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Life jackets
« on: Jul 12, 2019, 9:51 am »
Looking at my life jacket I see its out of date so due for a service/replacement.  Probably almost as cheap to buy new rather than service them.

I had a thought this morning about the length of time a self inflating life jacket will stay inflated.  will they stay inflated for a few hours / days or a matter of minutes?

I know the term life jacket should mean they will stay inflated for as long as needed, but curious as to the length of time they will stay inflated and also how does water/ air temperature affect their inflation?


Re: Life jackets
« Reply #1 on: Jul 12, 2019, 10:15 am »
Unless it's been stored somewhere quite damp it's probably entirely functional; blow it up(compressed air or a tyre pump if you have it to keep the inside dry but I'm not sure it matters much) and leave it overnight, if it's still up in the morning it's fine. Check over the gas mechanism and bottle for rust, if no rust then you're good to go, deflate, fold it up and go hovering. The only bit which expires is the soluble capsule that fires the automatic inflation, unless it's going crusty from damp it is probably serviceable. If you really want to keep it orthodox buy a service kit and fit the new soluble capsule unit.

You are right though, for the cheaper lifejackets service kits seem to be 2/3rds of the price.


Re: Life jackets
« Reply #2 on: Jul 12, 2019, 11:35 am »
A trawler mad died near here last year when he fell from the boat, the jacket inflated but deflated before the crew court turn and get back to him. I usually do as said above, unfold the bladder and check for leaks. If in any doubt buy a new one. A member on here checked a number of jackets near expiry date an IIRC about 30% were faulty.


Re: Life jackets
« Reply #3 on: Jul 12, 2019, 11:59 am »
I decided its not worth the risk, so just bought a pair of these:


I'm also having some seat cushions made for the TS3 out of high density foam, so they will also give something else to hang on to in an emergency


Re: Life jackets
« Reply #4 on: Jul 12, 2019, 12:11 pm »
Vortex do that with the cushions too and have handholds.


Re: Life jackets
« Reply #5 on: Jul 12, 2019, 2:02 pm »
It makes sense to use the cushions, as an extra safety element which hopefully will never be needed.  I hadn't thought about the hand holds, I guess the upholsterer will be getting a call  ;) ;D


Re: Life jackets
« Reply #6 on: Jul 12, 2019, 5:47 pm »
Best make those grab handles easy to hold as cold hands don't work so well
National Sarcasm Society - like we need your support


Re: Life jackets
« Reply #7 on: Jul 12, 2019, 11:13 pm »
All our life jackets get a full 24 hour inflation test each year and a new automatic inflation pack on the due date with the old one being dry stored as an emergency refill.

Our local RNLI jacket inspector advised me that some types can start to delaminate on the folds after a few years and once this happens the jacket has a limited life remaining.  It is fairly obvious as the fold line looks well ... delaminated. It can be prevented by not refolding on the same folds after each inspection.

As an aside, if you are in the water it is useful to realise that you can partly deflate and inflate the bladder as necessary.  We did this on the sea survival course and it is much easier to get into a life raft with a partly inflated jacket than something like a beachball in front of you !  Only takes a few seconds to top it up after you are aboard.


Re: Life jackets
« Reply #8 on: Jul 13, 2019, 9:14 am »
Re climbing into a life raft with beach ball in front of you
I once had a life jacket inflate accidentally, the pull cord bobbin caught on something!!
It was like wearing a neck brace!!