Lifebuoy Equipment - FAQ
The range of Lifebuoy equipment can seem bewildering, so here's a quick guide to the most important things you need to know so that you can make the best choices for your particular needs.
Of all the enquiries we receive, at least 80% ask one of the following three questions! So the answers are below. If you need more detailed information on the products, please click the appropriate link:
Lifebuoys Rescue Lines Warning Signs Housings & Mountings
But: first things first ........
You MUST carry out your own careful assessment of the risks, and decide on the most appropriate and proportionate response in your particular circumstances.
In the UK, statistics show that the risk of drowning is twice that of dying in a fire. And it's important to bear in mind that the people who are most at risk are not necessarily the most obvious groups: the number of people drowning whilst fishing is nearly double that who drown whilst sailing, and the group at highest risk of drowning are people who just happen to be running or walking near water (and are therefore the most ill-prepared for the worst).
Top 3 FAQs
(1) What size Lifebuoy do I need? 24" or 30" ?
- The 30" is the more popular choice, and is often better for an adult because of its greater buoyancy as well as its physical size. This is especially true if the adults are fully-clothed (particularly in winter) or if they are in a work situation and are carrying tools etc.
- The 24" is quite suitable for adult use in other situations. It is also often used for indoor situations eg swimming pools, or where youngsters are likely to be involved.
- Remember that if the Lifebuoy is likely to be thrown by a youngster, you will need to consider their probable size and physical abilities. If they are old enough to act quickly and responsibly in an emergency, then they will almost certainly be able to throw a 24" Lifebuoy weighing under 2 kg, but this may not be the case for the larger and heavier 30" Lifebuoy.
- Note also that 24" and 30" are nominal sizes - the actual manufactured size is usually slightly smaller. Full details are given in the specifications for each product.
(2) How many Lifebuoys do I need?
Your Risk Assessment should have led you naturally to the answer on this already. The factors to be considered include:
- the physical size and shape of the water hazard, particularly its length or circumference
- how much of the water's edge is accessible, and how easy that access is: from the point of view both of people placing themselves at risk, and people using the equipment
- ensuring that the equipment is visible, prominent, and easily accessible by a rescuer
- what is reasonable and proportionate in the circumstances.
More guidance can be found here:
RNLI: Safety Advice
RNLI: Guide to Coastal Public Rescue Equipment
(3) Do I need a Rescue Line?
A Rescue Line is optional, but we strongly recommend it.
Again, this should be considered as part of your Risk Assessment, but it's very likely to be needed in order to:
- pull the casualty to safety
- retrieve the Lifebuoy if it needs to be thrown again (because it's landed too far from the casualty, or it's drifted with the current).
Need more help? For expert assistance with any technical / installation queries,
email us or phone +44 (0) 1202 657814
For more advice on safety issues generally, here are some helpful links: