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My Deckvest label states 150N buoyancy, yet the packaging states 170N?

The Deckvest VITO, Deckvest 6D, Deckvest LITE and LITE+ (and discontinued Deckvest 5D) are tested to a standard of 150N - the minimum buoyancy of the category - and we are required to state this on the label. They have an actual buoyancy of 170N. 

Should I buy a 170N or a 275N Deckvest?

170N is the accepted standard for recreational sailing. It is a comfortable, wearable size that is not too intrusive and it provides significant buoyancy when in the water.

The 275N provides significantly more buoyancy so is suitable for situations where additional weight might be carried, i.e. tools, steel toecap boots, etc.  Remember additional buoyancy and size is not always an advantage as it is heavier to wear and harder to use in the water, i.e. if entering a life raft, etc.

The Volvo Ocean Race sailors helped in the design and development of their lifejacket harness for the 2017/18 race and chose to wear 170N. The Clipper Race also chose the 170N Deckvest VITO for their sailors.

What size Deckvest should I buy?

Deckvest VITO, Deckvest 6D, Deckvest LITE, Deckvest LITE+ are available in one size. See here for size guides. 

The Deckvest CENTO is one size, specifically for junior users aged 8 to 15 years old weighing from 20-50kg. 

The Deckvest 5D (discontinued) is available in 3 sizes. See here for size guides. The size 2 Deckvest will fit the majority of customers – around 85 % of our Deckvest sales are a Size 2.

What is the difference between a 6D and VITO?

The Deckvest VITO was developed using all the features, technology and development from the Volvo Ocean Race Deckvest, the trialled and tested VITO gives confidence and design innovation to benefit the sailor.

Comfort, Fit and Adjustment immediately stand out as key features. Easy to put on, easy to adjust to size and with a fully tailored fit, VITO feels lightweight and compact. 

The structured shape means the VITO doesn’t get tangled, can be put on quickly and easily, even in the dark. The VITO is fitted with the latest Spinlock Buckle System and a Coarse and Fine size adjustment ensuring a secure and comfortable fit every time it’s worn, even with cold, wet and tired hands. 

The Deckvest 6D is the original Spinlock lifejacket, available in 170N and 275N bladder sizes with a Pro Sensor Elite operation system. The Deckvest VITO has a Hammar operating system and is 170N of buoyancy.

Read our handy lifejacket comparison chart here.

The VITO article here.

What is the difference between Deckvest 6D and LITE?

The Deckvest 6D is a high specification lifejacket with integrated deck harness. It comes fitted as standard with features such as Pylon and Lume-On lights and a Sprayhood which makes it suitable for offshore sailing.

The Deckvest LITE is an ultra-lightweight lifejacket which may be used for a wide variety of applications, from inshore sailing, RIB, powerboat, fishing, kayaking, paddleboarding and more. 

The Deckvest LITE+ is an ultra-lightweight lifejacket with the same design as the Deckvest LITE, however, it has the added security of a soft loop harness. 

You may add to the LITE and LITE+ many additional features depending on the application; including Sprayhood, Pylon™ lifejacket light, Lume-On™ bladder illumination lights. You can also convert this product easily to manual only operation if required. 

Does the the Deckvest LITE have a integrated deck harness?

The Deckvest LITE has no integrated deck harness. The Deckvest LITE+ is an update to the popular LITE with an added Deck Harness.

For an offshore lifejacket with harness see the Deckvest 6D.

For a deck harness only, see Deck-Pro.

Can I wear the Deckvest LITE+ on an Atlantic crossing?

You could technically wear a Deckvest LITE+ on an Atlantic crossing as the Deckvest LITE+ is a 170N lifejacket with integrated harness, however it does not come fitted with any accessories. These accessories would be vital during an Atlantic crossing.

The following accessories are fitted as standard to our offshore lifejacket harness the Deckvest 6D; as well as a whole host of other features e.g. double crotch strap and visible activation window.

