Fowey RNLI lifejacket clinic finds over 50% faulty or condemned

Lifeboats News Release

On Saturday March 12 Fowey RNLI held a lifejacket clinic at their lifeboat station in Fowey. A team from Ocean Safety Ltd in Plymouth carried out vital safety checks on a total of 169 lifejackets.

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Condemned lifejacket with corroded cylinder

Over 50% needed a critical safety part replacing, meaning that had they been used in an emergency, they may not have worked and could potentially have caused loss of life. 11 lifejackets were condemned outright as being unfit for use. A further 51 needed new capsules, and 26 required replacement cylinders, both of which are critical elements in a fully functioning lifejacket. A donation to Fowey RNLI of £3 per lifejacket was suggested, and a total of £707.51 was raised on the day.

Fowey RNLI Lifeboat station operations manager, Chris Ogg said: ‘It is extremely important to have your lifejacket or any personal floatation device regularly checked and serviced. Your lifejacket may save your life one day, but only if you maintain it properly. If a lifejacket is faulty, you are basically wearing a dead weight around your neck. People brought along a variety of lifejackets to be checked and it was eye-opening to see the terrible condition of some of them. One was so badly damaged inside, the material disintegrated when it was unpacked. Quite a few had heavily corroded CO2 bottles, out-of-date parts and damaged areas of material, meaning that they would have failed to inflate in an emergency.’

Chris continues: ‘While it was encouraging to see a good turnout of local sailors and boat users, there will be many people who did not come along and who may not have had their lifejackets checked in the last couple of years. It is vital that they are checked and serviced once a year by the manufacturer or recommended agent.

As well as carrying out safety checks, Ocean Safety advised people on what danger signs to look out for, for example looking at the webbing and the stitching that holds the webbing together, checking for signs of worn stitching and also checking zips, buckles, fastenings and crotch straps. Chris continues: ‘Many people don’t appreciate that fabric is significantly affected by salt water. If lifejackets have been stored in damp conditions for example on boats, critical elements such as the salt tablets used to trigger the inflation will absorb moisture. Defects can be revealed by them being regularly opened and inspected, and through manual inflation. We hope this vital water safety message reaches everyone who uses lifejackets, especially as the 2022 sailing and boating season gets underway.’

Choosing the right lifejacket for the type of activity you are doing can be the difference between life and death. TMS marine supplies from Par Moor was on hand all day to offer advice on the different types available and to assist with sales of new equipment to people whose lifejackets had been condemned or required new parts.

Chris concludes: ‘I would like to thank Ocean Safety, TMS and all the volunteers who helped out on the day, including members of our volunteer lifeboat crew and local boat builder, Marcus Lewis. People were very grateful for the safety advice and service they received and we are delighted that the event raised £707.51 to support the running of Fowey lifeboat station.’

Sailing racing rules state that all equipment must function properly and be regularly checked, cleaned, serviced and in date. Full ISAF regulation details can be found at https://sailing.org/documents/offshorespecialregs/index.php

More information about lifejackets can be found at https://rnli.org/safety/lifejackets


Notes to editors

RNLI media contacts

For more information please telephone Cathy Baillie, RNLI volunteer Lifeboat Press Officer on 07787 709986 or [email protected] or Emma Haines, Regional Press Officer [email protected] and 07786 668847 or contact the RNLI Press Office on 01202 336789.

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For more information on the RNLI please visit rnli.org. News releases and other media resources, including RSS feeds, downloadable photos and video, are available at the RNLI News Centre rnli.org/news-and-media.

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 142,200 lives.


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Badly corroded critical part

RNLI

Damaged material

RNLI

Ocean Safety checking lifejackets

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New lifejackets supplied by TMS

RNLI

Fowey RNLI lifejacket clinic

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 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.

Learn more about the RNLI

For more information please visit the RNLI website or Facebook, Twitter and YouTube. News releases, videos and photos are available on the News Centre.

Contacting the RNLI - public enquiries

Members of the public may contact the RNLI on 0300 300 9990 (UK) or 1800 991802 (Ireland) or by email.

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