Understanding The Rescue Life Vest From The Eyes Of A Professional

December 08, 2018 4 min read

yellow life vest or tire
Sailing is fun and adventurous at the same time. However, sailing in the open seas with no land on the horizon can be overwhelming. Nature is unpredictable and cannot be trusted when it comes to storms.

Storms in the seas can create huge waves big enough to consume complete boats. It even gets worse if you happen to land in deep waters. And to avoid drowning during such mishaps, a life vest or a personal floatation device (PFD) comes in quite handy.

How To Choose The Correct Type Of Life Vest

Choosing the correct rescue life vest depends on various factors. First, you have to look at the weight of gear and accessories on you and also the type of sailing.

Also, the floatation of a life vest directly depends on the buoyancy of the foam or the capacity of the air bladder in the vest. A heavy person will require increased floatation to stay clear of the water. There exist various types of sailing and the type of life vest required changes accordingly.

Currently, there exist 4 widely known standards of life jackets available in the market.

The standards are as follows:

1. U.S Standards – USCG Approved
2. International Standards – I.S.O
3. European Standards – C.E
4. Commercial Standards – SOLAS

Life jackets under the US standards come in 5 types which are as follows:

Universal Life JacketOffshore Life Jackets: This is a universal rescue life vest which is suitable for all types of weather, including turbulent oceans as well as secluded waters and unchartered territories in oceans, to mention but a few.

The weight of foam infused life vests is heavier than the inflatable life vest.

These vests come with a reflective material on the body for signaling and can direct the heads of unconscious people towards the sky, keeping them from drowning.

Offshore life jackets made from foam can be uncomfortable to wear during sailing. According to the stats, foam offshore vest provide a floatation of 100 Newtons whereas inflatable life jackets offer a floatation of 150 pounds.

Near-shore Vests: These vests are designed for calm waters from where quick rescue can be expected. The nearshore vests using foam are bulky but lighter than offshore life jackets. The floatation factor for foam near-shore vests stands at 70 Newtons and 150 Newtons for inflatable vests.

Also, it is important to note that these are cheap vests hung on boats for being USCG compliant. The inflatable near-shore rescue jackets offer incredible floatation and widely used by a majority of the coastal people.

Flotation Aids: These vests are perfect for individuals who can be rescued very quickly. They are the best choice for a conscious person as they allow proper movements and are comfortable to wear. The vests are designed to direct the face upwards to prevent drowning.

The foam infused floatation aids offer 70 Newtons of floatation whereas the inflatable version provides 100 Newtons of floatation. These are popular and can be seen at beaches and hung on boats and ships as they perfectly keep the person above water and are comfortable to wear.

Throwable Devices: Ring buoys are tubes that are thrown to people struggling in the water, and supplement the action of a life vest. They are meant for swimmers and are ineffective during turbulence or when the person is unconscious. The rings buoys are often made of plastic and offer a floatation of 75 Newtons.

Special-use Devices: These are life jackets that can be used for specific activities and are designed to be compliant with the USCG standards. Water sports like water skiing, kayaking, and sailing make use of special user devices for safety. This genre has harness equipped inflatable jackets as well as foam life jackets. The special-use rescue jackets which are made of foam provide floatation in the range of 70-100 Newtons and the inflatable jackets provide 100-155 Newtons of floatation.

International Standards – ISO

ISO logoThe world-renowned authority, International-Organization for Standardization (ISO) have developed and enforced various standards for rescue jackets that demand compliance for operation.

The life jacket with an ISO mark indicates that it is manufactured in alignment with the requirements of the various standards set by ISO. It should be kept in mind an ISO-compliant life vest may not necessarily be USCG compliant.

European Standards (EN) – CE

The European Standards have formulated the CE standard which is acknowledged by the European Union. Around 34 European nations comply with the CE standard. A CE mark is inscribed on a vest indicates compliance to CE standard.

The standards from ISO and CE are somewhat similar with respect to buoyancy and some other features.

50N Buoyancy Aid: Manufactured for expert swimmers in waters with help nearby. These vests do not assist unconscious people. Their floatation value is at 50 Newtons which is enough for a conscious person to stay afloat for some time.

100N Life Jacket: With a floatation value of 100 Newtons, this life vest is dedicated for both swimmers and non-swimmers in inland waters. They work the best in calm and steady waters. It is ineffective if the person is unconscious.

275N Life Jacket: Designed for everyone, these vests are known for their high performance and durability in choppy waters with no land in sight. It offers amazing floatation even for someone who is heavy. The 275 Newtons of floatation prevents the person from drowning.

Commercial Standards – SOLAS

The term SOLAS stands for The International-Convention for Safety of Life-at-Sea which is an internationally approved maritime treaty and requires the members of this treaty to confirm that all the ships marked by them maintain certain safety margins during manufacturing and operation.

There are many rescue life jackets in the market that are both SOLAS as well as USCG approved. The SOLAS compliant life jackets come with a safety whistle as well as flashy color, an attachment line for attaching to other survivors until help comes and a reflective tape for visibility from far distances.

Seeking The Better Supplier

We can see that there are various types of life rescue vests available in the market that offer safety in diverse conditions making it a crucial component in sailing. Compliance with various standards is important for ensuring that the vest is effective during emergencies.

We offer a variety of life vests that are compliant with different standards acknowledged by the international authorities. This ensures that our products can be trusted during emergencies and rescue operation. So get your vests now from britesafety.com and secure the lives of many.


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