Types of Life Jacket Inflation (Guide Purposes Only):
Automatic Lifejacket Inflation. These life jackets work on the principle that an element in the inflation mechanism reacts with water (in most cases this ia a pill/pellet that dissolves in water), automatically triggering the gas cartridge, which in turn inflates the air chambers of the lifejacket.
Automatic Lifejackets are a popular choice due to the reassurances of an auto firing mechanism, ideal if you're knocked unconscious when you hit the water.
Automatic Lifejackets will also have a manual inflation mechanism as well.
Manual Lifejacket Inflation. These lifejackets work by operation from the user, the lifejacket will have a pull chord or string that needs to be pulled firmly, this fires a pin triggering the canister to inflate the lifejacket.
Oral Life Jacket Inflation. The third method of inflating your lifejacket is by means of you manually blowing up the lifejacket. Located in the lifejacket where the lung is will be a mouth piece, this can be used as a fail safe to blow up the lifejacket, or to top up the air in an already inflated lifejacket.
Life Jacket Newton Ratings (Guide purposes only):
Life Jacket Buoyancy is measured in Newtons (N), 10N = 1Kg of Flotation.
There are Four European Standards for lifejacket buoyancy. All Lifejackets must have an Approved CE Mark.
50 Newton Buoyancy. Standard Newton rating for Bouyancy Aids, recommended for usage for swimming in sheltered and attended waters, with assistance close by. The buoyancy level does not guarantee to self right a person in the water.
Buoyancy Aids are popular with people who find their activities always have them in the water! Examples being windsurfing, dinghy sailing and water skiing.
100 Newton Buoyancy. A lifejacket suitable for those who are likely to be in calm and sheltered waters. It is unlikely to provide enough buoyancy to protect someone who can't fend for themselves, and crucially it may not be strong enough to self right an unconscious person onto their back, especially if the person is heavy in weight, or wearing lots of heavy items of clothing.
150 Newton Buoyancy. A suitable lifejacket for inshore and Coastal sailing. The buoyancy level should also mean that it can cope with general offshore sailing and rougher weather. It should self right an unconsciuos person onto their backs, and crucially keep their face out of the water. It's performance may be affected if the user is wearing heavy and waterproof clothing.
275 Newton Buoyancy. A suitable lifejacket for offshore cruising and commercial sailing. Suitable levels of buoyancy for the most extreme weather conditions out on the water, and they're designed to work with people who will be wearing full foul weather clothing. The lifejacket will self right the wearer onto their back, and keep their face out of the water.