In a crisis, you could be forced to abandon ship – and an immersion suit could be the key to your survival. These “survival suits” are designed to help sailors and other seamen endure the waters while they await rescue.
A 2020 tragedy involving a fishing boat, however, illustrates what can happen if the survival suits are in poor repair. Of the three people who went into the water, only one who made it to a lifeboat survived.
How do you know if your survival suits are seaworthy?
When it comes to immersion suit safety, here are some things to regularly check:
- Check for a proper fit: Ensure that the immersion suit fits you well. It should be snug but not excessively tight, allowing you to move comfortably while maintaining thermal insulation.
- Regularly look for damage: Regularly conduct a thorough inspection of your immersion suit to check for any signs of damage, such as tears, holes or broken zippers. Ensure that all closures and fastenings are in good working condition.
- Familiarize yourself with the suit’s use: Read the user manual and understand the proper way to wear the immersion suit. This knowledge will be crucial in an emergency situation when you don’t have a lot of time to learn anything new.
- Practice donning the suit: Practice makes perfect, so remove any sharp objects on your person (since they could cut the material) and put on the immersion suit to familiarize yourself with the process. When seconds and minutes are important, that familiarity will come in handy.
- Know how to seal the suit: Ensure that all the openings of the immersion suit, such as the neck, wrists and ankles, are tightly secured. This prevents water from entering the suit, maintaining its thermal properties.
- Maintain proper storage procedures: Storing it in a cool, dry place will preserve the life of the suit longer – and preserve yours when you need it. Avoid exposure to direct sunlight or extreme temperatures that could degrade the materials.
Remember, immersion suits are essential safety equipment for activities in cold water environments, so it’s crucial to follow the manufacturer’s instructions and maintain them properly.
If you are injured in a seafaring accident, compensation may be available to you. Learning more about your legal options can help.