Which Lifejacket Auto-Inflator Should We Select?

In the last chapter in this Online Book, I discussed Phyllis and my lifejacket usage and our thinking behind it. As always, we got some great comments on other ways to use and think about lifejackets, and several people mentioned auto-inflation options.

I also wrote about the issues surrounding whether or not to fit an auto-inflator at all or whether to go with permanent-buoyancy jackets—none of this is by any means an open-and-shut case.

But assuming that we do decide to use auto-inflation jackets, the next question is, which of the two types should we choose?

  • Hydrostatic inflators from Hammar that trigger when the mechanism senses an increase in pressure as the wearer is immersed.
  • Dissolving-tablet inflators that do just as their name suggests when they get wet.

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John was born and brought up in Bermuda and started sailing as a child, racing locally and offshore before turning to cruising. He has sailed over 100,000 miles, most of it on his McCurdy & Rhodes 56, Morgan's Cloud, including eight ocean races to Bermuda, culminating in winning his class twice in the Newport Bermuda Race. He has skippered a series of voyages in the North Atlantic, the majority of which have been to the high latitudes. John has been helping others go voyaging by sharing his experience for twenty years, first in yachting magazines and, for the last 12 years, as co-editor/publisher of AAC.

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