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Home > Crew Matters > Life Jackets: Useless Unless Worn …Not Great If Not Checked Either!

Life Jackets: Useless Unless Worn …Not Great If Not Checked Either!

Every now and then we run a ‘Learning with Linda’ session, subjects cover anything and everything from buoyage and knots to collision regulations and safety, all wrapped up in a bite size piece to video. It’s a lot of fun until one day, last month, we hit on something that became a bit ‘un fun’.

We run a busy sea school and we invest heavily in safety equipment. Life jackets are sourced from established reputable suppliers, and meet all relevant coding standards from the MCA, RYA and meeting the Spanish maritime commercial activity requirements. With regular use we find that life jackets are at their best for just shy of two years. After the first year we ensure the annual inspection is carried out; the jackets are then in use for another year either to the date when we routinely invest in brand new jackets, or when they start looking too scruffy (sun cream and perspiration on the neck etc).   Taking the jackets out of active service, we ensure they are dry before storing carefully in spacious bags and putting into appropriate storage.

During a ‘Learning with Linda’ video, we thought it would be fun for Rachael, Aigua office crew, to try on a life jacket and inflate it. We randomly chose one from our stores and went to pull the cord. It failed to inflate completely. We chose another and the same thing happened again. The first jacket was twisted around the neck and the gas in the second jacket struggled to open the velcro fastening. Had Rachael been unconscious in the water, we would have a serious problem on our hands.

We decided to run another test, with volunteers from our current shorebased course, we randomly chose three different life jackets and headed off to Sta Catalina park to record it to video. One opened fine, the second and third were a bit slow as the gas fought with the Velcro to open promptly.

From these findings we urge all boat owners, all captain and crew to regularly check your life jackets.

Ensure they are serviced annually, ensure that between services they are taken out of their storage bags and carefully opened; ensure the gas bottle is fitted correctly and the firing mechanism still shows the green tab so you know it has not been accidentally fired.

The RNLI have a great slogan: “useless unless worn”. Regular wearing of a life jacket will inevitably lead to regular checks so please encourage use. In the UK, the RNLI run ‘life jacket clinics’ near their water bases. Aigua Sea School will be liaising with life jacket providers and service agents to set up a similar exercise in Palma.

CleanWave, working towards a plastic free world

 Last month, on March 22nd, it was the International Day of Water and the day we, at Aigua Sea School, chose to announce our association with Cleanwave. ‘El Dia de Aigua’ as we fondly referred to the day!

Cleanwave.org is a dynamic movement of likeminded individuals who recognise the urgent need to provide sustainable alternatives to single use disposable plastic bottles. The organisation has chosen the Balearic islands to launch what is hoped will become a global movement.

The company has been featured in ‘The Islander’ before and has grown in strength as companies, and individuals, realise they can play a valuable role in ensuring access to safe drinking water without the use of single use plastic bottles.  Our Aigua Sea School office has become a partner and will provide a refill station for the yachting community. We are in good company as we join the likes of Marina Estrella, Doyle Palma, Oyster Yachts, Asociacion Ondine, Port Adriano and Catany Boat Club as companies working within the yachting community who are behind this essential project.

It’s almost time for the ‘big reveal’

Rumours have been a-flying over the last year about a move for Aigua Sea School. True, we have been keeping it under wraps and now the time is here to start talking about it. We had been looking for new premises for some time and last April we found a space we found inspiring and that offered so much potential to our student experience that we just had to take it. As many of you know, things can move somewhat slowly in Spain and we have been patient as plans were made, project licences secured, contractors engaged and our excitement has been held in check.  This month will be the ‘big move’ and we will prepare a proper update for the next issue. Our new space is very close to our current office and we look forward to welcoming you to the new space. Stand by for more details.


T: +34 871 230 373