A free check-up of lifejackets is being provided by the RNLI at Cowes this week, before the service moves on to Yarmouth.
Pleasure sailors, whether or not involved this week’s Little Britain Cup, can visit the RNLI’s Road Safety Road Show at Cowes Yacht Haven on Thursday, Friday and Saturday, to have their lifejackets expertly examined – or just given advice on what they should look for to ensure their lifejackets are fit for purpose.
The lifejacket ‘clinic’ will operate between 10 am and 4 pm on each of the three days. Road Show Supervisor, Mike Hannam, will be in charge, supported by local RNLI crew members led by Lifeboat Sea Safety Officer Dave Wright.
Research has shown that although 98 percent of pleasure sailors carried a lifejacket, only 49 percent wore them all the time they were afloat. In addition a third of lifejackets seen at these ‘clinics’ would not work properly, because of poor maintenance.
“People without suitable lifejackets are severely at risk if they should suddenly find themselves in the water,” said Dave Wright. “A grim fact is that of all the bodies that the RNLI have recovered, precious few were wearing lifejackets. Lives depend on lifejackets being properly selected, fitted and maintained.”
Choice of lifejacket is also important. Buoyancy is measured in Newtons, and there are typically three classes of lifejacket – one for sheltered waters and/or weak swimmers, one for coastal sailing that will turn an unconscious casualty face-up, and one for offshore use and/or use with lots of clothes.
Dave emphasised that the clinic was just to give free advice on lifejackets. “We are not in the business of selling lifejackets.”
The same free service will also be provided by the Road Show at Yarmouth on Sunday morning.