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Old 26 November 2020, 03:30   #1
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Life Jackets

Just in the process of buying some new life jackets and just wondering what the wisdom of the forum thinks of manual v automatic v hammer?
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Old 26 November 2020, 04:29   #2
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I'll get us started...

Unless you have a very good reason not to want a LJ to inflate go auto not manual. On an 8m RIB anything you think is a good reason probably isn't! e.g. if you sometimes anchor off and swim to shore you'd be better taking some bouyancy aids (or even these new inflatable waste belts for SUPing than compromise the rest of your boat safety).

Even on a much smaller boat I've never had a problem with modern auto jackets prematurely activating in use (I've had one go off in storage in 15 years but it was in a locker which ended up with an inch of water at the bottom so can't really complain). So personally I don't think Hamar is justified unless perhaps you are doing stuff where you get soaked all day long. I did once trigger an auto in 1m of water when I dropped something during launching and instinctively bent down to pick it up - a hamar wouldn't have activated then but 4x the price diff would have been way more than the rearming cost.
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Old 26 November 2020, 04:51   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Poly View Post
I'll get us started...

Unless you have a very good reason not to want a LJ to inflate go auto not manual. On an 8m RIB anything you think is a good reason probably isn't! e.g. if you sometimes anchor off and swim to shore you'd be better taking some bouyancy aids (or even these new inflatable waste belts for SUPing than compromise the rest of your boat safety).

Even on a much smaller boat I've never had a problem with modern auto jackets prematurely activating in use (I've had one go off in storage in 15 years but it was in a locker which ended up with an inch of water at the bottom so can't really complain). So personally I don't think Hamar is justified unless perhaps you are doing stuff where you get soaked all day long. I did once trigger an auto in 1m of water when I dropped something during launching and instinctively bent down to pick it up - a hamar wouldn't have activated then but 4x the price diff would have been way more than the rearming cost.


It must be that time of year again
We have both salt pellet & Hammar activated jackets. Nothing to tell between them tbh. The Hammars are Crewsaver ergofit 290N for use with drysuits (mostly on the RIB). The salt pellet ones are a mix of brands & are 150N used mainly on the SIB. The 150N are more comfortable to wear due to reduced size & weight. Buy a reputable make, of the correct size & plenty of date & you wonít go wrong with either of the systems. I service my own jackets, the salt pellet type are marginally easier to work on & cheaper to re-arm than the Hammar, but in the big scheme, itís pennies & minutes.
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Old 26 November 2020, 04:53   #4
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On a large planing boat, especially when solo, I'd always go auto, as I see one of the more likely risks as being ejected at speed, where either loss of consciousness or temporary disorientation from hitting the water might render a solely manual life jacket useless. The RNLI use hybrid jackets with some permanent foam buoyancy supplemented by manual air activation when needed, but they tend to be in the water a lot for rescues on the inshore boats and are always operating as part of a team, and clearly can't have a lifejacket inflating every time someone has to get in the water. I have got one of those hybrid jackets as well I picked up a while back to try out, but rarely use it.

Personally I recently bought a Spinlock Deckvest 6D to replace our very old auto ones, which has been super comfortable so far, but admittedly due to COVID and a baby it hasn't had that much use yet.

Unless you have a particularly wet boat, or frequently go out in extreme conditions, I don't necessarily see the need for Hammar inflation. It's major benefit is being pressure based so less subject to false activations when you're doing serious offshore work in harsh conditions and getting constantly soaked, but personally I've never had an issue being out year round on offshore sailing yachts and RIB's with standard auto jackets.
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Old 26 November 2020, 05:37   #5
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I have both, when likely to be getting wet (sailing support, gig racing support, swim safety) then its the manual, when out to play it's auto.

Have moved all the crew and guests onto auto too - when travelling at speed, if it goes wrong the user may not be bale to pull the string so i'd rather replace the odd unit when we forget the tide height at the slipway then risk a non inflation.
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Old 26 November 2020, 10:21   #6
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Thanks for the replies I have gone for an automatic Crewsaver Ergo
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