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Old 18 March 2008, 00:02   #1
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Wrong lifejacket causes death?

http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/scotland/...st/7301873.stm

This was a really tragic case where a 14 yr old girl drowned after a rigid raider capsized.

It seems the MAIB say that she had an adult lifejacket on which was the wrong type as it offered too much buoyancy which is why she was trapped.

Surely ANY PFD or auto lifejacket would have too buoyancy if you are trapped under the boat??? Maybe manual inflation jackets are better after all as capsizes are on of the most common accidents in things like RIBs?

What I find really tragic and disgusting is that nobody missed her for 1.5 hrs!!!

It seems the accident took place because the "trouser leg" drains weren't lowered - that's a new one on me for Elephants trunks..........

All in all absolutely devastating for all concerned.
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Old 18 March 2008, 02:09   #2
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Yeah, a terrible and tragic case. Add the Ouzo story from last year and it seems that ill-fitting lifejackets are all too common. It's surely not intentional - nobody would take those sort of risks if they realised the outcome - I think it's just a lack of awareness of just how to look after and wear lifejackets properly. The manufacturers don't help by making things available as optional extras that really should be a standard fit: crutch straps and spray hoods for example.

The RNLI Sea Safety guys are on a bit of a mission to promote better understanding of lifejackets and their free seminar is well worth booking.

http://www.rnli.org.uk/what_we_do/se...request_a_demo
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Old 18 March 2008, 04:44   #3
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Tragic story.

I also don't beleive it would have made any difference whether she had a child or adult lifejacket on. The report is a little misleading when it says it was 3 times the usual buoyancy - presumably comparing a 150N lifejacket with a 50N buoyancy aid?

What she probably wasn't told was how to deflate her lifejacket. For anyone that doesn't know, there's usually a non-return valve on the oral inflation tube. Turn over the cap and press on to the valve to release. Obviously critical information if you're trapped under a boat.

While you're getting ready for the season, now is a good time to check your own lifejackets. There's a good guide here. The only thing I would add is not to test inflate by mouth but use a manual pump to avoid moisture/bacteria getting into the bladder. Leave it up for 24 hours to be sure.

I think that crotch straps will become standard equipment on lifejackets soon - was the case with ours from last year. I'm sure manufacturers would be delighted if crotch straps, sprayhoods and lights were legal/standards requirements. While it's down to the boater's pocket, sprayhoods certainly seem to be a low priority.
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Old 18 March 2008, 04:59   #4
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Quote:
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Tragic story.

While it's down to the boater's pocket, sprayhoods certainly seem to be a low priority.
Unfortunately true. What people don't always appreciate is that if you are in the water with an inflated lifejacket, the action of wind and waves turns you so that your feet are upwind and the waves wash up your body and straight at your airway. It's not as much a problem when you're conscious or still strong enough to swim yourself around and keep your back to the waves, but otherwise it hugely increases the risk of aspirating sea water ... and it doesn't take much of that to kill you.

I would strongly urge all forum readers to fit sprayhoods and crotch straps.
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Old 18 March 2008, 06:40   #5
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The report is a little misleading when it says it was 3 times the usual buoyancy - presumably comparing a 150N lifejacket with a 50N buoyancy aid?
Not if you read the report. The LJ she was wearing was specifically designed for troops carrying lots of gear and had a rating of over 400N.
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Old 18 March 2008, 06:43   #6
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Surely ANY PFD or auto lifejacket would have too buoyancy if you are trapped under the boat??? Maybe manual inflation jackets are better after all as capsizes are on of the most common accidents in things like RIBs?
Well the report says the Army tested escape with different flotation devices and it was much easier with a standard 150N life jacket.

And IIRC in the detail of the report you will also see that the LJ was manually inflated.
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Old 18 March 2008, 09:44   #7
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I would strongly urge all forum readers to fit sprayhoods and crotch straps.

Went around the Southampton Boat Show last year, loads of stands selling lifejackets, had quite a job finding any that sold crotch straps. I ended up with quite thin webbing straps and clips that to be honest I would not trust to be lifted by should it become necessary , and heavens knows what the effect would be on the tackle
Anyone found any good substantial crotch straps?
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Old 18 March 2008, 10:27   #8
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Went around the Southampton Boat Show last year, loads of stands selling lifejackets, had quite a job finding any that sold crotch straps. I ended up with quite thin webbing straps and clips that to be honest I would not trust to be lifted by should it become necessary , and heavens knows what the effect would be on the tackle
Anyone found any good substantial crotch straps?
Seago do a nice padded one for around a tenner. However, some people have found that the wider ones are actually more obtrusive and uncomfortable. Don't forget, they aren't intended to take your body weight - just stop the lifejacket riding up and off.
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Old 18 March 2008, 10:38   #9
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Crotch straps aren't so essential if people would do up the lifejacket straps nice and tight - most people wear them far too loose!!!
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Old 18 March 2008, 13:58   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by codprawn View Post
Crotch straps aren't so essential if people would do up the lifejacket straps nice and tight - most people wear them far too loose!!!
I agree that people often wear them too loose, but there's a danger in them being too tight as well - when the jacket inflates it increases the pressure, and if the straps are tight that pressure becomes an increased pressure on the body, making it difficult to breathe.

While I'm on that subject, it also worries me when I see people slip a waterproof coat on over the top of their lifejacket - that's just inviting compression on the chest and possible broken ribs if the jacket has to be inflated

Recommended tightness is so that you can just slip your fist between starps and chest.

Crotch straps are definitely the best answer.

(As you might have guessed, I'm on a bit of a mission about lifejackets this year)
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