Apart from the classification and the material the vest is made of, lifejackets differ in other characteristics such as size. Special life jackets are available for children and even for dogs. The optimal fit of a lifejacket is one of the decisive factors. Safety-conscious sailors should also wear a life jacket with integrated life belt to pick up a lifeline. For example the Compass Automatik life jacket 16 l, with integrated life belt at a top price!
A lifejacket is the most important personal safety equipment for life saving. On the high seas and on coastal and inland waters, the wearing of approved lifejackets is mandatory in certain conditions. Only a functional life jacket can immediately save a person who has fallen overboard from drowning. If the person overboard faints or is injured, a fainting life jacket keeps the upper body and head above water so that breathing is possible. All life jackets sold throughout Europe must meet the CE standard and are divided into 4 buoyancy classes. The load capacity or buoyancy is indicated in Newton (N). 50 N buoyancy aids are only designed for protected waters, where timely and local help can be provided directly. They may only be worn by experienced swimmers, as they are not safe from fainting. They are therefore unsuitable for children.
100N life jackets are used in inland areas and protected waters where neither swell nor spray is to be expected. They have only limited protection against fainting. 150N life jackets provide sufficient buoyancy on all waters and at normal body weight. When wearing heavy oilskins, however, they are only partially safe from fainting. For high seas and extreme conditions only 275N life jackets are suitable. Even with heavy weather protection clothing and in high waves, they quickly turn the body into a stable position.
Many life jackets offer more buoyancy and volume than the minimum requirements of their class. Elaborately manufactured Offshore life jackets are additionally equipped with life belts, spray cap, crotch strap and other safety and rescue equipment. Also with GPS a vest can be upgraded for Offshore use to trigger an alarm in case of emergency and to ensure a quick position finding. The Personal Locator Beacons (PLBs) on the vest automatically send a maritime distress alert worldwide via satellite. Basically, foam vests with a solid buoyancy chamber made of light foam can be distinguished from automatic vests with inflatable buoyancy chambers.
For beginners on the dinghy, solid vests are an inexpensive option with sufficient safety for leisure and sport. Advanced dinghy sailors opt for automatic or semi-automatic lifejackets because they offer more comfort of movement at low weight. Automatic life jackets inflate the buoyancy chamber automatically by means of a CO2 cartridge when the mechanism is triggered by water contact or water pressure. With semi-automatic vests the inflation mechanism is triggered by hand. Although this protects against false triggering by splash water and moisture, it only works if the person in the water is fully capable of acting. New technologies in life jackets protect against false activation in rain, spray and high humidity. In order to be able to guarantee comprehensive protection, sailors must be able to equip the life jacket properly. Compass24 offers high quality articles from international manufacturers like Secumar, Marinepool, Seapro and many more.