•  Sprayhood
•  Pylon approved lifejacket light
•  Lume-On bladder illumination lights

The Deckvest 6D 170N and the Deckvest LITE+ both contain a 170N bladder and are tested to the same standards; CE Approved, ISO 12402-3 Lifejacket (170N) and ISO 12401 Deck Harness.

You can add the accessories to the Deckvest LITE+ but at which point this would cost the same as the 6D. You may also find the 6D more comfortable, we find offshore sailors prefer the rugged fit of the 6D as it has been designed for offshore sailing vs the LITE+ which was designed with inshore sailors in mind, who may occasionally require the added security of a harness.

How do you to fit the thigh straps or order replacements

There are fitting videos on our YouTube channel and replacements can be ordered through your local store or online.

Choosing between the Hammar Hydrostatic or UML Pro Sensor Elite inflation system

Both inflation systems are very effective but are suitable for different situations. In general, the Hammar system is better suited to very wet conditions as it relies on water pressure to activate.

The UML system is easier to service and parts are more readily available around the world. They are also very resistant to wet conditions - check out the “How Water Sensitive is a Deckvest Pro Sensor 170N Lifejacket?" video.

For more inflation system information see Lifejacket Inflation Systems Explained.

Can I convert my UML Pro Sensor Elite inflation system to Hammar Hydrostatic inflation and vice versa?

No. Unfortunately you cannot do this because they are very different units.

See here for more information on Inflation Systems.

When does the CO2 cylinder expire?

CO2 cylinders do not have an expiry date. We recommend if there is any corrosion on the cylinder it is replaced as this may indicate leakage and the corrosion can damage the bladder fabric. CO2 Bottles can also be weighed to check for leakage, the correct net weight is written on the cylinder.  

When does the UML Pro Sensor ELITE inflator expire?

The expiry date is printed on the firing head unit, this date usually allows 3 years from date of purchase

When does the Hammar Hydrostatic Inflator expire?

The Hammar inflation expiry date is printed on the unit. 

Which re-arming kit do I need, and how do I fit it?

The product pages specify the part number of the re-arming kit that you will need for you Deckvest lifejacket. The UML re-arming kit fits both the Deckvest Pro Sensor and Deckvest LITE lifejackets. Instructions for fitting can be found on the product packaging and in the Spinlock videos.

I find my Deckvest is uncomfortable, have I fitted it correctly?

Correctly fitting and adjusting your Deckvest is key to its comfort. The Spinlock range of lifejackets are designed to be incredibly comfortable and lightweight so they can be worn for extended periods of time. 

Ensure both waist and back adjustment have been used (if applicable). Typically, Deckvest lifejacket should sit higher up the body, the front almost in line with the sternum, and the top should shape and fit around the shoulder, not sitting on the neck. Please see the Spinlock videos to ensure you have it correctly fitted.

Servicing: Where, How, When?

The Deckvest is designed to be easily check and maintained by yourself. Follow the videos online for basic and more detailed checks. 

We recommend that you check your Deckvest at least once a season and before any long passages.  If you would rather a professional looked over it then there is a list of approved Deckvest service centres here.

Servicing your Deckvest Lifejacket

It is recommended that you carry out a complete self-inspection annually, checking:

a.  The outer cover fabric: for cuts, tears, abrasion and damage caused by heat, chemicals etc.

b.  The lifejacket bladder: check for leaks by inflating your lifejacket through the oral tube until firm and leave for 24hrs. Any loss of firmness indicates leakage and means it is unsafe. To check the oral valve, fully inflate the lifejacket and hold the tube under water. If bubbles appear, deflate and re-inflate to test.  If a leak persists, do not use your lifejacket until it has been professionally serviced at your nearest service centre.

c.  The components: remove and inspect all components for signs of damage or contamination.  For example, ensure the CO2 cylinder is screwed in tight and the activation head also screwed tight.

