IMCA’s attention has been drawn to a number of cases of life jacket failure. In recent months a contractor found that at least seven life jackets had failed for the same reason. Some of these jackets failed on their first annual test and inspection. The failure was due to a hole in the bladder and the hole is in the same place in each case.
The manufacturer informed their buyer that the damage was due to pressure applied to the front of the jacket when in use. This was causing the folded bladder to press up against the ‘Hammar’ automatic inflation device within the jacket, which in turn was causing damage to the bladder. The manufacturer is now fitting rubber covers to the automatic inflation device.
Members are encouraged to carry out a spot check and close examination of all life jackets fitted with automatic inflation devices and assess if any damage is occurring.
Consideration may be given to returning the jackets to a service station and requesting the rubber cap be fitted in addition to a service which includes an inflation test.
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