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Old 17 March 2008, 23:02   #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, 01:09   #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, 03:44   #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, 03:59   #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, 05:40   #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, 05:43   #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, 08:44   #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, 09:27   #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, 09:38   #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, 12:58   #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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Old 18 March 2008, 13:01   #11
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Very sad indeed. Being involved with the SCC i wonder how it will effect us later.
There were so many errors made on that fatal trip.
Some basic L2 stuff like getting a decent forecast etc??
As for the "head count"??

Paul
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Old 18 March 2008, 16:20   #12
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This is indeed a very sad case and it seems a series of basic mistakes were made much seems to have been made that she was a child wearing an adult lifejacket, she was a 14 year old girl who may well have been of adult size and weight so was she the size of a child or an adult?

The helm had removed the Kill cord !!!

Then performed a what sounds like (at least to me sat in front of a pc) a reckless change of course to starboard perhaps it was a desperate situation and in the heat of the moment it was the only thing to do? I don't know it is easy sat in front of a pc.

How easy is it to deflate a life jacket? when you are suddenly flung into cold water, disorientated, shocked and probably in total darkness I would suggest that most people would panic, unless they had trained and practised deflating a life jacket in this situation.

I think that one thing that can be drawn from this situation is that there is no substitute from having proper training and practise.

I personally use a manual gas inflated life jacket so hopefully I would not have been trapped as the unfortunate girl was but I could have banged my head and drowned before pulling the toggle !! So what are the correct procedures / type of life jacket?
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Old 18 March 2008, 17:18   #13
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I only have one manual lifejacket - all the rest are auto but the more I read the more I think maybe a manual one would be better.

I have read of several capsizes where people were trapped under the boat and drowned - often caused by their lifejacket.
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Old 18 March 2008, 17:37   #14
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This is indeed a very sad case and it seems a series of basic mistakes were made much seems to have been made that she was a child wearing an adult lifejacket, she was a 14 year old girl who may well have been of adult size and weight so was she the size of a child or an adult?
Actually the child/adult argument was not the issue - she was wearing a specialist lifejacket designed for soldiers carrying lots of kit which has enormous bouyancy 498 N compared to 150 N which would have been correct, and were available.

I find it surprising that they didn't make a bigger issue of the fact that all the passengers were wearing military LJs with the high vis and reflective panels covered [they have removable panels] despite the fact that they were not engaged in an opperation where being visible was a bad idea - it would probably not have been a major factor in this incident (but there are other points they focussed on which also weren't critical in this case) and it MAY have made a difference at the headcount stage.

Quote:
The helm had removed the Kill cord !!!
it is an unfortunate reality that if if short handed sometimes you do need to leave the console to carry our tasks that are out of reach. in an ideal world you stop the engines - but in this circumstances that may not have been the safest thing to do. its not clear how long it was from disconnecting the kill cord to the capsize. But given that he was trying to do half a dozen things at once I don't think he will be the first or last to not "waste time" clipping back on immediately.

Quote:
How easy is it to deflate a life jacket?
actually not that hard if you know how and your fingers aren't too cold.
Quote:
when you are suddenly flung into cold water, disorientated, shocked and probably in total darkness I would suggest that most people would panic, unless they had trained and practised deflating a life jacket in this situation.
yes having been under a dinghy hull (fortunately not trapped) I support the disorienting etc. if it was unexpected, and probably never having been in a capsize situation it would be much more so.

Quote:
I personally use a manual gas inflated life jacket so hopefully I would not have been trapped as the unfortunate girl was but I could have banged my head and drowned before pulling the toggle !! So what are the correct procedures / type of life jacket?
I doubt there is a perfect LJ for every situation. She WAS wearing a manual LJ so inflated it herself. Whether that was an automatic reaction on entering the water or after being disoriented and unable to get out for several minutes we will never know. I imagine most of us (leisure users) brief our passengers along the lines of "if you go in the water your life jacket will autoinflate/if it doesn't you pull this red toggle" I doubt many people say if you get trapped under the boat and need to deflate the jacket use the tube at the right...
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Old 18 March 2008, 17:39   #15
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Quote:
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I have read of several capsizes where people were trapped under the boat and drowned - often caused by their lifejacket.
I don't know where the stats would be for this, but my bet would be that far more people had drowned because of an ill-fitting lifejacket, or the lack of spray hoods and/or crutch straps (Ouzo) and I'll stick with my auto inflating jackets. I think I prefer to have the confidence that my lifejacket will inflate (even if I'm not able to do it myself for some reason) and accept what I think is probably a smaller risk that I wouldn't be able to deflate it if I ever needed to.

I guess there isn't a simple perfect answer to suit every situation, we just need to play the odds as we see them
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Old 18 March 2008, 17:43   #16
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The Ouzo crew would have died of the cold anyway.

Agree about the rest though!!!
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Old 18 March 2008, 17:50   #17
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I doubt many people say if you get trapped under the boat and need to deflate the jacket use the tube at the right...
I agree... & sadly so,.. as its just not the sort of circumstances you would imagine your 'life vest' would be a danger to you
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Old 18 March 2008, 17:56   #18
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I don't know where the stats would be for this,
The MAIB report highlights 14 other Dory capsizes. Of which there was one other entrapment resulting in death. But 15 other deaths (from non entraped persons). Whether they were wearing correctly fitting LJs with sprayhoods is not stated. Add in the other situations resulting in a casualty in the water but not a capsize then I know where my priority is.
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Old 18 March 2008, 18:59   #19
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I think I prefer to have the confidence that my lifejacket will inflate (even if I'm not able to do it myself for some reason) and accept what I think is probably a smaller risk that I wouldn't be able to deflate it if I ever needed to.
I'm with you on that one. All my lifejackets are autos.

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Old 18 March 2008, 19:18   #20
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I would much rather have kids or anyone likely to panick in a bouyancy aid type lifejacket , like the crewsaver ones for kids .

Ok they are bulkier to wear but IMO there are far more advantages .


Surely whatever the bouyancy rating of the lifejacket in question the outcome would have been the same .
just perhaps a zip up bouyancy aid type would have been easy and natural to remove and swim free as its just like an every day garment .

I have to admit I never feel happy wearing my auto inflate lifejacket. but i have spent a lifetime wearing bouyancy aids .
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