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  • 164. Top Tips Tuesday - Sit Up And Take Notice of the new TeamO BackTow Lifejacket

    The new, revolutionary Team O Offshore Lifejacket

    I'm now just getting my feet under the table after our Mystery delivery trip (Marseille to Corfu with the majority of those 900 odd nautical miles under power) so after expecting a load of ripped sails and new orders for canopies etc I popped into work Sunday to check on the ‘state’ of the loft and run through old e-mails and came across a mail shot from one of our regular suppliers which certainly made me 'sit up and take notice'. So what got me all excited? It was a new take on lifejacket design. I first read about the TeamO concept some years ago, thought it was a good idea and heard nothing more until I opened the attachement!

    The inspiration for BackTow - Team O lifejacket

    The TeamO patented Backtow lifejacket functions in a man-overboard situation by turning the user into a face up seated position once they enter the water and are being towed towed alongside the vessel. This of course keeps the airways clear of the water and allows communication and immediate rescue by the crew. The TeamO Backtow lifejacket will turn an unconscious person into a SAFE position and requires no subsequent action by the user to maintain this position, the Backtow also reduces the risk of injury during recovery. Watch the video it will certainly make you sit up and take notice!

    Team O BackTow Lifejacket - How it works

  • Dimbleby Deserves a Rocket... No lifejacket crutch straps fitted!?

    David_Dimbleby_2735949bSat down on Sunday night after the MO activities at the St Peters winter series on the Tyne to watch ‘Britain and the Sea’ presented by veteran presenter David Dimbleby in which he ‘explores Britain’s maritime culture’ in the first of a four part series on BBC One. David was sailing his gaffer ROCKET which is a Heard 28 design, during his first voyage he is helped by the ‘paid hand’ who helps look after and maintain the boat and Josh and Eliza. One hopes in the next episode that David and the crew will have all fitted to their lifejackets crutch straps as lifejackets are in my opinion almost a waste of space unless the strap is worn and that at the least he will be taking on board some Boarding Ring glasses or a seasickness and travel sickness Relief Band for poor old Josh and Eliza!

  • Silver Cloud

    With the bad weather that hit us last Monday/Tuesday, rivers bursting banks & widespread flooding an awful lot of folks were affected. Houses were flooded, foundations washed away in the Newburn area, many businesses affected. We did suffer, both from a lack of turnover & some minor water damage but not as bad as many. Tuesday we had water coming thru our relatively new roof & a new double glazed unit, a combination of heavy rain & abnormal wind strength/direction methinks, not bad workmanship (builder is a good customer of ours). As for customers, what customers? The phones stopped ringing & first person thru the door was at three pm, not helped by the fact that the A1058 was closed to traffic & our slip road had a policeman stopping traffic from entering; anyway must not moan too much as Saturday afternoon the local council came in & purchased 15 auto lifejackets (unfortunately not Spinlock 5D Deckvests), which helped to negate Tuesdays poor showing! Apparently the council are working Sunday in the Newburn area by the river & also where the soil was eroded away from the foundations.

  • Selecting a Lifejacket

    What's the difference between a Buoyancy Aid and a Lifejacket?

    A buoyancy aid supports the wearer in the water but is not designed like a lifejacket to turn the wearer face up. Falling or being knocked into the sea causes shock and disorientation so a lifejacket, either permanant foam or gas inflated, will turn an unconcious person face up. Buoyancy aids are for use by small craft sailors, canoeists and skiers or wakeboarders where being in the water happens frequently, but it is expected that the wearer is prepared for this and is a capable swimmer. Young children and poor swimmers should always wear a lifejacket.

    What size?

    It is more important that a lifejacket should be selected for fit and comfort and not to be able to ride up rather than the weight category indicated on the label. For children this is especially true and the lifejacket should never be purchased to “grow into”.

    • 50 Newton Class / EN 393 / EN ISO 12402-5 Buoyancy aids and floatation clothing that hold a person afloat with a greater safety margin. Must be used by swimmers only as they do not help you onto a safe back position in the water. For persons 25kg and over.
    • 100 Newton Class / EN 395 / EN ISO 12402-4 Inherent foam lifejackets with the buoyancy concentrated to the front and collar to help a person turn over onto the safe back position. Suitable for swimmers and non-swimmers.
    • 150 Newton Class / EN 396 / EN ISO 12402-3 Inflatable lifejackets with good turning capacity when inflated. Can be inflated manually or automatically. For persons 40 kg and over. Quite a few 150N lifejackets are actually 175N but there is no classification for this size.
    • 275 Newton Class Inflatable lifejackets with extremely good turning capacity. For industrial and professional use. Manual or Automatic inflation. For persons 40 kg and over.

    What type of inflation?

    Manual gas inflation is simple with a very low chance of accidental inflation, but of course means the wearer must remain concious to activate it. Automatic gas inflation operates either using a soluble paper or salt tablet or by hydrostatic pressure. The soluble type can sometimes activate in damp conditions if stored wet. They have been known to inflate when flung in a car boot and smothered in wet clothing for example. The hydrostatic type known as Hammar will only inflate when submerged to about 1 metre.

    Other essentials and accessories:

    • The most essential thing is that you wear it! As the RNLI are keen to point out, a lifejacket is useless unless worn.
    • Crotch or thigh straps help to prevent a buoyancy aid or lifjacket ride up when floating.
    • A water activated lifejacket light should be worn especially for coastal and offshore sailing.
    • Again for coastal or offshore sailing a sprayhood is necessary.
    • An integral harness allows the wearer to attach themselves to the boat using a safety line.
    • Some lifejackets include a lifting strop for hooking up a halyard to help the person back aboard.
    • A gas inflating lifejacket needs to have a re-arming kit available onboard so that it can be armed and re-packed after activation.


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