Self Inspection of Inflatable Lifejackets is only valid for recreational use.
Any lifejacket being used for commercial use, including teams with paid crew, must be serviced by a qualified agent or according to the relevant OHSS.
Manufacturer instructions for annual self inspection of lifejacket’s are available from the internet for most brands and the appropriate instructions for each individual lifejacket carried on a boat must be consulted.
If after consulting the manufacturer instructions for annual self inspection, it is determined that all points are covered in the generic inspection form, available for download CLICK HERE, then the generic form may be used, otherwise use the manufacturers form.
If you are unsure about maintaining your lifejacket, then it should be serviced by a qualified agent.
Inflatable Lifejacket annual self inspection and maintenance:
All lifejackets should be inflated orally (or by hand pump to avoid moisture build up inside the jacket), and left inflated for 24 hours to ensure they remain fully inflated and firm. Check webbing, stitching, reflective tape, buckles, D-rings, for wear or damage. Check the construction fabric, particularly on folds and corners for wear or damage. Check all additions such as whistles, lights, crotch straps, are serviceable and securely fastened. If the jacket is fitted with a light, check its operation and that the battery is in date. Some lights are salt water activated and must be replaced if they have been activated.
Any lifejacket requiring repacking should be repacked as per the manufacturers folding instructions. The lifejacket should be fully inspected as part of the repacking process. If repacking after CO2 inflation, it will require rearming. When rearming ensure the CO2 cylinder net weight matches the weight marked on the jacket (typically 33gm for 150 Newton vests). Arming a lifejacket with a cylinder that is a higher net weight than the lifejacket specification, could cause the air bladder to burst under inflation. When weighing the CO2 cylinder, check against the gross weight stamped on the cylinder (typically around 150 Gram) to insure the stamped and measured weight are within a 2 Grams validating no gas has escaped. Always visually inspect the screw end of the cylinder to insure it has not previously been pierced by firing. Do NOT lubricate the cylinder thread it must be dry and screwed back in hand tight to insure it does not work loose when the lifejacket is being worn.
When not in use, lifejackets should be stored in a dry, well-aired area. To extend their service life, out of season the life jacket should be opened up, partially inflated (to remove folds) and stored on a non metal coat hanger away from any sunlight.
For Category 1 and 2 races, at least one spare lifejacket and at least one spare cylinder are required. See Special Regulations 5.01 for Lifejackets requirements.