Tag Archives: life preserver

Life Preservers


To Do Today:

Staying Afloat With a Life Preserver

The best form of flotation is to find any kind of floating object that will keep you and your equipment out of the water or minimize your exposure to the water. Life preservers are the best method, as they allow you to wear your clothes for heat retention and sunburn

There are many types of life preservers: inherently buoyant life preservers and inflatable life preservers.

Inherently Buoyant Life Preservers. Inherently buoyant life preservers are either vest-type (worn like a jacket) or yoke-type (worn around the neck). The preserver’s outer envelope is either a cotton or water resistant material that encloses a removable fibrous glass or plastic foam filling. The most common type of inherently buoyant life preserver is the vest-type with collar, known as the kapock preserver. The kapock consists of collar straps, upper front chest straps, leg straps, and waist drawstrings that secure the preserver to you. The leg straps, which are fitted on both sides of the life preserver, ensure that the preserver remains around your chest while you are in the water. A chest strap is attached to the life preserver to facilitate lifting you out of the water. The strap can also be attached to other survivors or to lifeboats to reduce the fatigue that results from holding onto a floating/secured object by hand.

Inflatable Life Preservers. All US and most international aircraft and sea-going vessels have inflatable life preservers on board. Inflatable preservers are capable of both oral inflation and CO2 cartridge inflation. The preserver consists of buoyancy chambers, CO2 inflator, and an oral inflation tube. Inflatable life preservers must be stored in a cool, dry place. Heat, moisture, and light cause deterioration of the life preserver material. Do not stow CO2 cylinders near steam lines or radiators. Heat can increase the pressure inside the cylinders causing them to explode. Avoid sharp edges in stowage. Sharp edges increase wear and tear on the life preservers and may also puncture inflatable buoyancy chambers.

CAUTION: Do not inflate the life preserver until you are clear of the aircraft, ship, or vehicle.
Torn life preservers will not inflate and inflated life preservers can block you, and those behind
you, from exiting the aircraft, ship, or vehicle.

Review the listed links in To Do for additional description and instructions for common life preservers. Learn to don, properly wear, and/or inflate both types of preservers and familiarize yourself with on-board equipment when on, or over, water.