We recommend a professional service at a service centre every two years. If you would prefer to use a Spinlock approved service centre these are listed in the Service Centre locator section of our website.

Can the bladder be repaired or replaced?

We do not recommend that a punctured bladder is repaired. However, if your Deckvest has the “button in” attachment on the lifejacket then we can supply a replacement bladder for you to fit. 

I’ve broken my zip, can it be fixed?

The zips on the Deckvest are plastic to ensure they do not corrode. However, they can break if they are snagged or forced. It is possible to replace the slides. Please contact us for spares and instructions.

The elastics on my Mast Pro Harness have worn out.

Non-skid decks and salt water can take a toll on elastics. Replacement leg strap elastics are available here.

Can I fit a new battery to my Pylon Lifejacket light or Lume-On lights?

Pylon light batteries may expire prematurely if stored in damp areas causing the light to activate unintendedly. The Pylon light batteries cannot be replaced as it is a watertight unit. 

The Lume-On light batteries also cannot be replaced as they are sealed, watertight units.

Can I clean contaminants from my Deckvest?

Paint, oils and chemicals can quickly damage the bladder of the lifejacket and we advise replacing the cover if it encounters contaminants. Use of harsh cleaning products may cause greater damage to the Deckvest. We recommend the Pro-Tech cover to wear over the Deckvest if frequently working in dirty work environments. More information on our commercial products can be found here.

Can I fly with my Deckvest?

Although it is often raised as an issue at check in, International IATA regulations state that you can fly with two lifejackets and two re-arming kits as long as they are declared at check in. See Flying with your Deckvest for more information and to download our document to show your airline.

When does the Warranty period start and what is covered.

The 5 year (if registered with TLS) warranty period starts from when you purchase the Deckvest. See Warranty for more details.

How many years service can I expect from my lifejacket?

Spinlock offer a 5 year warranty on our leisure inflatable lifejackets. Spinlock do not offer a service of lifejackets over 10 years old and this is common to most service centres. At this age it becomes very difficult to guarantee the durability of all of the fabric and strong parts.  If you feel that your Deckvest Lifejacket has had very little use, then you are able to inspect and self service the lifejacket yourself in order to extend its life, but this is completed at your own risk.

Are the Deckvest VITO, 6D, LITE, LITE+ and CENTO approved to SOLAS?

No – SOLAS is a commercial standard for abandonment lifejackets. The Deckvest is tested to the International ISO12402 standard that covers wearable lifejacketsSpinlock have launched a Deckvest SOLAS 275 Twin Chamber lifejacket which is designed for commercial use.

Manufacturing Dates

There are several dates printed on the Deckvest. The date on the inside label shows which quarter of which year the lifejacket was completed. Harnesses are often made in large batches earlier whilst firing caps are added at a later date than this to ensure that they reach the stores with the maximum lifetime on them.

Lifejacket vs Buoyancy Aid

Buoyancy aids (also known as PFDs - Personal Flotation Devices) assist with buoyancy, you must be a competent swimmer as they only aid you in the water. 

Lifejackets are tested to a standard which requires that the lifejacket turns an unconscious casualty over to allow them to breathe.

ALTO, Aero-ProWING & FOIL are all Buoyancy Aids.

Is the Deckvest 6D Lifejacket Harness USCG Approved ?

The Deckvest 6D Lifejacket Harness is approved to the International ISO12402 standard for lifejacket design and manufacturer.

The USCG Approval is different and whilst the Deckvest 6D Lifejacket Harness exceeds this standard many of the great features of the Deckvest 6D Lifejacket Harness would need to be removed to meet the USCG Standard.

Spinlock sells many thousands of Deckvest 6D Lifejacket Harness in the USA every year to customers who want to enjoy the design, comfort and features of the lifejacket, a lifejacket approved to the ISO12402 Standard, who then carry old or basic USCG lifejackets to meet local carriage requirements.