it, but Neil (aka Sirzap) caught a load and his life jacket inflated. Interestingly, the other member of crew was wearing a Hammar type life jacket that should only inflate under a metre of water, but his one went up too. So whether there is any real benefit is at least debateable.

For what it's worth, I have tested a few of the pellet type activators and they have worked quickly every time.

My only change if I was to buy new life jackets would be to splash out on the Crewsavers, as they are much more substantially built than the cheap ones. The webbing on mine (XM Quickfit) is more like string after a few years use!

John
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Old 12 October 2001, 09:13   #6
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Premature?

My jacket might not have popped had I remained sitting upright. When we hit that wave I was still sorting my camera after taking the photo of Cape Wrath, we had just been ordered 4 miles out. Yes quite bit more than just a spray, I looked up to see a wall of water, then it dropped, filling the boat like you have said, ( I was amazed how quickly the green water drained). Afterwards, I was sitting on the back jockey seat leaning forward ( resting my chest on my knee) trying to put away my dripping camera in the storage compartment of the coxswains jockey seat. With the wave action and heading out at a pretty good clip, putting the camera away took a couple of minutes, this is when my PFD went off. I still think had I remained sitting upright for a few minutes my PFD might not have gone off.
The newer PFD is the real mystery, Simon was sitting upright when his jacket inflated.
The worst part of it all, were the catcalls from "Too Deep" at our new implants.
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Old 12 October 2001, 10:41   #7
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Auto Inflation...

My wife had an auto inflation (disolving tablet type). On returning from Ireland last year the severe spray was adequate to set-off the lifejacket. She now has a manual inflation.
I have always been concerned that the auto could inflate while trapped under a capsized boat! Though I appreciate the advantages and disadvantages of the main options.
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Old 12 October 2001, 18:09   #8
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Would someone please explain what these lifejacket things are? I hardly see anyone wearing things like those pictured!! But thats another thread I suppose---sorry all its just me being a bit sarcy. All the comments are valid, at the end of the day its down to personal choice and risk factors. I would stress that a crutch strap in a must, having had my standby BA up around my neck whils my cox tried to pull me into our RIB, what was I doing in the water? Not an accident I hasten to add, I was just cooling off.
Dave
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