Would your lifejacket save your life? When lifejackets are checked for safety they often fail - check yours today.
John Leahy, Commodore of CAI, pointed out a number of the common problems:
- Bottle has been fired accidentally - hole in the end visible and the green safety guards missing.
- Bottle corroded and has leaked. To test your bottle, it should be shiny and clean. Its weight is marked on the side in grams when full - usually around 133 grams for a 33 gram bottle. Weigh it on a good kitchen scale. It is weighs around 100 g or is not at the weight specified on the bottle, it is empty.
- Jacket is badly frayed and the seams are leaking. Check visibly for damage. To do this you have to open up the jacket fully and do the check.
- Jacket is leaking. To check for this, blow it up using a bicycle pump or cheap lilo inflator from a pound shop or Argos. Don't breath into it - you will introduce moisture and bacteria. Blow it up quite hard and leave it for 24 hours. There should be no pressure loss.
All of this you can do yourself.
You can do all of this you can do yourself. However, if you are uncomfortable doing so, all of the manufacturers and most good chandlers will offer a lifejacket service facility.
Remember that even if you can swim, falling overboard without a lifejacket, can be killer. Due to cold water shock even competent swimmers will struggle to remain afloat for the first few minutes. However, if you are wearing a properly fitted life jacket which works, your survival time in the water will be increased very significantly.
John Leahy, CAI Commodore & ISA Yachtmaster Instructor
Here is a handy RNLI Lifejacket maintenance leaflet / poster you can download for your local club or community group Caring for your Lifejacket.pdf
If you want to ask for an RNLI Lifejacket Demonstration for your club or community the RNLI are happy to organise one for you - click here to request a demo directly from the RNLI.
If you are shopping for a new lifejacket then it is advisable to good professional advice on buying the right jacket for your size, weight and type of activity. This extremely helpful RNLI link will give you all the advice you need and plenty of additional links to ensure your safety at sea.
Safe, Happy Sailing.