Inflatable Life Jackets ( PPB Nov-Dec 2016)


Barry 2019-03-08

The new styles of inflatable life jackets bring comfort and function to a whole new level.

In New Zealand, you must carry a correctly sized, serviceable life jacket / PFD for each person on board a pleasure boat. This is a legal requirement, and this rule applies to all vessels, including tenders and larger craft. Some bylaws go further than maritime rules, making the wearing of lifejackets compulsory for all on board small craft. When it comes to wearing a lifejacket it’s not just about how effective and efficient it is, but also comfort. The design of life jackets has come a long way from the ill-fitting, uncomfortable, bulky ones we had to wear in the 60s and 70s.

Some of today’s new breed of, form fitting lifejackets are so comfortable and stylish they are somewhat of a fashion statement, that you may never want to take off. Well maybe that’s a bit of an exaggeration, but they are a whole lot better than what we all wore 20-30 years ago. There are some jackets available on the market that while they pass the safety regulations, they don’t pass the comfort test.

They may be cheap, but the downside is no one on board will want to wear them and they also take up a lot of storage space. This is very common on commercial boats, where the operator will have the required number of lifejackets on board for the passengers he has. Yes, they will probably do the job and save your life, but thankfully they will only be used in an emergency situation.

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