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Old 11 March 2012, 08:45   #1
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Life Jackets

I was at the Dinghy show the other weekend (:0 Sailing boats?? haha) and i saw the new Deckvest lite, designed for people like us, on RIBs who don't need a harness, or anything too bulky! This got me thinking, do we really need to spend £130 on a lifejacket, or will a £25 buoyancy aid do the job? What are you're views?
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Old 11 March 2012, 09:01   #2
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Lifejacket every time. Buoyancy aids are fine for kayaking where you can scramble to the bank, but lifejackets are designed to keep your head above water, especially if you knock your head on the way in.

Also, no need to spend £130 on a lifejacket. A Seago auto-inflate (180 newtons) is perfectly adequate and costs £50. Once you get into top of the range jackets, with 275 newtons buoyancy then you can expect to pay £130. More details here. Seago Lifejackets - Discount Marine Chandlery and Sailing Equipment. Bargain Boat Spares and Clothing
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Old 11 March 2012, 09:02   #3
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a bouyancy aid could still mean you drown so a minimum is a life jacket!
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Old 11 March 2012, 09:10   #4
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These are my thoughts too, i think the question i was really asking was do we need to spend £130 on a LJ, which spartacus answered pretty well
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Old 11 March 2012, 10:27   #5
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Originally Posted by clydeoutboards
a bouyancy aid could still mean you drown so a minimum is a life jacket!
A lifejacket is no guarantee you won't drown either. You can drown with a fully inflated one especially if it doesn't have leg / crotch straps or a spray hood. Or if you knock yourself out on the way in and it doesn't autoinflate.

Buoyancy aids are appropriate for use in 'sheltered' water where help is likely to be at hand. Personally I would consider the whole of the solent and most of the clyde as falling into that camp. Your decision probably also needs to consider if you normally cruise alone or with company etc too.

Ironically I'd suggest that canoeists and dingy sailors who consider buoyancy aids perfectly ok, are much more likely to bang their heads and get in trouble than ribbers.

Buoyancy aids offer some weather protection, and don't cost you the best part of 20 quid if you slip when launching! I use both depending on the circumstances.
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Old 11 March 2012, 10:47   #6
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Polwart, that is just being picky, you could also drown in your bath. the point being made was that if you bang your head or can not move due to a bad fall like I did off a sailing boat then a life jacket will keep your head above water.

as for not inflating well I have never heard or seen that so i guess it is possible but i would be more scared crossing a road as I know people have died doing that.

as for people not using them properly, that is not the fault of of the life jacket, so if it does not fit and/ they dont use the straps am I sorry but thats the users problem.

Dave
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Old 11 March 2012, 10:58   #7
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Oh

I should have added that bad fitting life jackets as polwart has said is a major problem and getting back to the original point the cheap ones are not as comfy as the more expensive ones. Or at least that is what we have found hence why I am upgrading!
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Old 11 March 2012, 15:56   #8
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Polwart, that is just being picky, you could also drown in your bath. the point being made was that if you bang your head or can not move due to a bad fall like I did off a sailing boat then a life jacket will keep your head above water.
only if it inflates (assuming you are not the tiny %age of people using foam lifejackets), which in that circumstance means it has to be an automatic - not everyone on here uses autos. However the example of the Ouzo case clearly shows that even having an inflated lifejacket might not save your life although it will keep you afloat; it is not unique. Don't get me wrong I am not arguing against lifejackets, just saying that bouyancy aids are not all bad.
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as for not inflating well I have never heard or seen that so i guess it is possible but i would be more scared crossing a road as I know people have died doing that.
really? RNLI free life jacket "checks" frequently find jackets that wouldn't inflate (loose cylinders, perished cylinders, perished bladders, defective auto-mechanisms). I've seen a jacket not autoinflate (but did when the toggle was pulled). In addition there have been a few "product recalls" on auto-mechanisms - I don't recall any on fixed foam flotation! Those risks can all be mitigated against through regular inspection and servicing (although possibly never completely eliminated) but I'd hazard a guess that the average leisure user here doesn't get round to it or is unaware of the need.
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as for people not using them properly, that is not the fault of of the life jacket, so if it does not fit and/ they dont use the straps am I sorry but thats the users problem.
well its not as simple as that. Firstly not all jackets are supplied with the straps they really should be, secondly if the manufacturer hasn't provided good instructions, or has designed jackets which are not easy to adjust / put on etc - then they might have been better with a buoyancy aid! I'm not saying there is anything wrong with lifejackets - but the case in the Solent where two people were thrown overboard and the one wearing a lifejacket died but the one wearing the bouyancy aid survived seems to illustrate my point.
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I should have added that bad fitting life jackets as polwart has said is a major problem and getting back to the original point the cheap ones are not as comfy as the more expensive ones. Or at least that is what we have found hence why I am upgrading!
And the cheap ones almost never come with crotch straps. Like I say horses for courses.
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Old 11 March 2012, 16:32   #9
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I am in agreement with polwart,

