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Seago Lifejackets


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Although 'Broads based', I'm looking at buying a couple of lifejackets to keep on the boat, which apart from emergency use, would be a sensible idea for when someone needs to traverse the gunwale walkway in bad weather, or a tidal flow.

I have some very good buoyancy aids (from my dinghy sailing days), but they are somewhat cumbersome/bulky to wear around boat.

So, as we aren't planning any sea passages, something that is lightweight and comfortable to wear, without the heavy duty stainless steel buckles etc, that you would find on the more serious sea going kit, and not too expensive.

The Seago 150N and 175N jackets seem to be simplistic (you might even say basic), and are reasonably priced.

However, I remembered reading a couple of years ago, that there was a 'recall' on these jackets, and an internet search confirmed my thinking. In fact I note that the 2008 recall has been extended to 2010.

The same internet search also brought me to a 2008 'thread' on this forum :) .

So, has the reason behind the recall been resolved in current production, and is the Seago jacket a good option?

With so many products now manufactured in China, and sold in 'the west' as identical items under different brand names (Badge Engineering), it is quite possible to pay more, or less, for the same item but with a different badge.

Your thoughts please guys.

Dave

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Hi Dave

I'd go for auto inflating jackets everytime, and we had ours on our Bath Tub which we now use on the new boat too whether on the rivers or out at sea. They have plastic buckles but no harness attachments and so are perfectly suitable on the rivers. Norfolk marine sell them for anything from £50 up. They are not bulky at all and so do not hinder movement, which can be as dangerous as not wearing one at all.

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Totally agree with Mark Dave. I started to have a look for you and got distracted by lifejackets that have gas canisters, but are manual inflate. When you fall in the water, you pull a toggle...

I didn't know there was such a thing..... no good if you have bumped you head on the way down, which could easily happen !

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I have 2 manuals on the boat for use in the dinghy, if they go off every time you get wet it gets a bit expensive. the ones used for general use are automatic though.

can't see Seago continuing to make duff life jackets and they were unavailable in the shops for about 4 months last year when they were recalled so everything out there now should be new stock.

Marine Pool are another name to have a look at, they are the world no. 1 in terms of sales but fairly new in this country, have a couple and they do seem well made.

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Seago are fine and have no issues any more, I certainly endorse having auto inflation as the pull cord ones are really designed for ditching or sinking where you know and have time to inflate. They are however useless unless you are in a fit state to pull the cord and that’s a bit difficult if you’re floating face down unconscious and breathing water. Just remember that like all stuff you can’t simply buy and forget them and they need annual service and regular checks throughout the season.

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We have 4 auto inflate seago lifejackets on board a couple are over 4 years old one 1 years old and the last one I purchased a few weeks ago. They have all been checked for outstanding recalls and none were within the recall ranges, other than changing the rearming kits on the older ones we have had no problems with them.

It does pay to check the date on the firing cartridge before purchase as many retailers can have them in stock for some time, make sure you have at least 18 months on them or you could be paying half the value again in rearming kits. :o

As already has been said auto inflate has to be the way to go.

cheersbar

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Thanks for the response guys, all very sound advice, which I have 'taken onboard'.

An interesting comment on cartridges being close to their 'sell buy date'. I'll be sure to check on that one, and if ordering via 'mail-order', I'll ask.

I guess the only negative with the auto-inflate jackets, is that you won't know if the 'water sensitive' firing mechanism works, until you actually need it to. :o

Then again, you wont be able to 'pull the cord' on a manual-inflate jacket if you are unconcious.

Do the auto-inflate jackets have a manual overide, that can be used if the auto mechanism fails?.

Dave

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If you have the time, I would try a few out before you buy - especially if you have female crew members who might be making use of them regularly.

We have a couple of Crewsaver auto inflates which are extremely comfortable, and are worn at all times when underway (unless below deck), and when walking around on deck when moored. I did try out a cheaper life jacket (it may have been a Seago but I'm not sure) but wouldn't have been able to wear it for prolonged periods. How can I put this ...... certain parts of the female anatomy were heavily squashed by the cheaper jacket and the only way in which I could wear it with any degree of comfort was to place said offending female parts inbetween the straps of the jacket. Not only was this rather uncomfortable too, it also looked like I was advertising my wares!! :naughty::oops:

So in the end, we chose the more expensive Crewsaver jackets - they work well too, as I found out at Brundall a couple of years ago! :o

Carol

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The auto jackets still have an auto mechanism and an oral top up valve, the auto is just an extra safety feature.

I tend to add one new jacket every year with the oldest jacket being chucked in the bath to check it and a new arming kit added. Have never had one not go off and they take about 3-5 seconds.

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The 'mind boggles' Carol :lol:

Point taken though, and yes Mrs S would certainly need to be wearing one, so 'trying before buying' is a very sensible option.

