Safety on water is of paramount importance, and wearing a lifejacket is a crucial element in preventing accidents. In the UAE, local regulations mandate the use of lifejackets for various water activities. This article will guide you through the different types of lifejackets, their features, and how to choose the right one for your activities in the UAE waters.
Types of Lifejackets
Lifejackets, also known as personal flotation devices, are categorized into three main types:
- Limited Buoyancy Devices: These provide limited buoyancy and are suitable for on-water activities where help is usually at hand, and a snug fitting is needed.
- Offshore Lifejackets: These are specifically made for boating and are commonly referred to as “offshore” lifejackets. They are designed to turn the wearer around so their face floats well clear of the water while a collar supports the head.
- Collarless Level 50 Lifejackets: These differ only in color from offshore lifejackets but are designed for activities where high visibility is important.
Choosing the Right Lifejacket
The choice of lifejacket depends on the activity and the water conditions:
- Watersports: A Level 50S lifejacket is suitable for watersports activities like waterskiing, wakeboarding, or using towed water toys in protected, smooth waters.
- Solo Activities: For solo activities in human- or wind-powered craft such as kayaks, stand-up paddleboards, and dinghies, a Level 50 lifejacket with high visibility is recommended.
- Powered Watercraft: For powered watercraft, including trailer sailers, a Level 100-plus lifejacket is recommended, especially in conditions of heightened risk such as night travel, fog, heavy rain, rough seas, or boating alone.
It is essential to consider local state or territory laws in the UAE, as there may be instances where wearing a lifejacket is mandatory.
Maintenance and Inspection
Regular maintenance and inspection of lifejackets are crucial for ensuring their effectiveness. Inflatable lifejackets require inspections every six months and annual servicing that includes weighing the gas cylinder used to inflate the jacket. Foam-filled jackets require a six-monthly inspection to ensure nothing is frayed or worn. Some lifejackets may need to be sent back to the manufacturer for service after a certain time, such as five years.
Choosing the right lifejacket is essential for ensuring safety during water activities. It is important to consider the type of activity, water conditions, and local regulations in the UAE when selecting a lifejacket. Regular maintenance and inspection are also crucial for ensuring the effectiveness of the lifejacket. Remember, wearing a lifejacket has never ruined a day out on the water, but it can certainly save a life.