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  1. #11
    Join Date
    Aug 2004
    Location
    Home East Lancashire boat Spain
    Posts
    4,595

    Default Re: Lifejacket service

    We are in a boat share, we check and weigh them at least annually and recommend new crew to check them over before setting off. The annual check is specified and recorded as part of our rules and regs. so there is an element of 'legal cover' should there be an incident.

  2. #12
    Join Date
    May 2007
    Posts
    37,274

    Default Re: Lifejacket service

    Quote Originally Posted by Appledore View Post
    I have two rather old Compass LJ's. I was watching a Youtube video last week on how to test and repack LJ's, and in particular to check the dates on gas and arming mechanism. I knew that mine were well out of date, but I do have 2 newish ones on board. Well, the cylinders were quite corroded and out of date by, err, several years, but still had the weight of gas in them. The arming devices were, err, 10 years out of date! Checking firstly that I could purchase the replacement kits, I then activated the LJ's and they both inflated perfectly. Also, they remained fully inflated for almost 48 hours! So I ordered new kits and armed with the original Compass instructions, re-packed them.

    So what could a 'professional' (paid amateur?) do that I couldn't? The kits were £17 each (over £30 form my local chandlers). I think my life is well worth the expenditure, and now I can use them with more peace of mind.
    They're still very old bits of fabric and frankly need to go in the bin.
    New ones are from £50. I write that off over ten years, although I will keep them a bit longer if they don't get used much, use the oldest ones for inshore racing. That's £5 a year. So investing £17 means you've got to keep the old stuff another 3+ years to be ahead.
    I've had LJs inflate inshore, I tend to bin them rather than re-arm. To bother re-arming, they'd have to either be premium stuff or nearly new and pristine. I've got enough 'waterproof' clothing that leaks to know none of this stuff lasts forever.

  3. #13
    Join Date
    Aug 2011
    Location
    On the Celtic Fringe
    Posts
    14,161

    Default Re: Lifejacket service

    I get mine done by Crewsaver in Plymouth every second year. Brilliant service collect and return to the marina.

  4. #14
    Join Date
    Oct 2001
    Posts
    1,383

    Default Re: Lifejacket service

    I don't have ours professionally serviced.

    However I can understand the stance taken by the instructor. Unless the OPʼs wife was also equipped with a rearming kit for her jacket, and had herself experience of refolding it after an inflation, her jacket could turn into a liability for the instructor if it accidentally inflated.

  5. #15
    Join Date
    Mar 2007
    Location
    Atlantic
    Posts
    20,438

    Default Re: Lifejacket service

    Servicing a lifejacket is for most people, fairly straightforward. So is sailing a yacht.

    However, just as almost any other service on the planet, if you are going to be a professional by selling your talent and knowledge, you will need to attend training, pass an assessment of some kind and achieve the required level of competence.

    Paid amateur doesnt really cut it, in my opinion.

    Anyway, most manufacturers, I understand from people who have attended, run training for their own brand. Bingo! Enjoy.

  6. #16
    Join Date
    Nov 2013
    Posts
    1,494

    Default Re: Lifejacket service

    Quote Originally Posted by James_Calvert View Post
    I don't have ours professionally serviced.

    However I can understand the stance taken by the instructor. Unless the OPʼs wife was also equipped with a rearming kit for her jacket, and had herself experience of refolding it after an inflation, her jacket could turn into a liability for the instructor if it accidentally inflated.
    Well I understand the stance, but, disagree with your logic.

    If Betty turns up in her own LJ and it goes pop and she can't re-arm it. No liability. She just needs to take it off and put the spare that the boat is carrying on. If he's worried she will charge him for the cylinder he needed to say "you can wear your own lifejacket bit if it goes off, I can't re-arm it for you" but would the same not apply to oil skins etc.

    However. Betty falls in the drink wearing her LJ that has no record of ever being serviced. The cylinder isn't attached properly and it doesn't inflate or a crease has worn through and it inflates but deflates and then she drowns. Will the MAIB report say... "Betty should have serviced her LJ" or will it say "The sailing school failed to ensure her safety" (different words because it can't apply legal blame).

    I service annually. I check cylinder "periodically" depending how often I used it.

  7. #17
    Join Date
    Feb 2008
    Location
    Suffolk
    Posts
    3,652

    Default Re: Lifejacket service

    I check mine annually and before a long trip, 3 currently inflated in my workshop before our summer trip. I was on a friends boat recently and a crew member was joining us later, so we checked his l/k, which was several years old and never been checked - the gas cylinder was loose... It inflated ok however so we tightened the gas cylinder and continued our trip.

  8. #18
    Join Date
    Feb 2011
    Location
    Lurking in the Thames Valley
    Posts
    264

    Default Re: Lifejacket service

    Quote Originally Posted by Rogershaw View Post
    It all comes down to being a "competent person" You don't have to be a "trained marine professional" to be competent in boat maintenance matters.

    The problem is when officials with little knowledge of leisure boat matters get involved and only consider that a profession (paid to do the work) is the only compertant people that can do the job.

    I much prefer to do all my maintenance as if I screw up its my life and my family I am putting in danger.

    The "trained marine professional" or the rule makers will NOT the ones who will suffer the consequences of faulty workmanship, it me and my family.
    Line three: delete "officials". Insert "barrister"
    Therin lies the problem.
    If you loose a guest over the side:
    Barrister; Mr Yacht Owner, please tell the court when and where you did your course on maintenance and packing of life jackets, and what qualification you hold.

  9. #19
    Join Date
    Apr 2005
    Location
    Exmouth, Devon
    Posts
    731

    Default Re: Lifejacket service

    Just a note - the cylinders don't 'expire' by date, only by condition or perforation. And unless you want to, no need to waste a cylinder inflating the jacket come service time. Unless you have a cylinder-safe device, best to check cylinder tightness through the jacket every time out.

    For those that want some sort of peace of mind regarding liability without a paid service I'd suggest finding one of the manufacture guides online, print it off and keep with your own service log. Regular sailors on your boat should have their own lifejackets anyway.

    An instructor has a different viewpoint from a normal owner, not least operating from a regulated coded boat where lifejackets need certificated servicing. IIRC an instructor isn't meant to even re-arm a lifejacket. Not sure what they do if all the spares have been used though.

    There is a list of MCA recognised service centres online somewhere.

  10. #20
    Join Date
    Jun 2016
    Posts
    168

    Default Re: Lifejacket service

    Thanks all - it's a small sample size, but what I expected...... Various variants on "I do it myself", with a small but significant minority who pay for it to be done.

    Mike
    Keeping a log is probably a good idea - thanks for that. For me, I have no intention of paying a professional, but that's a good way to keep track of what I've done.
    Simon

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