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Life jackets - XM or Seago?

Guest plesbit

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Hoping for quick answers as I need to place an order this afternoon!

We have two Seago 175N auto-inflating lifejackets with full harness etc. A bit overkill for the broads, perhaps, but they were bought with possible future sea trips in mind. Now so far we haven't been to sea but we are still hoping this weekend might be the weekend that changes. You can imagine my delight, therefore, on reading that our Seago lifejackets must be immediately taken out of use pending investigation.

Well, we had always planned to keep four jackets aboard and to date we have only purchased two. So my plan was simply to buy two new ones right away and we'll send off the existing ones at our leisure. When the original two are returned we'll have our four.

But then someone said to me that, in their opinion, the XM jackets are nicer. They've even brought one in for me to try on. The Seago jackets annoy me slightly because they tend to rub on my neck. The XM one doesn't appear to do that but then I've only managed to wear it for a few seconds, whereas I tend to wear my Seago all the time we are underway so it's not a valid comparison. The XM is definitely more fiddly and the harness is somewhat annoying. Also the XM is only 150N - but does that actually matter in the grand scheme of things?

Presently both jackets are in stock at our chosen retailer, they are priced the same and appear to use the same inflation system so any stock of spares would currently (unless they change design) fit either set of jackets. Caution says go with the Seago, it's a known quantity and spares will definitely be the same. Experience says I know it will be slightly uncomfortable and irritation says I've got to fork out to send their dodgy merchandise back at a really inconvenient time, so I am not altogether chuffed with them right now.

I realise it's probably not that important in the grand scheme of things but I'm just wondering what other people are using and what they think of them? Answers go here :)

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Seago for me every time Matron, comfy when adjusted, robust and good value, but frankly as they all have to conform to the required standard (current high profile issues aside) if you find one that suits then get it, integral harness is a must as far as I'm concerned though.

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Hmm, my Seago 175N certainly do NOT have the fleece bits on - I wish they did. I know Ian and Liz have ones with the fleece bits but they're not Seago.

Anyway, I'm just off the phone from Seago about the recall. It seems the problem is nothing like the description given and it not immediately dangerous but they are obliged to use particular wording in their recall instructions. The problem is that some (a very small minority) of jackets slowly go down over a period of several hours. Not good if you're on passage making but unlikely to be a problem on the Broads. The telephone advice to me, given our need for them this weekend, was to manually blow them up and leave them for a period of many hours to see if they go down. If they don't then there should be no need to return them.

I'll be buying two more anyway and I'll probably stick to the Seagos because I have just had the benefit of examining a Seago and XM together and, frankly, I can't tell the difference. They could almost have come off the same production line.

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Well as per our instructions from Seago I inflated them last night. The advice was that affected items deflate over a period of 2-3 hours. As they were still rock solid this morning, a full 12 hours later I am assuming that ours are unaffected and will not be returning them. I'll be ordering some new ones anyway to bring us up to the compliment required and I think I'll put these, and any future orders, through the same test as soon as they arrive rather than just assume they work as advertised.

To anyone else with the lifejackets in question, that was the advice I got when phoning and I have acted on it. I'd still advise anyone to talk directly to Seago before taking the decision not to return your jackets. Their number is 01825-873567. If the advice you receive differs from that I've detailed, please post here.

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