How are Lifejackets and Buoyancy Aids Classified?
50N Buoyancy Aids – EN393 (11lbs / 5.5kg of buoyancy)
These products are designed for competent swimmers, and are suitable for use in sheltered waters. They will only provide support to a conscious person who can normally help themselves.
• Most common uses are active water sports such as dinghy sailing, board sports, kayaking, and on personal water craft (jet skis).
• There are many styles and fits to suit the requirements of most water sports activities.
100 Newton Lifejacket – EN395 (23lbs / 11kg of buoyancy)
These lifejackets are designed for both swimmers and non-swimmers and are suitable for use around inshore and coastal waters. They give a reasonable assurance of safety from drowning in relatively calm waters.
• These products are NOT guaranteed to self-right an unconscious person wearing waterproof clothing and should not be expected to protect the airway of an unconscious person in rough water.
• Under EU regulations, these lifejackets must be constructed out of a bright coloured fabric with 100cm2 of SOLAS reflective tape stitched to the front and provided with a whistle for attracting attention.
• They are most commonly used on inland waterways and lakes or on the coast by craft operating reasonably close to shore in fair weather and fair sea conditions.
• These jackets are often constructed in a foam waistcoat-style, making them simple to fit and relatively maintenance-free.
150N Lifejacket – EN396 (33lbs / 16kg of buoyancy)
These lifejackets are suitable for both swimmers and non-swimmers, and are designed for use in inshore as well as offshore and in all but the most severe conditions.
• They give reasonable assurance of safety from drowning, to a person not fully capable of helping themselves (ie someone unconscious).
• However they may not immediately self-right an unconscious person wearing heavy waterproof clothing that might trap air that could counter-act the normal righting moment of the lifejacket’s buoyancy.
• These lifejackets can be constructed out of foam (looking very similar to the orange foam lifejackets seen on ferries), or they can be of a low profile gas inflation design.
• Under EU regulations, these jackets must be constructed out of a bright coloured fabric (when inflated) with 300cm2 of SOLAS reflective tape stuck to the front and provided with a whistle for attracting attention.
• The EN396 150N gas inflation model lifejacket is the most popular type sold, particularly for leisure craft such as yachts and motor cruisers where their lower profile design is valued for being unobtrusive and easy to wear.
• They can be supplied in both manual activation (inflated by pulling a toggle) and automatic water-activated models which inflate when they are submersed in water.
275 Newton Lifejacket - EN399 (62lbs / 28kg of buoyancy)
These lifejackets are suitable for both swimmers and non-swimmers and are designed to provide a high performance device for offshore and severe conditions, when maximum protection is required or where heavy waterproof clothing is worn that can trap air.
• These products give improved assurance of safety from drowning, to people who are not able to help themselves (ie unconscious).
• While they cannot be guaranteed to immediately self-right an unconscious person wearing heavy waterproofs that might trap air, the buoyancy that they provide should ensure that they will do so in the majority of cases.
• Under EU regulations, these products must be constructed out of a brightly coloured fabric (when inflated) with 300cm2 of SOLAS reflective tape stuck to the front and provided with a whistle for attracting attention.
• The 275N gas inflation model lifejacket is popular on leisure vessels that travel further offshore or on ocean passages in challenging conditions and also by smaller commercial operators that do not need to comply with full SOLAS lifejacket regulations but want the assurance that the improved performance offers.
• The low profile design is also valued for being unobtrusive.
• These jackets are normally supplied in automatic water-activated models which inflate when they are submersed in water.
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