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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Sep 2018
    Location
    London
    Posts
    82

    Default Safety of automatic life vest

    Hi,
    as someone very cautious, there is one thing that makes me worry - safety of automatic life jacket. I never used one, last time I was on serious cruise was 2005 (7 days on Baltic) and turned out things changed since then.
    I am bit worried that automatic lifejacket may fail, could someone explain me how they are design to be 100% reliable?

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Jan 2005
    Location
    Me Edinburgh, boat JWD
    Posts
    5,090

    Default Re: Safety of automatic life vest

    If the auto function doesn't work then pull the toggle. If that doesn't work blow in the tube.
    Maybe you should wear a solid life vest instead?

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Sep 2001
    Location
    Home - Sothampton, Boat - Gosport
    Posts
    10,036

    Default Re: Safety of automatic life vest

    Nothing is 100% reliable, but regular servicing and, especially, making sure the cylinder is screwed home firmly makes my jackets reliable enough for us to trust our lives to them.

    The capsule has an expiry date, but I once serviced a jacket whose capsule had expired seven years ago. I tossed it into a bowl of water and it went off with a satisfying pop, so was still perfectly functional.
    Steve
    Never believe anything until it has been officially denied.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Jul 2009
    Location
    South Wales and Bristol Channel, UK
    Posts
    2,469

    Default Re: Safety of automatic life vest

    Inflatable Life jackets have to be inspected and maintained; I do this every season. However, there are Buoyancy Aid jackets that are practically maintenance free, used by windsurfers and others. I use buoyancy aid jackets when I am on the dinghy; very practical, quick and less to worry about.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Aug 2009
    Location
    Scotland.
    Posts
    14,209

    Default Re: Safety of automatic life vest

    You still don't need to use one unless the laws in your cruising area state that you do. To alleviate your worry you can educate yourself, for example : -

    https://www.rya.org.uk/knowledge-adv...ifejacket.aspx
    https://www.pbo.co.uk/expert-advice/...fejacket-17599

    Or just Google "how to inspect a lifejacket" and lots of information will be available to you.

    In general you are quite right to be concerned, especially if you rely on a lifejacket supplied by someone else as you have no idea if they really have inspected it. Rather than blind trust, a bit of research will allow you to make an easy check without much hassle to at least verify that everything looks OK.

    Of course, if you get entangled in the yacht, you could be dragged under and drown as the yacht sinks (even if the lifejacket inflates), so it's best to keep things in perspective.
    "'...contradictions .... are deliberate exercises in doublethink." Orwell from 1984

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Feb 2019
    Location
    The Known Universe
    Posts
    1,074

    Default Re: Safety of automatic life vest

    Quote Originally Posted by BlowingOldBoots View Post
    You still don't need to use one unless the laws in your cruising area state that you do. To alleviate your worry you can educate yourself, for example : -

    https://www.rya.org.uk/knowledge-adv...ifejacket.aspx
    https://www.pbo.co.uk/expert-advice/...fejacket-17599

    Or just Google "how to inspect a lifejacket" and lots of information will be available to you.

    In general you are quite right to be concerned, especially if you rely on a lifejacket supplied by someone else as you have no idea if they really have inspected it. Rather than blind trust, a bit of research will allow you to make an easy check without much hassle to at least verify that everything looks OK.

    Of course, if you get entangled in the yacht, you could be dragged under and drown as the yacht sinks (even if the lifejacket inflates), so it's best to keep things in perspective.
    Holy malony B.o. B happy days , don't put the poor soul of sailing
    But all good advice a basic check and understanding of your life jacket should see you 99% ok
    Flying birds have no master

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Apr 2005
    Location
    Shropshire
    Posts
    8,830

    Default Re: Safety of automatic life vest

    We always wear lifejackets when on the water (except in the med when it's too hot). The one occasion when one was needed was when swmbo foolishly over reached from the dinghy when approaching the 'mothership' (sic). Dinghy capsized, swmbo in water, LJ instantly inflated.

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