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Old 05 January 2017, 05:22   #1
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Lifejackets - The most important Newbie Question!

Hi All

This is the most important newbie question I have asked!

I need to purchase 4 lifejackets:
Me: 6ft 4" and carrying a lot of holiday weight (for the last 10 years! )
Wife: 5ft 7" and small build
Son 1: Tall and skinny and a rake (5ft 9" and still growing)
Son 2: 10 year old
So, which would you all recommend - I have seen a few and they have different standards 190N etc etc

I am sure this thread will have been done before and I know that a visit to a shop is essential at some point - a good steer would be welcomed though!

Thanks in advance people!!

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Old 05 January 2017, 06:07   #2
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150N is standard adult LJ. Go autoinflation unless you plan to swim to-from the boat etc. If you are worried about spray (i) you probably don't need to be (ii) look at the Hamar, pressure activated options.

150N is designed to turn over a standard person to face up, but doesn't take account of wet weather gear etc. If you will be wearing a dry suit or other heavy kit that might affect that 275N is recommended. 190N is perhaps a bit of clever marketing or is aimed at people who aren't going equipped like an ocean going sailer or arctic explorer but are not in shorts and t-shirt either.

It is important it is comfortable. For some people it may also be important that it "looks right".

For kids I would go permanent foam rather that gas inflation - they will want to jump in at some point; fingers do get intrigued with the red toggle (the answer is it gives you a fright and then a bigger fright when you go to the chandlers for the rearm kit!); the foam helps keep them warm. The eldest may prefer a gas inflation - but if he's skinny that won't keep him warm.

Pockets are useful for a radio or plb, or a mars bar!

Fashion, budget, comfort (with what you will wear under it) etc will dictate the rest. On the fashion point, at 20+knots in the middle of the sea it probably doesn't matter. If you boat in an area where you'd rather* wear them to the pub at lunchtime than leave them in the boat it might.

* either because you don't want to leave a few hundred quid's worth of easily movable product lying around, or because you have to climb slippy ladders to get from boat to harbour - and its the most dangerous bit of the day...
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Old 05 January 2017, 07:21   #3
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look on force four chandlery they have a good range i have a seago active 190N with harness auto and manual inflation well made and comfy you might get a deal on four jackets
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Old 05 January 2017, 10:38   #4
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Whatever you get, make sure they have crotch straps & use 'em
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Old 05 January 2017, 14:34   #5
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Another vote for Seago Active 190

This is the version I went for:

Seago Active 190N Automatic No Harness Lifejacket - Seago Active Lifejackets - Discount Marine Chandlery and Sailing Equipment. Bargain Boat Spares and Clothing

Has all the basics covered i.e. auto inflation & crutch straps, comfortable to wear & reasonably priced

A word of warning/advice...if going for an auto inflation, ask for the expiry date before committing to the purchase. As close to 3 years as you can get
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Old 05 January 2017, 15:26   #6
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If you're a big chap I'd go for a 275N jacket.

For the others I'd go 150N.

My two year old wears a permanent foam one but the others (10 year old inclusive) wear auto-inflate ones.

As others have said comfort is a big factor, with and without a wet weather jacket. My lifejacket has a zip on the front which is good from a fit point of view but is a PITA when I don't want my jacket done up.

With the kids I've tried to get into the habit of putting the jacket on before I get in the boat and only taking it off after I get off the boat.
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Old 05 January 2017, 16:29   #7
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That is all great info - thanks!

OK I admit - i weigh 130kg - assume I need the 275N?
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Old 05 January 2017, 16:44   #8
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I personally wouldn't (& didn't) bother with a 275N version. There's an interesting comment from the RYA in relation to them below:

"The RYA strongly recommends not wearing a 275 lifejacket, as this is very bulky when inflated and will impede you if you are trying to get into a liferaft."

Full article here:

When should I wear a lifejacket? | Up to Speed | e-newsletters | News & Events | RYA

And a useful overview from the RNLI too:

Lifejackets
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Old 05 January 2017, 16:44   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Mode View Post
That is all great info - thanks!

OK I admit - i weigh 130kg - assume I need the 275N?


Not necessarily, although you're a hefty unit, you would still naturally float with lungs full of air. Life jackets are all about positive buoyancy. A 150N will give you 15kg of buoyancy, plenty for most people in "normal" clothes. The bigger LJs are needed when you are wearing bulky clothing or dry suits, which bizarrely give additional buoyancy, but this is in the wrong place. The larger jackets are required to overcome the inherent buoyancy of bulky clothing which would prevent you from floating in the correct attitude.
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Old 06 January 2017, 03:27   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by BIRPT View Post
I personally wouldn't (& didn't) bother with a 275N version. There's an interesting comment from the RYA in relation to them below:

"The RYA strongly recommends not wearing a 275 lifejacket, as this is very bulky when inflated and will impede you if you are trying to get into a liferaft."

Full article here:

When should I wear a lifejacket? | Up to Speed | e-newsletters | News & Events | RYA

And a useful overview from the RNLI too:

Lifejackets
In some ways a slightly odd comment to make given the document seems to be about small power craft which very rarely have liferafts. It is a valid concern that it would make reboarding harder. You can let some of the air out (and top up by mouth if unsuccessful), or the difficulty may be less with with others on board, engine legs to stand on etc.

That said PD is right and it's not your weight that is the issue, its the type of kit you will be wearing.
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