FAQs & Tutorials Safety
Additional equipment required by IOR standards
Besides Dan buoy and lighting, IOR equipment includes :
- 1 horseshoe lifebuoy.
- 1 small drogue anchor (ref. 25354) and line.
- 1 whistle (ref. 16303).
The IOR regulation stipulates that, when at sea, the Dan buoy must be fully extended.
The installation of jacklines is essential to allow shifting location on the deck, while remaining clipped to a strongpoint at all times. Unfortunately, this vital element of the "harness-tether-jackline" set is often neglected or, worse still, is often the result of a "DIY" assembly done by a non-safety specialist.
Plastimo reminds you the basic rules :
- A jackline must be rigged only on strong points designed for that purpose. Strong points must be mounted through deck, with a reinforcing plate below deck, and must resist 3 tons minimum.
- A jackline must run free of knots, and sewn joints must be tested and calibrated. Jacklines should be positioned as far inboard as possible, in order to prevent falling over board.
- Web jacklines will not roll under foot, as opposed to rope. Being made of fibres, jackline webbing is subject to ageing -even with no visible signs- due to UV-rays, sea water and temperature. Ideally, jacklines should be taken down, rinsed and stored in a dry place for wintering. Still, we stronly recommend to replace them regularly ; to be more specific, jacklines must be replaced after a cumulated period of 2 years of outdoor exposure.
Keep your harness in good shape
Try your harness on
A safety harness is a personal piece of equipment : the straps must be perfectly adjusted to your body size. Try it on, adjust it, get to recognise every strap.
Keep your harness in good shape
A safety harness is a fundamental piece of equipment for your safety : as opposed to a lifejacket, on which buoyancy can be tested and possible ageing signs are visible, a harness can loose some of its original qualities without there being any visible signs.
It is therefore essential that you take the utmost care in maintaining it in good condition
- Rinse it with fresh water after use.
- Check the seams regularly.
- Never store it in a damp locker.
- Discard and replace systematically a harness showing evidence of wear and tear or a harness which has been submitted to tension. We recommend that racers shouldreplace their harness every year, in view of their intensive use and exposure to UV-rays.
- Never use a harness for any other purpose than the one which it is designed for.
The tether : its essential features
When using a harness in conjunction with a tether, it is essential to check that both the harness and the tether are designed to the same standard, and specifically to the same breaking strain level. The breaking strain is defined by the original standard, but also by the age of the harness or tether : the ageing and general condition of the webbing impacts negatively its level of performance.
The tether : its essential features
- Number of lines : a double tether has 2 lines. It enables you to remain clipped as you move about the boat.
- Number of hooks : there is not systematically a hook at both ends ; the tether can be attached to the harness via a webbing loop (see photo : tether ref. 31558).
- Length of lines : standard length is 2 m. In the case of a double tether, the 2nd line is reduced to 1 m so that you can clip yourself on a shorter length. The very principle of a harness is to prevent a man falling overboard and being dragged ; one must therefore be clipped on a short length, as often as possible. Tethers on children harnesses are shorter.
- Elasticity : this tether stretches out when needed and contracts when not under tension, which contributes to a greater freedom of movement and improved safety, as it stays out of your way on the deck. The elastic tether is the obvious choice for yachtsmen who wear their harness regularly.
Service & examination manual for inflatable lifejackets
Just like any lifejacket, an inflatable lifejacket must be serviced regularly. This can easily be done by the user, following the procedure described in the instructions manual supplied. Or, you may want to rely on a professional experience and send your lifejacket to a Plastimo authorised servicing station.
Always wear your inflatable lifejacket ON TOP of your foul weather gear.
Inflatable life-jacket inspection and servicing procedure
An inflatable lifejacket must be thoroughly inspected at regular intervals, to make sure that it is fully operational. You can conduct the inspection yourself, by following strictly the instructions as detailed on the user's manual (supplied with the lifejacket). However, we recommend to have your lifejacket serviced by :
- in the UK : one of our authorised liferaft servicing stations
- everywhere but the UK : the local Plastimo subsidiary or one of our approved servicing stations
What does a servicing session* consist in ? (*conducted by Plastimo or by an approved station)
- Thorough inspection of lifejacket general condition.
- Lifejacket is inflated to check for airtightness.
- Inspection of the inflation system (inflation head, CO 2 bottle).
