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Old 22 July 2015, 14:01   #1
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auto life jackets

I think the time has come to buy a couple of auto life jackets we have been using impact jackets from the ski,ing days they are buoyant but as were going to be in the sea and not a loch more I think its time to buy something. this is not something iv purchased before most seem to be 150nm will that be ok for me at 17 stone or do I need more im thinking of the salt tablet type will that be ok getting splashed with water or will it go off. and I know as an ex biker you don't scrimp on safety equipment but has anyone got recommendations for good quality kit at reasonable price its a minefield looking on line and I don't want to spend a couple of hundred quid on something not suitable .cheers
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Old 22 July 2015, 14:24   #2
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Salt tablet type will probably be fine (I've got them pretty wet - spray over your head every third wave for an hour type wet) without setting them off (and it still worked when, ahem, tested). I use my knee as my cut off for when I switch between l/jacket and buoyancy aid. If I expect to get we above the knee then I'll be buoyancy aid but if I don't expect to get wet above that I'll use a life jacket. (my thinking being that it's too easy to go from thick to waist and then have to deal with a massive jacket all day, or replace cylinders and the associated costs). Whilst official guidance probably suggests a full on lifejacket for all sibbing, bear in mind that kayaker and jetskis would never wear one even in the same waters with more chance of going swimming. a bouyancy aid can be a lot warmer, provide useful pockets etc.

As for newtons, it depends a bit on what clothes you will be wearing too.
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Old 22 July 2015, 14:25   #3
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most seem to be 150nm will that be ok for me at 17 stone or do I need more
Your body is naturally bouyant - so you don't need to be half as worried about your weight as you might think.

Much more important in your risk assessment is - why are you in the water (are you conscious, unconscious on entry) and what you are wearing. Lots of foul weather gear, big seas, unconscious body - you may need more than 150N. Bikini, flat calm swimming pool, conscious on entry and become unconscious - 150N is plenty. There is a spectrum in the middle somewhere...

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im thinking of the salt tablet type will that be ok getting splashed with water or will it go off.
Most people on here use the tablet system. A few use the hydrostatic system. Hydrostatic has the disadvantage it needs to go about 1m below before it pops - so you go under before it goes bang. Having popped a tablet one by mistake a couple of weeks ago you are far less likely to get under.

The tablet is inside the jacket - it takes a lot for spray to get to it. Yachties report them going off in lockers. So I think there is more of an issue of longterm storage in damp areas that weakens the tablet than spray. There are people here who will confirm they've had tablet ones pop in a huge wave.

My biggest challenge is launch and recovery - misjudge and its deeper than expected and pop. If you have the bouyancy aid - can you switch once away from shore in unknown teritories?

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anyone got recommendations for good quality kit at reasonable price
Two things you need to do - determine a specification and determine a short list of manufacturers.

Do you want standard design or something designed for comfort (e.g. Kru Sport or SpinLock style)?
Newtons. 150, 175 or greater? (I think most here stay under 200N)
Spray Hood? Does your risk assessment identify that you might be in the water for some time awaiting rescue? (If it includes a PLB as a means of alerting & rescue it should!) If so do you need a spray hood?
Do you sail? If so integrated harness? If not pointless extra weight.
Crotch Strap should be mandated
Do you operate at night/dusk/close enough to night that a rescue might be at night? If so do you need a light?

33g slightly easier to obtain than 38g CO2 if refill needed short notice. But wouldn't suggest that should be the decider.

Personally I use a Kru Sprot Pro - can't fault it except iot didn't come with light, if I was buying new now - I wouldn't rule out looking at Decathlon's clone of the SpinDeck. You probably won't go far wrong with most known brands like Crewsaver etc.
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Old 22 July 2015, 14:31   #4
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cheers I have been offered a pair of new kru ones that I think will be fine tbh im usually back on dry land by teatime and will be wearing a wetsuit thanks all
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Old 22 July 2015, 18:19   #5
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I had occasion to get some jackets serviced recently. The test wallah at the (very professional) test place said that if the jackets were Chinese then he would refuse to service/certify them. Apparently the quality is THAT bad. He was very chilled about mine - they are Estonian (Marine Pool)
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Old 23 July 2015, 01:52   #6
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That's presumably like Chinese ribs. Some cr@p, some fine, some major manufacturers making out there, same factory may be cloning and re badging but may not be forced to have same quality checks (or do the major manufacturers rejects become the rebadged ones?)

