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Old 15 September 2009, 07:03   #1
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Safety Boat - appropriate clothing/bouyancy aid

Hi. New member seeking some thoughts on appropriate clothing and bouyancy aid for safety boat cover. At the moment I use a set of lightweight waterproofs and a 100N foam lifejacket when out in the RIb. I am shortly doing the RYA safety boat course to provide cover for dinghy sailing and kayaks in Scotland from March - November.

Speaking to a number of people I seem to be getting as many different views on what would be best as the number of people I speak to about it. The only thing they seem to agree on is not a self inflating jacket. I fully understand I'll need to get in the water (both on the course and when providing cover) so the choice seems to be between a drysuit or a wet suit. What are the pros and cons of these and is there any other type to consider - such as one of these http://www.uk-fishing-tackle.co.uk/p...8c6a75ee793316

In terms of bouyancy aid a couple of people have suggested a 50N foam one would better for safety cover as it would be less restrictive and not too bouyant making it difficult to get under an upturned hull.

I would welcome any views on what might be appropriate to help me make up my mind.

Thanks
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Old 15 September 2009, 07:18   #2
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Hi. New member seeking some thoughts on appropriate clothing and bouyancy aid for safety boat cover. At the moment I use a set of lightweight waterproofs and a 100N foam lifejacket when out in the RIb. I am shortly doing the RYA safety boat course to provide cover for dinghy sailing and kayaks in Scotland from March - November.

Speaking to a number of people I seem to be getting as many different views on what would be best as the number of people I speak to about it. The only thing they seem to agree on is not a self inflating jacket. I fully understand I'll need to get in the water (both on the course and when providing cover) so the choice seems to be between a drysuit or a wet suit. What are the pros and cons of these and is there any other type to consider - such as one of these http://www.uk-fishing-tackle.co.uk/p...8c6a75ee793316

In terms of bouyancy aid a couple of people have suggested a 50N foam one would better for safety cover as it would be less restrictive and not too bouyant making it difficult to get under an upturned hull.

I would welcome any views on what might be appropriate to help me make up my mind.

Thanks
It's a matter of personal preference. I always wear a drysuit - mainly because I find it more comfortable and I don't like getting wet! Either would be preferable to a floatation suit, which is OK in the water but pretty cold once you're back in the boat. 50N should be adequate buoyancy for the job - I like to wear one with lots of pockets when I'm doing safety boat work, the canoe buoyancy aids give me more of what I want than the sailing ones
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Old 15 September 2009, 07:38   #3
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I am a big fan of flotation suits - but not for that application (unless e.g. you know you will be driving and someone else will be the nominated person to go in the water if and when required!).

How often do you expect to get wet? I have known sailing clubs/centres where safety boat crew expect to get in the water almost every day (or certainly seems like it) and others where it would be an absolute last resort to prevent loss of life (no idea what the official line is on this!). I guess it depends on the level of experience of the sailors and type of craft.

I suppose it also depends how long from getting wet to getting ashore again. If you are in inland water and get wet, go ashore (multiple safety boats and/or short times out) to get warm dry then thats quite different from getting wet at 10 am and still being out at 3pm!

Your preference may also be affected by the maintainence of the dinghies. Sharp shrounds etc can tear a dry suit.
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Old 15 September 2009, 08:28   #4
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What we teach, and the official RYA line, is that one person in each safety boat should be dressed to enter the water if required, but that it should be a last resort, and most rescues should be carried out from in the boat. Also remember you might have to pull someone out of the water and then give them first aid in the boat so you have to ba able to stay warm once you're back out of the water as well. When it's cold that really means drysuit, unless you are very close to the beach or have multiple boats who could come and assist while you sorted yourself out and stayed warm.

Having said that, in ten years of driving safety boats i've never had to get in the water other than when teaching childrens sailing courses, and even then it was often because it was the easiest option not the only option.

Personally i use a front entry gotetex dinghy sailing drysuit, that dosen't have a hood or collar, and then wear a waterproof jacket over the top as well to give me the hood and collar when its raining and stop my drysuit getting ripped.
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Old 15 September 2009, 09:59   #5
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Dry suits are all very well but they are not easy to swim in unless wearing fins, I used to wear a wetsuit with a set of oilskins on top.
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Old 15 September 2009, 11:23   #6
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Dry suits are all very well but they are not easy to swim in unless wearing fins, I used to wear a wetsuit with a set of oilskins on top.
I've never had any problem swimming in my drysuit, whether I've had my RNLI gear on or just a drysuit and lifejacket.
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Old 15 September 2009, 12:05   #7
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Wetsuit with all in one dinghy suit in summer.
Drysuit with thermals under and dinghy spray top in winter.

50n bouncy aid will be fine, IMHI.
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Old 15 September 2009, 14:39   #8
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Been doing safety cover for years in a Musto offshore jacket, coastal trousers and a hammar operated lifejacket.

Underneath I wear polo shirt, jeans and if its cold a fleece. Yachting wellies are good on the feet.

As some people have said you really should not need to get into the water whilst doing safety cover. (I've only had to get my crew to do it once about 10+ years)

The downside about a drysuit is they are expensive and I find the seals uncomfortable for long term wear but dry suits alone do not keep you warm - you need the under suit.

A good hat is a sensible idea as well but that lot has seen me through hours in glourious sunshine, hail, snow, day, night and just about everything in between!

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Old 15 September 2009, 15:31   #9
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CJL, You are right, been doing safety for many years and getting in the water is the last resort, but if you do have to it means that a casualty is probably underwater and diving down in a dry suit or with a bouyancy aid on is not easy (Iv'e seen it go wrong and rescuer end up casualty).
Besides if I do get wet first stop is back to the quay with the casualty.
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Old 18 September 2009, 17:21   #10
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Thanks. Lots of useful info there.
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