If I remember right when the rnli seacheck first started up of all the compact gas life jackets tested or inspected about a third would not have worked proper in anger,for varying reasons ,eg, corrosion of mechanism,unscrewed /empty cylinders,abrasion//tears/holes in stole,etc and need far more checks/inspections and regular maintainence,

One big difference a life jacket is supposed to turn a face down person onto his back within a few seconds where as a buoyancy aid it could take longer and if there is any buoyancy at the back of the jacket it may not at all ,
Best advantage bouyancy aids are quite forgiving on maintainence and abuse and waistcoat style will give a lot more thermal protection than hanging in the straps of a compact,should it work at all,
Something else to think about is how outer clothing can have a detrimental effect on any sort of Pfd as most are based on a person in just a pair of shorts unless going for a 275 Newton .
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Old 11 March 2012, 16:44   #10
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If I go overboard from a rib trveelig at 20kt+ I'd wantto be wearing a lifejacket not a bouyancy aid.
If I were racing my Laser I'd want to be wearing a bouyancy aid not a lifejacket.
i'd say on a rib (unless you're engaged in other watersport activity - skiiing / donuting etc LJ is what to wear.
Whether it's a £50 Seago or £180 Kru will depend on your type of activity.
For coastal leisure ribbing we have manual Seagos - with crotch-straps & sprayhoods. Comforatable, economic.
For offshore / wear 7 days / week, diffferent conditions I would be prepared to spend a lot more money on "the best" LJ on the market.
It is horses for courses - define what you want from your PFD and conditions / risks in your sphee of operation and buy accordingly.
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Old 11 March 2012, 17:00   #11
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Quote:
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If I go overboard from a rib trveelig at 20kt+ I'd wantto be wearing a lifejacket not a bouyancy aid.
At 20kt or more a BA would offer more cushioned protection than a LJ eg jet skiers always seem to use BA for this reason as some of them can hit speeds over 70mph. I must say that when I am wearing my LJ it's always at the back of my mind that if I did end up in the drink would it inflate... I guess the only other option for peace of mind is to get one of those expensive duel ones what the rescue services use.
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Old 11 March 2012, 17:19   #12
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I agree with everyone here, no a bouyancy aid doesnt turn you up yhe correct way if you are k/o but if you are knocked out having hit the water face first at 40kts, even a life jacket wouldnt stop water being splashed down your throat! A grim thought i know, but one well worth thinking about...

part of me thinks i should save some money and stick with the BA, but as a friend said; "you cant put a price on safety, or someones life for that matter"
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Old 11 March 2012, 17:41   #13
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At 20kt or more a BA would offer more cushioned protection than a LJ eg jet skiers always seem to use BA for this reason as some of them can hit speeds over 70mph. I must say that when I am wearing my LJ it's always at the back of my mind that if I did end up in the drink would it inflate... I guess the only other option for peace of mind is to get one of those expensive duel ones what the rescue services use.
I'd be less worried about cushioned protection than can i / will my LJ inflate. That's the old debate about manual or automatic. I consider -rightly or wrongly there's low risk of me going over & being unconsocious from a rib thus unable to pullth toggle, against jumping in to help someone, so manual wins for me. Mrs T who is less confident inthe water is now inclining toward as a hydrostatic automatic LJ next timre.

Horses for courses - spec the kit to your operation/ skills / risk assessment
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