Lifejackets: Performance capacities and elements

As we saw in our last post regarding lifejackets, they are the most known appliance for saving our life. Since they were invented in 1854, this device for keeping us afloat at sea has changed very much.

Last week we saw that the Code that regulates how Lifejackets must be constructed is the Life Saving Appliances Code (best known as LSA Code). On this Code we saw the construction requirements for lifejackets and how are lifejackets classified.

This week, using the LSA Code, we will answer the following questions:

  • Performance capacities of lifejackets.
  • Elements on a lifejacket.

Performance capacities of lifejackets

According to the Code, a Lifejacket will lift our mouth out of the water even if we are exhausted or unconscious. Also, if we have passed out or if we are close to and we are unlucky enough to end face-downed, the lifejacket itself will turn our body.

When I was taking for my first time the basic safety certificate course, during practice, I remember I said myself “Ok, regulation must be true so, let’s try” and I turned with my face on the water I act like if I was dead… in a few seconds I was already turned face-up. Awesome. So I can tell you, this thing works (in case you had doubts).

Of course, the lifejacket will also maintain us in that face-up position while waves hit us without being necessary for us to do anything special, being possible to remain in the fetal position 

In case of the lifejackets for children and infants, besides the requirements we have told already, there will be some exceptions like in the case of the donning where it will be possible to require assistance to put the lifejacket on.

In addition, the requirements for a lifejacket are flexible when we are speaking of an infant or child lifejacket because, according to the Code, it prevails the facilitation of being rescued, being secured to a caretaker, keep the user as drier as possible and permitting the caretaker to control hear loss on the children or infant.

Elements on a lifejacket

  • The method of securing the lifejacket to the wearer has quick and positive means of closure that do not require tying of knots.
  • Each lifejacket shall be provided with means of securing a light as specified in the Code.
  • Each lifejacket shall be fitted with a whistle firmly secured by lanyard.
  • Lifejacket lights and whistles shall be selected and secured to the lifejacket in such a way that their performance in combination is not degraded.
  • A lifejacket shall be provided with a releasable buoyant line or other means to secure it to a lifejacket worn by another person in the water.
  • A lifejacket shall be provided with a suitable means to allow a rescuer to lift the wearer from the water into a survival craft or rescue boat.


Alvaro Jimenez

2nd Officer at Royal Caribbean International
My motto: Safety First.
My passion: Deliver the wow.
My dream: Sail around the world.
Alvaro Jimenez

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