I have three chandlers, all with 20 mins drive, so we can indeed 'sample the goods'.

Dave

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Here's another option:

Ocean Safety 175N Auto, with 'built in' lifting becket, and at £43, reasonaly priced. Available locally, so can be 'tried for size' as Carol suggests.

Probably made in the same factory as the Seago ;)

Dave

post-663-136713708217_thumb.jpg

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150N jackets that meet EN396 are rated as:

"May not immediately self-right an unconscious user wearing heavy waterproof clothing"

For a better guarantee of the ability to do this, a 275N jacket meeting EN399 is required.

So, it would seem that even though you may be wearing an auto-inflating 150N jacket, it may not flip you onto your back if you are unconcious. In other words you could drown just the same as if you had been wearing a manually operated jacket. That said, the odds are obviously much better with the auto jacket.

The 175N jacket would seem to be no more than a slightly more buoyant version of the 150N, as it also only meets EN396.

A couple hours ago, a 'lifejacket' was a 'lifejacket', now with the input to this 'thread', and a bit of internet searching, I'm much better informed :grin:

Dave

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Totally agree with Mark Dave. I started to have a look for you and got distracted by lifejackets that have gas canisters, but are manual inflate. When you fall in the water, you pull a toggle...

I didn't know there was such a thing..... no good if you have bumped you head on the way down, which could easily happen !

Actually, my personal preference would be for manual inflation only. This is because I can think of several instances where people have been trapped under an upturned boat by their auto-inflating lifejacket, but none where somebody has gone into the water unconcious and been pulled out alive. Also, lifejackets do significantly impede swimming (as distinct from just floating), and as a strong swimmer I'd prefer to keep that as my first option, activating the lifejacket only if I actually need it.

Whilst on the subject of lifejackets, it's probably worth mentioning that a lifejacket without either thigh or crotch straps is worse than useless, as if it doesn't come off over your head when it inflates, it'll probably throttle you with the chest strap.

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Hmmm!!, that's yet another interesting 'take' on the subject.

As someone who spent many years racing sailing dinghies, I have been capsized quite a few times, but never under the upturned hull. So I can see that being a situation where where a lifejacket or buoyancy aid could be a definite disadvantage.

Then again, having raced in many 'frost bite' series, I know that the water is 'COLD' in the winter, and even in a wet suit, the cold can very quickly affect your physical ability. So fumbling around with cold cold fingers, trying to find and pull the 'toggle' to inflate the lifejacket, might not be so easy. In my case, using a buoyancy aid, no inflation was necessary.

With a motor cruiser on the Broads, the most likely event is going to be tripping/slipping and falling over the side (unlikely to get washed overboard by a large wave ;) ), and therefore in most instances either a manual of auto jacket would 'do the job'. In fact about 20 years ago, when I towed a small motor cruiser up the Broads, I slipped off the gunwhale, and into Salhouse Broad, to the amusement of everyone else onboard :lol: . I worked my way along the fenders, round to the stern, and climbed back in via the outboard engine well, with no harm done, other than feeling a 'right plonker'. :lol:

On a more serious note, the recent tragic drowning on the Broads, could well have been prevented by an auto-inflating lifejacket.

Manual or auto?, I guess the final choice is down to the individual, as each has both advantages and potential disadavantges.

The 'bottom line' is, any flotation aid, is better than none at all, and all are useless, unless worn.

Dave

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275N Jackets are designed to turn you on your back when wearing offshore gear in a rough sea, bit different to the broads where a 150 or 175N will have no problem doing the job.

Auto's are not meant to be worn for dinghy sailing where buoyancy aids are much more suitable.

If you are likely to get wet wear a manual.

Most people fall in while mooring or stepping on and off the boat.

Our non swimming, special needs 12 year old girl wears an automatic life jacket on the boat and pontoons at all times despite the fact that she would not pull the cord, this is on the advice of the RNLI who advised that a properly maintained Auto is safer than the foam 100 Newton life jacket she was wearing. Our 15 year old week swimming boy wears an auto jacket when on deck, Heather with her disability's can not get on the decks and as such wears her auto when getting on and off the boat and on the pontoons.

I do not wear a life jacket on the Broads unless in the dinghy where I wear a manual one. At sea we all wear an auto at all times, it is a long way to the bank.

In boating you still have the choice to make an informed decision and long may that continue.

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i can add that the auto ones work brill

i had a hirer fell off the back of one of the hire boats at WRC the weekend

and his jacket went **** straight away

why o why do ppl insist on standing on the outside of the boats when you tell them NOT to

at least he was wearing the life jacket

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  • 2 weeks later...

Just to close this 'open ended' thread:

Decision made, and lifejacket bought :)

I opted for the Ocean Saftey 175XS Auto (as shown earlier in this 'thread'), based on features, fit, and price.

Dave

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