Home' Afloat : AFLOAT March 2016 Contents Take monthly with water March 2016 21
Before you hit the road, especially if towing
a boat to a distant holiday, it’s important to
make sure you’re well-rested. Driver fatigue is
the second biggest killer on NSW roads and it
isn’t isolated to country roads or long trips – a
short drive can be dangerous if you haven’t
had enough sleep. If you’re unsure, head to
Holidays are a popular time to socialise,
especially out on the water. If you’re planning
on drinking alcohol these holidays, make sure
you have a Plan B so you and your loved ones
make it home safely.
If you’re the skipper – you’re responsible and
observe the 0.05 blood alcohol limit.
Be safe on the roads and waterways this Easter
spoilt for choice
Lifejackets are iconic of maritime safety and
boaters are spoilt for choice when it comes to
lifejacket models on the market.
Lifejacket designs have come a long way from
the initial foam models. These days, inflatable
lifejackets are more high-tech, more comfortable,
and are becoming increasingly affordable.
These advancements have translated into better
boating safety in NSW.
Lifejacket wear rates are up more than 300
per cent since 2007 and the long-term fatal
statistics are trending downwards.
If you are looking at upgrading to an inflatable
lifejacket, it’s important to take time to
understand how they work, particularly the
extra care and attention they need compared
with traditional foam models.
Inflatable lifejackets are available in automatic
and manual, and it is important to understand
Manual inflatable lifejackets
The manual model of inflatable lifejacket has a
pull cord, similar to the kind you see on planes
during pre-flight safety briefings.
You simply pull the cord and that releases the
compressed air into the bladder and inflates it
within a couple of seconds.
These jackets obviously require the wearer to be
physically able to pull the cord when needed.
The automatic model of inflatable lifejacket is
a little more expensive than the manual model.
These models have an extra component that
senses water immersion, as well as a manual
pull-cord as a back-up.
The safety benefit of an automatic model is
that if a person falls into the water and is
incapacitated – for example, if they break an
arm or fall unconscious – the water sensor
activates on immersion and automatically
inflates the jacket within seconds.
The automatic models offer an extra safeguard
when compared with the manual versions –
but whatever model you choose is a case of
The right model
for the right conditions
There are a variety of different activities you
can do on the water – from fishing in a tinnie,
to racing on a yacht – and some people prefer
different models for different activities.
For example, some offshore boaters who are
routinely drenched on deck prefer manual
lifejacket models so they can keep working
in the open without the jacket automatically
Variety in lifejackets is important because
everyone is different – different in body shapes,
state of health, ability and activity. You should
take the time to ensure you have the most
comfortable and appropriate lifejacket for your
needs and activity.
The good thing about the Australian Standard
(AS4758) for lifejackets is that it is a performance
standard. This means it sets the minimum
standards in design and manufacture to support
public confidence in the product but allows for a
wide range of styles to be on offer.
It is far better for a person to wear a manual
model lifejacket than to not wear one at all. The
best performing jacket in the world will not save
a person if they go overboard and the jacket is
in a locker.
A look at boating fatalities over the past decade
shows that nine out of 10 people who drown
when boating, didn’t wear a lifejacket. Add
to that statistic, the tragic reality that many
deaths were preventable and that a lifejacket
will double the chance of survival ... and it
should be clear why increasing lifejacket wear
is a priority.
All-action boats like the Extreme 40s are
raced hard but the crews put safety first.
Australian surfer Sally Fitzgibbons (centre) and former Rugby international Phil Waugh (left) get
a first-hand taste for Extreme Sailing but do so wearing modern, comfortable lifejackets.
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