Lifejackets are an essential part of boat safety. They are designed to
keep your airway clear of the water whether you are conscious or
They traditionally come in two types, inflatable and foam.
An Inflatable lifejacket is the most commonly used, for leisure and
Whereas the foam lifejackets are predominantly designed for, kayaking,
canoeing, windsurfing, water sports, children learning to swim or for
dire emergency use on board.
- Are mainly used for those who fall into calm and sheltered
water but have to wait for rescue.
- May not have enough buoyancy to take someone else’s weight
- May not roll an unconscious person their back, (which is a vital
part of a survival in water)
- Performance can be affected if someone is wearing heavy clothing.
- Used for general use on coastal and inshore waters
- Typically for sailing and fishing.
- It should turn an unconscious person onto his or her back and
- Requires no subsequent action by the wearer to keep his or her
face out of the water.
- Its performance may be affected if the user is wearing heavy
and/or waterproof clothing.
- Recommended for offshore cruising, fishing and commercial users.
- Intended primarily for extreme conditions
- Good for those wearing heavy protective clothing
- Designed to ensure that the wearer is floating in the correct
position with his or her mouth and nose clear of the surface of the
- Operated by pulling a string
- Pushes a firing pin into the CO2 canister
- Lifejacket Inflates
Note: Automatic and hydrostatic lifejackets both have a manual pull
string as back up. Just incase the lifejacket mis-fires.
- Relys on a small pellet or bobbin, which holds back a powerful
- When the pellet makes contact with water it dissolves very rapidly
- This releases the spring, which pushes a firing pin into the gas
- Works in the same way as an Automatic
- Pellet is protected by a case that only lets water in once it is
a few centimeters below the surface.
- It won’t fire until fully submerged.
- This is an option for sailors who will be completely saturated in
heavy spray whilst on deck.
- Note: This lifejacket firing mechanism ensures that your
lifejacket will only go off once you are submerged, not whilst you are
Choosing a Lifejacket for a
All children’s lifejackets state a maximum weight and chest size that
must not be exceeded. It is equally important not to buy a lifejacket
that is too large, as this may result in the child slipping out of it
or the lifejacket floating high in the water leaving the child’s mouth
and nose submerged.
FOR REFERENCE ONLY