Life Jacket Which One

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I am thinking about buying a life jacket, one of the 150 N auto hammer (not salt pellet) type, with harness. My instinct say go with Crewsaver Crewfit, the RNLI wear them so they must be good. However all the others are 30% cheaper I know you shouldn't cheapskate on safety equipment, however the other makes must be ok?
 

kimhollamby

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All lifejackets and buoyancy aids should be built to European standards if they are sold in Europe and so yes, they ought to be okay. But there is a large variation in quality, in the way in which they fit, in the way in which essentials (such as reflective material) are applied and so on.

Big Crewsaver fan personally, not least because I tend to wind up in the water with one on when doing demos of various kinds. Never let me down yet and think they are worth the premium but have also tested and tried a series of other makes and found nothing dangerous per se in the 150N size range, although some appear a lot slower at turning over face-down bodies than others, for a variety of reasons.

Few things that come to mind:

a) many lifejackets have very different shape and fit to them - quite a few of the higher cut ones are female unfriendly (as my wife has often reminded me) so take time to try wearing them before purchase if possible. If the crew are not comfortable, they will tend to want to cheat at the very least (loose straps) or actively resist wearing altogether. Most Crewsaver jackets tend to be longish in the body, but I have a 150N example with built-in harness with a waistband very close to chest height.

b) don't go to sea in anything less than a 150N rated example (100N rated jackets are termed 'lifejackets by Europe but are really nothing more than buoyancy aids). But leave the 275N heavy duty jobs on the shelf unless you anticipate extended time at sea in very heavy clothing - these offer so much buoyancy they are often unmanageable in the water, especially if not fitted with thigh straps...

c)...speaking of which, thigh/crotch straps look overkill ashore and are not always comfortable but are a massive safety bonus on 150N lifejackets that can all too easily ride up and over the head if the waist strap is awkwardly located and/or not tight enough.

d) the point above also applies if buying a lifejacket with a built-in harness/D-ring. If you want this style of jacket, look really carefully at the width of the webbing and the construction of the buckle; some are a lot thinner than others.
 

Plum

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Re: What fantastic advice!

Excellent comments from kimhollamby. I would just like to reinforce two points: Do get crotch/thigh strap(s), and do get a jacket with a built-in safety harness.
 

charles_reed

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I too am a Crewsaver fan - but would stress the need for crotch straps, provided for free by Crewsaver. If you jump into the water from a boat, an inflated life-jacket will throttle you without them and trying to work the damned things down in the water, when they've ridden up, is virtually impossible.

150N are the standard - I would recommend against auto-inflators of any kind - I've been caught out with both kinds. Good old CO2 inflation by a rip-cord.
Get the ones with a built-in harness, or going on watch is rather like a plate-armoured knight preparing for battle.

275N are favourite if you do much winter sailing
 
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Whichever one you chose, make sure it fits well and above all is fitted with crotch straps. As an RNLI Sea Check Advisor, it is something which we are told to check and advise be fitted if current onboard L J's dont have them. Its very embrassing to come up along side a MOB and heave on the jacket only to rescue it and leave the MOB in the water<s>
 

oldjohnnyb

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Life Jackets With Spray Hood

You should consider getting a Lifejacket fitted with a spray hood.
Apparently many victims drown because they breath in spray!
Royal Navy lifejackets are all provided with Spray hoods so I'm told.
John
 

charles_reed

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Re: Life Jackets With Spray Hood

Very apposite if you intend to spend any time in the water in >F5 - the trouble is that the hoods make the jackets very bulky.

Had a very sobering experience April 20th this year, after sitting in les Minimes for a week waiting for a break in the W-SW gales to make a break for N Spain - finally got a N airstream promise for 30 hours.
Got to 21 miles off Donostia when the wind backed SW and came up F7 - putting in 3rd reef, when I suddenly discovered I was paralysed - couldn't move from the mast - imagination ran riot , visualised headlines "Lone British Yachtie hits Monte Urgull, pinned to mast", discovered rip-cord had snagged and lifejacket inflated.

Bulky gear slows you down, catches things, and probably ends up not being worn.
 

gonad

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if you are big make sure harness is big enough for you! made that mistake last year
the crewsaver with hood light and crutch straps
i thought a good buy earlier this year from marine superstore
 

ghostlymoron

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I bought a new one at the boat show last year after a discussion with the guy on the RLNI stand who recommended at least 150kN, sprayhood, crutch/thigh strap and light were essential. IMO lifejackets should all have these as standard not extra add-ons. The add-on sprayhoods in a pouch are difficult to rig up in the water when you are probably shocked and dis-oriented anyway. BTW it was a Crewsaver 190 plus. Comfortable and doesn't snag so readily. I've unpacked and inflated manually - it's more difficult to deflate and repack than I expected - the zip version might be easier.
 
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gerry99

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I used to be a big crewsaver fan but found that they skimp a bit on things like the velcro fastenings etc. Following a review in PBO (I think it was) I purchased a KRU Sport Pro harness lifejacket with auto inflation. Its a waistcoat style of design - integral sprayhood etc. I have been very impressed by it. Much easier to replace the auto arming capsule and very very comfortable to wear
 

jbweston

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I've had a set of Kru Sport Pro (mine are auto inflate with sprayhood, crotch strap, light and harness - there are manual inflate and no-harness models available too). Mine came from Ocean Safety.

Very happy with them. Comfortable to wear. Haven't inflated by accident. They've had plenty of use over 3 seasons (as we are a compulsory-lifejacket boat) but we haven't had anyone in the water so I can't say how well they do their real job!
 

rgarside

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I like the Spinlock ones - very comfortable, the crotch straps are easy to use so they are used, the sprayhood is easy to deploy [some others have the hood in a pouch on the belt - I wouldn't want to be trying to sort that out if I really needed to use it]. The harness is good, and they have a light.
 

gregcope

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I like the Spinlock ones - very comfortable, the crotch straps are easy to use so they are used, the sprayhood is easy to deploy [some others have the hood in a pouch on the belt - I wouldn't want to be trying to sort that out if I really needed to use it]. The harness is good, and they have a light.

+1

I find the Spinlock's to have by far the best crouch/thigh straps. Others I have used/brought tend to catch on winches just as I am trying to move around. Very annoying.

Integral hood is a must IMHO rather than one on a pouch as above, I would not want to be fiddling with a pouch one when needed. Auto Light essential too IMHO.

I do not notice I am wearing mine, plus my partner likes her's allot too.

I looked at the KRU sport, which I liked, but preferred the Spiny. Tired both on back to back.

Recommended by me. No connection.
 

Fimacca

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I have xm 150's with crotch straps. Have done me proud for 4 years , but check them anually by inflating thru mouthpiece and replace co2 periodically.
I think autos, as I have seen plenty banged heads from falling in the sea.
 

Caer Urfa

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;25677 said:
I am thinking about buying a life jacket, one of the 150 N auto hammer (not salt pellet) type, with harness. My instinct say go with Crewsaver Crewfit, the RNLI wear them so they must be good. However all the others are 30% cheaper I know you shouldn't cheapskate on safety equipment, however the other makes must be ok?

Looked a various models last year and went for the 190n Crewsaver Auto,harness and ZIP,http://www.mailspeedmarine.com/boating-guides/life-jackets-for-sale-crewsaver-crewfit-190N-zippe

Very pleased with it and comfortable to wear, not the cheapest, but you do get an excellant lifejacket and its you thats going to wear it !!.

Mike
 
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