Staying warm and staying alive …

On Saturday March 17th we had a very interesting talk and workshop from Clifton Warry – the local RNLI Sea Safety Officer. As well as checking people’s lifejackets for them, he went through many of the issues in relation to lifejackets and MOB retrieval. It was very thought-provoking and will certainly encourage me to wear a lifejacket a lot more regularly. One surprising fact was perhaps that the main killer (and that is not too strong a word) for people going over the side is ‘Cold water shock’. On a nice warm sunny day, we may think there is no need to wear a lifejacket, but just because the air is warm doesn’t mean the water is any warmer. The water temperature doesn’t vary much and even at the height of summer is unlikely to be much more than 15-16 degrees. In the winter it can be as low as 5 degrees. Even at 10 degrees you may only survive 2 hours in the water. The video below is an interesting summary of cold water shock.

RNLI – Cold Water Shock from Classlane Media on Vimeo.

To maximise your chances of survival, wearing a lifejacket is crucial. So will yours work when you need them the most? Have you:

  • Weighed and checked the state of the gas bottle?
  • Checked the fabric of the bladder?
  • Inflated it and left it for 24 hours to check the integrity?
  • Checked the lights?
  • Checked the sprayhood? Do you have one?
  • Checked the crotch straps? (See video below)

Do you ensure that each crew member is given a lifejacket and it is fitted properly whenever you go sailing? It is also crucial that a lifejacket is worn properly. See the video below for a perfect illustration of the value of crotch straps.

Clifton will be very happy to come out to your boat and do an RNLI Sea Safety Check. he can be contacted on 01621 785421. Why not do this at the start of the season? What price peace of mind when you are sailing with the family?