Lifeboat Community Safety Team Hold An On-Line Lifejacket Training Workshop

On Tuesday evening (13th January 2021) our Lifeboat Community Safety Team kick started their 2021 on-line training programme by hosting a workshop to refresh their knowledge and skills on lifejackets.   If you are a follower of our lifesaving work you will be aware that we conduct lifejacket clinic’s at local yacht club and lifeboat stations to help check lifejackets and keep their wearers/owners safe.

Lifejackets are an essential piece of lifesaving kit and the lifejacket clinic can help check the lifejacket and point the sailor or it’s owner/user with self-care advice.

Due to the RNLI COVID-19 pandemic risk assessments it is not possible for Community Safety Teams to visit lifeboat stations or other venues and conduct face to face refresher training so our team have decided to put together their own training schedule to help keep team members refreshed on essential skills and knowledge.

So, that they are able to deploy effectively when the time comes. Some of the areas that they will be covering includes: open water swimming, basic life support, Advice on Board (AOB), calling for help devices and kayaking.  The team is lucky to have a wide range of subject matter experts amongst it’s members who are happy to deliver high quality awareness workshops to refresh and remind the team on essential skill and topic areas.

John Homer, the longest serving member of our team delivered a very detailed and comprehensive workshop drawing on his extensive knowledge and experience through many years of sailing.

John said “lifejackets are vital in helping you stay safe whilst on the water. A  lifejacket or buoyancy aid could have saved the lives of eleven individuals in 2018.  Whatever the weather or sea conditions our recommendation is always wear a lifejacket and get it fully serviced/checked according to the manufacturers guidelines”.

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Photo credit: John Homer (pre COVID-19)

John used a detailed power point presentation to brief team members and a practical demonstration to highlight key points. We are very grateful to John and the rest of the team who were able to attend the on-line workshop to keep their skills and knowledge refreshed.

Here are some of our lifejacket checks which you can use:

  • Inspect the outside of the jacket for wear and tear. Take a detailed look at the cover for any damage, webbing, harnesses, crotch straps, sizing and fit.
  • Even if it is a jacket with an inspection window, undoe the lifejacket at the point next to the inflator.
  • Check the gas cylinder is hand tight, or if it’s a bayonet type, is it firmly locked in position.
  • If the lifejacket is new to you, remove the cylinder and check it has not been fired.  Previously, our team have found in anumber of case that lifejackets which have been gifted have been fired.  You will be surprised to learn that some brand new lifejackets will have an out-of-date cylinder, so it is always worth checking.
  • Replace the cylinder if required (these can be purchased from most chandlers).
  • Look for the green coloured indicators on the trigger and if fitted, on the automatic firing system.
  • Keep spare cyclinders and replacement parts for the automatic firing system on hand. So, that the  jacket can be re-armed. Or, keep a spare jacket for each person onboard. The replacement parts are relatively inexpensive to purchase.
  • Get the jacket serviced at the manufacturer’s recommended intervals.  This is highly recommended.
  • Undertake a thorough inspection of each and every lifejacket at least once a year – more often if the lifejacket is used frequently.

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How can you find out more information about lifejacket checks?

If you would like any further information then please do not hesitate to drop us a direct message on Facebook.

A check by an RNLI Community Safety Advisor is not the equivalent of a lifejacket service. Lifejackets should be serviced by an approved service agent.

Thank you for reading and stay safe!

lifejacket clinic Community Safety Thanet
Lifejacket clinic Margate lifeboat station 2019. Photo credit: Thanet RNLI Community Safety
Further useful links

How to choose the right lifejacket

Lifejackets – useless unless worn

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HM Coastguard

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