Dun Laoghaire RNLI in lifejacket safety warning ahead of Bank Holiday weekend
Dun Laoghaire RNLI in County Dublin is making a timely warning this Bank Holiday weekend to all lifejacket owners to ensure the appropriate safety checks are carried out by a competent agent ahead of the main boating season.
The safety appeal comes following the results from a free lifejacket advice clinic held in Dun Laoghaire by the RNLI’s community safety team last weekend.
Of the 131 lifejackets checked, only 21% were found to be completely fault free.
The lifejackets were brought to the free clinic by a variety of boat users and were checked by experienced RNLI volunteers. While the RNLI offers sea safety advice it does not offer a pass or fail assessment on lifejacket servicing.
Just over half the units tested had the recommended crotch straps fitted that are considered vital to ensure that a lifejacket inflates correctly on the wearer and remains in place, keeping the wearer’s head above the water and helping to prevent fatigue.
There were numerous examples of life-threatening problems detected during the checks. Ninety of the units had out of date firing mechanisms and 23 had corroded gas bottles that risk incorrect inflation in an emergency.
Speaking following the clinic, Stephen Wynne, Dun Laoghaire RNLI Lifeboat Operations Manager said: ‘Although we are very pleased that more than 100 lifejackets were checked, the fault rate is extremely worrying when you think that anyone taking to the water needs and relies on a lifejacket should they get into trouble. As the main boating season gets underway, we are appealing to everyone thinking of going on the water to ensure that they not only have a lifejacket but that every user has their lifejacket checked by a competent agent. This is so important and could save a life.’
Other problems identified at the clinic included lifejackets that had already been fired (3), missing gas cylinders (3), missing firing mechanisms (3), bladder abrasion (3), holed bladder (3) and one unit that was so old it didn't inflate at all.
‘It is essential that the correct type of lifejacket is used depending on the planned activity’, added Peter Richardson, Dun Laoghaire RNLI Community Safety Officer. ‘Specialist activities such as offshore racing or cruising need lifejackets fitted with a spray hood, light and space for a personal locator beacon (PLB). People who do not fit a crotch strap to their lifejacket or who do not use it when fitted are risking their lives should they end up in the water’.
Please see link to a video featuring Laura Jackson from the RNLI’s Community Safety team highlighting the problems presented at the RNLI’s lifejacket clinic in Dun Laoghaire: https://rnli.org/news-and-media/2017/april/27/80-fault-rate-in-lifejacket-checks-at-lifejacket-clinic
RNLI media contacts
For more information please contact David Branigan, Lifeboat Press Officer RNLI Dun Laoghaire: 086 253 7782 or
Key facts about the RNLI
The RNLI charity saves lives at sea. Its volunteers provide a 24-hour search and rescue service around the United Kingdom and Republic of Ireland coasts. The RNLI operates over 238 lifeboat stations in the UK and Ireland and more than 240 lifeguard units on beaches around the UK and Channel Islands. The RNLI is independent of Coastguard and government and depends on voluntary donations and legacies to maintain its rescue service. Since the RNLI was founded in 1824, its lifeboat crews and lifeguards have saved over 142,700 lives.