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Another ridiculous lifejacket article


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I wore an inflatable for many years on the smaller skiffs as they did have the same blind eye turned as the 18's did when we worn nothing, it was safer.  But it was purely a technical work-around and I'd hate to have had to use it. In small boats a PFD is the go for sure, not an inflatable.

 

As a FYI, that inflatable went on and went sailing then got taken off and chucked in the back of the wagon, repeat the following weekend, repeat for a couple of years. Never washed, maintained or even check to see if it would go, we went swimming to together a lot, mostly unintentionally. Around 8 years after I had it I took it on a ocean safety course or whatever that stuff we have to do these days. Pulled the cord with all expectation nothing would happen, wrong, popped up to max fast and bleed off a lot after that.  I was quite impressed by that. I think the key is 'dry' keep them so and don't leave them damp and festering.
 

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I've always considered a harness ten times more valuable than a LJ.

IN BIG BOATS that don't fall over only.

 

Tying yourself in to a small one that can fall over is great if your looking to commit suicide but otherwise it is a rather silly move. Same applies if you wear big bulky life jacket, they are catching hazard that has resulted in deaths.

 

In smaller boats a good PFD, common sense and dressing appropriately is all you need. Many tagged as 'drowned' did so after hypothermia took them to a point they couldn't help themselves, so even with the worlds bestest ever lifejacket isn't going to save you if you are dressed wrongly for the conditions.

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The other week a bunch of folks from work had a go with several different Inflatable Life jackets - I think there were about 10 Life jackets tested - 4 types, 2 of 275N and 2 of 150N

First one I tried was my old work one - about +10years old and 18months since last serviced - a 275N one

- inflated gently and rolled me onto my back head clear of water, easy to breath, no crotch strap

Second one was a 150N jacket - failed to roll me onto my back, if unconscious I would have drowned. No crotch strap, once on my back the jacket just did not feel as comfortable as the 275N one.

In every case where the wearer was wearing wet weather gear the 150N units failed to roll the wearer onto their back

One of the guys tested a jacket with it fitted loosely - end result was that wearing the jacket loosely meant you would die - the jacket would drown you unless you could make it tighter.

 

Tried putting a 275N inflated jacket on in the water - easy enough in the pool but would be much harder with a bit of chop.

 

Points:

- crotch strap made little difference with the 275N jacket as it inflated - in a chop it may well do.

- excess buoyancy in clothing, boots, wet weather gear may turn a 150N life jacket into a death jacket

- falling head first into the water with wet weather gear on increases the risk of you wearing a death jacket

- a poorly fitted inflatable Life jacket = death jacket - well you might as well wear a weight belt.

- lights were fitted incorrectly on nearly every jacket we tested and some had not been armed by the supplier.

- Could not fit the spray hood in the water - need to practice that.

 

My current jacket is 275N (with crotch strap that I use) but I am looking for a replacement that is easier to adjust as once in the water it is very hard / impossible to adjust.

 

My 2cents worth....

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Some sobering observations. I had already come to the conclusion that the standard inflatable would be good for feck all. My jacket is the harness type with crotch strap and I believe it would do the job well. However after some of your comments I think it is time to jump in the pool with it and test it.

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To true Kevin assuming you are in the water temp that allows longer survival times and you are wearing a damn good lifejacket, which are 2 things the majority of the world aren't and don't.

 

Like many things it's all about 'the package' not simply just a 'life jacket'.

 

Some of the drownings in the Auckland harbour have had a large hypothermia content in them. As that sets in you lose body control so lose the ability to keep upright or your head up. So to extend that time you either have a seriously good life jacket and rely on that to keep you going after hypothermia kicks in. Or if you are like most with average to OK PFD's dressing for the conditions can extend the time before hypothermia takes you out.

 

One big problem I see with LJ's is why would someone who is short on knowledge/experiance buy the $400 I have over a $49.95 house branded (of sometimes proven marginal performance) shitter from a box chain shop. The marketing does say 'life jacket save yourselves etc blaa blaa blaa' it doesn't say 'these are OK but spend more and you'll get the real McCoy'.

 

I had to do a visit of the Westhaven 3 yesterday looking for a item. Haven't been in them for years, yesterday reminded me why. In one the dude, nice bloke, didn't know what a hose clip is. What's he gong to sell someone who asks? I do seriously hate to think.

 

As little as 2 hours survival time in the Rangi2toes channel right now according to that chart, seems short. I can easily see exhausted after 2 hours though, some even less if they are trying to right a

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Tried 2 different types of inflatable life jackets in the pool today.

 

I tried the harness type first and had no issues but I did find I had to let half the air out to become manoeuvrable enough to be comfortable. I tried my old lifejacket without a crotch strap and it was ok. However once I put the crotch strap on it was a lot more comfortable and I felt I could stay that way for quite some time if necessary. With this jacket I also let out about half the air so I could remain

Manoeverable.

 

Because of the lack of manoeuvrability I don't think I would inflate my lifejacket unless I was certain I would be spending a while treading water. If I ended up in the water crossing a bar I definately wouldn't inflate my jacket.. I reckon that could easily become a death sentence.

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On my back initially but I felt more comfortable being upright.. Sort of able to tread water but without burning much energy. If I was concerned about loosing consciousness I would probably want it pumped up more so I would float on my back. If things were that bad though it would probably just be delaying the inevitable. I Imagine being in chop etc I would prefer being more manoeverable but maybe that is just a personal preference.

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I only get the life jackets out in fowl weather , but I always have a inflatable collar in the cockpit when I go up on for deck they are to much of a hindrance operating the boat , but if you keep in mind that I think your be ok on long trips alone I have the collar on . Yes we all could go over the side ,any time , but we don't like blue coat weekend worriers dictating to us

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Slightly off topic. most have a boarding ladder attached to the stern?mine is a fold down one and discovered how completely useless its is.Been mounted there for over 30yrs.The problem being last rung out of water,need to swing one foot on to rung and have a rope hanging down so you can pull yourself up.It is going to  get adjusted this week.

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 have a rope hanging down so you can pull yourself up.It is going to  get adjusted this week.

Measure distance to prop first. Make it a shorter line than that distance :thumbup:  and tie or splice a loop bigger than your sea boot size in it (so u can get your foot in it easily)

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Only news in this pc world. Didn't we all make rafts, tin kayaks, have fallen out of boats, got wet, muddy, had fun, sometimes hurt ourselves. 

 

Probably find the raft was in waist deep water, all were swimmers and no real drama - but the news has made it so.

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