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Buoyancy Ratings
Lifejackets are rated by their buoyancy which is measured in Newtons. For lifejackets, the ratings are 100N, 150N and 275N. 50N rated are more properly termed buoyancy aids and are not guaranteed to help you float face-up if unconscious. They should only be used in sheltered waters where help is near at hand.
100N are designed for use in sheltered, calm water. They are possibly not sufficient for someone who is not able to help themselves and crucially they may not have enough buoyancy to roll an unconscious person on to their back, especially if wearing heavy clothing.
150N rated lifejackets are for general use on coastal and inshore waters. They should turn an unconscious person on to their back and require no action by wearer to keep their face out of the water. As with 100N their effectiveness is lessened if heavy or waterproof clothing is worn. 190N jackets are included in this rating but have more buoyancy than the standard 150N.
275N for use offshore i.e. cruising, fishing or commercial users where extreme conditions and/or heavy protective clothing is being worn that can hamper the effectiveness of lower rated lifejackets.

Types of Inflation
Manually inflated jackets require a string or similar to be pulled to release CO2 and inflate the jacket.
An Automatic lifejacket has a pellet of a dissolvable substance that keeps a spring compressed. Water causes the pellet to dissolve and activate the gas canister inflating the jacket.
Hammar or Hydrostatic lifejackets work in a similar way to automatic lifejackets, but have a case or tube that protects the pellet. They only work when they have been fully submerged in water.
Both automatic and Hammar lifejackets also have a back-up manual firing system.
All lifejackets should have reflective tape on them that helps locate you with a search light.
Extra Features or Accessories to Consider
The following may be included with a life jacket or available from our life jacket accessories page
• Spray hoods help protect your head and more importantly your airways from water spray that can impede your breathing.
• Crotch straps keep a life jacket in position and stop it from slipping up and over your head.
• Flashing or strobe lights to aid you being found at night.
• Waterproof Flares. Orange smoke daytime or red night time flares.
• Built in harnesses to connect you to your craft and help avoid you falling over board.

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