- Re-arming and re-packing.
In the absence of a regulation on servicing intervals, Plastimo recommends to have lifejackets serviced in our factory or approved stations every other year.
In case of intensive or professional use, a minimum annual inspection is recommended.
For cruising, 50, 100 or 150 Newton lifejackets
For cruising, 100 Newton lifejackets appear to us as the minimal "reasonable" personal safety equipment, even though some countries authorise 50 Newton models for coastal sailing.
It is only from the 100 Newton category onwards that a lifejacket is fit ted with signalling equipment and that it has a righting ability (i.e. it is designed to turn most wearers face up, even unconscious).This is also the reason why children's lifejackets (wearer 30 kg max.) exist only as from the 100 Newton category.
You are considering purchasing a 150 N lifejacket ; you are therefore a safety-conscious boater, for whom only the best will do. Still in the 150 N category, have you thought of acquiring an inflatable lifejacket ? Also fully CE approved, an inflatable lifejacket offers some real benefits. Since the safety features are comparable between a solid foam and an inflatable model, we urge you to compare according to your own criteria (bodyfit, weight, stowage space, price...).
Inflatable or traditional foam lifejacket for your small fry?
Both types meet the specifications required by the EC standard ; they are self-righting and feature a large flotation pillow collar to support the child's head efficiently and keep the airway out of the water.
Inflatable lifejacket for children is always an automatic inflation type ; even if the child falls into the water unconscious or cannot swim, the lifejacket inflates automatically, by mere contact with the water.However, we tend to recommend inflatable jackets only for children aged 6 or 7 and above, i.e. an age when the child can swim a little and moves around the boat with a relative freedom of movement.
An inflatable lifejacket is ideal for a child who is already acquainted with life on board and reasonably aware of danger ; less cumbersome than a foam jacket, it contributes to the child's better freedom of movement and can thus have a positive effect on his/her involvement on board.
For toddlers, and indeed for most children, we still recommend the traditional foam flotation lifejacket : your child is litterally "bundled up" in a protection shell. While its primary function is to provide flotation, its foam volume acts as a real bumper, protecting the child from hard knocks ; also, it definitely slows down the movements of an inquisitive and adventurous brood, which some parents may find comforting!
R10 & S10 McMurdo
- Approved in all Europe excepted in Belgium. Not OK for USA (non floating) and Australia
- Not IMO (not SART)
- Not floating : will have an option for floating protection
- Batteries life time : 7 years
- AIS symbol: a circle with a cross inside (for the moment this symbol will not exist on the Advansea plotters. We will have a “normal” triangle). This means that the Advansea plotter will not raise an alarm if the emergency signal is received.
- Emergency signal starts with a 970 (same as AIS SART)
- Range : about 4NM
- Sends 8 Tx during 14 seconds: this means that even with very big waves, the S10 will always be at the top of the waves for Tx during this time.
- With TR-200: the TR-200 will slow down its Tx to give priority to the 970 message
- First transmission: 15 seconds even without GPS and 50 seconds after this first transmission with the GPS
- Tx power : 2watts
- GPS chipset : UBLOX4 (same as Advansea plotters)
- Note: R10 will have less range if hold in the hand. The best position in on a life jacket; out of the water
- Auto test possible
S10 is about the same as R10
- Range a bit longer (5NM)
- Waterproof (fully)
- Auto test possible
- Batteries life time : 5 years
Should I select an EPIRB or a PLB ?
EPIRBs (Emergency Position Indicating Radio Beacon) or PLBs (Personal Locator Beacons) are used to alert search and rescue services
in the event of an emergency, by transmitting a coded message on the 406 MHz distress frequency. This message is relayed through
satellite and earth station to the nearest rescue co-ordination centre. These beacons offer a modern alternative to traditional rocket flares,
with the added advantage of global coverage.
EPIRBs and PLBs are subscription free (according to countries).
* EPIRBs operate without restrictions while floating. PLBs must be kept in the appropriate position when floating, to keep the signal emission clear.
Should I select a GPS in option ?
EPIRBs and PLBs with GPS give instant alerts and high precision. It computes your position exactly when the alert signal is sent and transmits it to the COSPAS-SARSAT satellites, then to the Search and Rescue services (SAR), and updates your position every 20 minutes in relation to drifting.