Difference being a badly finished RIB that breaks down over three years you can generally see happening. The LJ you don't really see what's happening... And a stroppily worded email asking for your money back when you are splashing around in the briney isn't really much use...
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Old 23 July 2015, 02:28   #7
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if I was buying new now - I wouldn't rule out looking at Decathlon's clone of the SpinDeck. You probably won't go far wrong with most known brands like Crewsaver etc.

Is this the one you mean?

http://www.decathlon.co.uk/lj900-150...d_8303519.html
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Old 23 July 2015, 10:46   #8
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thanks for the advice folks trailer bloke is sorting me out with a pair of kru ocean safety ones at what seems a very good price thanks again
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Old 24 July 2015, 05:25   #9
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If you're wearing a LJ with a wetsuit/dry suit, you will probably need to go a higher buoyancy, 175N? You need to overcome the inherent buoyancy of your suit to ensure you float the right way up.


.....sh1t happens.......
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Old 24 July 2015, 06:33   #10
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cheers the link he sent me about these kru ones said there 180nm but I see where your coming from
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Old 25 July 2015, 03:16   #11
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Well I suspect I've mixed my models up with this one too:

LJ900 150N light life vest 14 - | Decathlon

Half the price! But no crotch strap (pretty much considered essential to make the life jacket work with your head above the water) and no light (could be added for 15) - depends on your activities if thats likely to be needed. The more expensive one has the yacht racing harness built in, as does my Kru Sport Pro. That means carrying extra weight around my ever increasing belly for little reason as I don't do big boat sailing...! Don't think either have a spray hood. But all comes back to your expected rescue scenario. Fall over board in company of mates, unlikely to be unconscious as not much to hit head on, own crew competent to rescue you. Working in inshore waters where a lifeboat likely to be onscene within 30 minutes of launch, launch tiem 10minutes. Only summer activities in good weather with minimal waves. 150N possibly OK. Major passages, lots of miles off coast, single handed, not in company, in rough weather including during colder months. 150N is almost certainly not enough.

Its also not be a direct spinlock clone. Tribord use a popper system for the cover. I prefer the Kru bursting zip method and I think (been a while since I looked) spinlock use the burst zip too.

But I think the ergonomics of the spinlock make sense and thats what they've 'copied' and I think there are some good features like the viewing window for the cylinder (My Kru one is burried inside so a pain to inspect).

I could swear the decathlon used to be 170N - don't know if they've changed the spec I notice they list a HalkeyRoberts 2012 Cylinder but are now on a UML 2014 Cylinder...

Frustratingly adding 20-30N of extra CO2 (20% bigger) seems to have been a licence to print money as the price seems to go up by nearly 100%...
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Old 25 July 2015, 04:48   #12
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If you need a life jacket, you need a light IMHO. Unless you can guarantee you will only fall in during daylight and good vis, and will be rescued before it starts to get dark.
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Old 25 July 2015, 11:04   #13
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If you need a life jacket, you need a light IMHO. Unless you can guarantee you will only fall in during daylight and good vis, and will be rescued before it starts to get dark.

And whilst you are waiting on being rescued you might as well increase your comfort and chance of surving long enough to be rescued by having a spray hood. They do make a huge difference if the sea is anything other than flat calm.
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Old 25 July 2015, 11:08   #14
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If you need a life jacket, you need a light IMHO. Unless you can guarantee you will only fall in during daylight and good vis, and will be rescued before it starts to get dark.
So I don't CURRENTLY have a light on my LJ but there is one on my PLB. PLB light flashes when active. BUT PLB requires manually activated. Never been able to find an auto LJ light that wasn't crazy priced and had a user servicable battery. But based on my current boating I doubt I'd need a light. I tend to only be out on inland water (don't really need LJ) where someone can see me fall in, or at sea during summer months with a return to shore plan of say 4-5pm and a sunset at 9-10pm. If I've been swimming for 4 hours in a LJ without rescue a light may be the least of my problems...
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