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Old 28 November 2001, 16:27   #1
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Lifejackets - inflatables

Just wondered what others views are about the following and whether anyone knows the answer:

The definition of a lifejacket (as opposed to a buoyancy aid) is that it will turn an unconcious casualty onto their back allowing them the chance to breath. How is it therefore that a manual inflation lifejacket is just that - a lifejacket - as by definition if the user cannot inflate it, it cannot turn them over.

Sorry, but was posed this question by a student at the weekend on a level 2 course and didn't have a credible answer (was pleased to be using auto inflation lifejackets though!)

Paul
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Old 28 November 2001, 18:05   #2
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An inflatable lifejacket is only a lifejacket when it's inflated . . .

Sounds silly, but I think you'll find that it is as simple as that!

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Old 29 November 2001, 03:19   #3
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I agree with John.

The disadvantages of Automatic Lifejackets - especially in RIBs - is well know - if anyone has ever experienced one inflating unexpectadly it is akin to an airbag going off in your car!

A manual lifejacket can also be activated by someone else - so if you have a man overboard you can put a swimmer into the water to inflate their jacket - which will then support them on their back until a full rescue can be undertaken.

I guess that we should all have both types. If you go overboard from a fast moving RIB you are likely to be unconscious - or very disorientated - and may not be able to operate a manual type jacket, so should therefore wear an automatic.

Is there room here for an inventor to come up with a small reel of twine that can attach to the boat and the jacket pull toggle so that if you go overboard it inflates it for you - much as the kill cord works on the engine?
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Old 29 November 2001, 03:27   #4
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For use on a RIB I would go for an automatic life jacket every time.

As far as I am concerned the downsides:
- inflating prematurely - so what?
- getting trapped under a capsized boat - very unlikely

are vastly outweighed by the drawbacks of a manual inflation system:
- being unconscious - possible, but not all that likely
- being injured - more likely than being unconscious!
- being disorientated and forgetting to pull the toggle - quite possible I reckon
- not being able to find or pull the toggle for some other reason

Other people will have different views though, I am sure!

John
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