PPE is, in general, becoming better fitting, easier to wear, reducing fatigue from discomfort, all helping the user to keep their mind on the job at hand. While making a transfer it is vital that PPE doesn't hinder a marine pilots movement, snag or is distractingly uncomfortable.
Spinlock revolutionised lifejacket design by creating life jackets that were not only highly effective when deployed in the water but also intended to be more like a piece of sports equipment rather than a traditional piece of PPE, with comfort, fit and mobility as important design factors.
In recent years Spinlock has seen a growing following from the Pilot community, recognised that lighter weight more mobile equipment can help a Pilot to be quicker on their feet and more sure-footed during the transfer process.
The Pilots product of choice tends to be the DURO+ 275N ISO approved jacket. Built with hard-wearing fabrics and fitted with a number of features, the DURO+ also looks like a piece of uniform, instantly creating a professional appearance when worn.
The life jacket closure is in the centre of the chest keeping the pectoral muscles clear allowing for fuller motion of the arms. The DURO+’s unique button opening system along with the soft loop deck harness keeps the front of the jacket flush and reduces the potential for snagging. The manual firing handle is neatly tucked away mid-chest for easy access but reducing the chance of catching and accidentally inflating the jacket.
Dual waist adjustment points are situated on the front of the jacket. This allows for quick and easy adjustment to a range of sizes and clothing changes along with a back adjustment to ensure close-fitting the jacket. This not only increases the performance of the jacket in the water but also to reduces any discomfort caused by rubbing and chafing during normal wear. An extra-wide crotch strap helps to reduce tangles when donning the product and again further improves fit and comfort.
The jacket utilises the Pro-Sensor Elite firing head, a water-activated inflator with 2 visible indicators for CO2 cylinder and firing cap status through the indicator window on the front of the jacket. On auto-deployment, the DURO+ 275N bladder will turn a casualty on to their back and hold them at a 45-degree angle in the water with the mouth clear above the surface. Spinlock uses Glowspot enhanced fabric for the DURO+ bladder which uses micro reflective particles laminated into the fabric to increase the visibility of the inflated lifejacket in the water.
As with all ISO approved life jackets the DURO+ has an oral inflation tube, whistle, SOLAS reflective tape and lifting strop which is mounted clearly visible on top of the bladder for simple and fast location and can be used with a davit system for winching aboard.
Recommended for Pilots is to fit the lifejacket with sprayhood, Pylon lifejacket light, Lume-On lifejacket illumination device and MOB 1 AIS locator beacon. A sprayhood helps prevent inhalation of saltwater spray from waves when in the water and reduces the risk of secondary drowning as well as helping keep the MOB calm when in the water.
Spinlock manufacture the unique Pylon life jacket light that deploys a SOLAS approved strobing light above the casualties heads increasing visibility to 360 degrees aiding in location. When combined with the unique Spinlock Lume-On illumination device which uses 2 strong LED lights fitted to the bladder material utilising the inflated bladder as a diffuser creating a large glowing target for any nearby vessels.
For Pilots, the Pilot boat is their nearest point of rescue if the worst happens. Having a life jacket fitted with an AIS locator beacon means the vessel can get a live position of the Pilot in the wheelhouse as well as from crew visual on deck, gaining vital time during a search and recovery situation.
Thankfully in almost all cases, a lifejacket is never deployed but it is worth remembering that a life jacket will NOT save your life. It is simply a tool, that gives you the casualty more time to survive in the water and reduces time to locate and recover your casualty.
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