Inflatable PFD Self Inspection Procedures
As the warmer weather approaches, it is important to ensure that your safety equipment is in proper working order ready for a summer at sea.
Life Jackets and Inflatable PFDs are a technical product that require a regular maintenance safety program. Australian law requires annual inspection regardless of whether they have been inflated or not. This can be performed by you, if done in accordance with the manufacturer's instructions.
Some manufacturers such as Burke Marine have their own set of instructions and self inspection certificate with a Step by Step guide for annual self inspection. Axis PFDs have a self service manual as well.
The annual inspection should begin 12 months from original date of purchase. We recommend that the date of purchase be recorded on the service maintenance schedule affixed to the inflation valve side of the PFD''s bladder as soon as you take it home.
When you purchase a life Jacket, it should come with instructions on how to care for it, but here is a basic guide:
1. Check the following for excessive wear, cracking, fraying or anything to indicate possible loss of strength:
- waist belts
- all fastening mechanisms and devices.
2. Check that:
- the gas cylinder is screwed in firmly
- the life jacket has not been activated
- there is no rust on the gas cylinder.
- Although CO2 tanks don't have an expiry date, it is important to ensure that they aren't damaged, corroded or leaking.
- You must Weigh your cylinder on either kitchen or letter scales The cylinders weight should correspond to MIN.GR.WT engraved on the cylinder +/- 2g. If this does not correspond, the cylinder needs to be replaced.
3. Manually inflate the life jacket by:
- opening the inflatable life jacket to expose the inflation tube
- inflate with dry air
- leave it inflated overnight
- check for loss of pressure the next day. If you believe there is leakage, contact the manufacturer immediately. If there is no obvious loss of pressure, deflate the inflatable life jacket by turning the cap upside down and holding the Topside (with the knob down) pressed into the inflation tube. This will open the one-way valve.
- make sure all the air is expelled and the life jacket is repacked correctly.
- On completion of your safety check you must record the date checked on the life Jacket, with indelible ink.
Remember that your PFD should be rinsed or washed with warm soapy water if it has been exposed to the salt of the sea and also make sure that you never store it wet.
If you have any questions or for more information on caring for your life Jackets and PFDs, contact CH Smith Marine in store or online.