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Exclusive test: 10 of the best lifejackets tested to the max

We tested 10 of the best lifejackets on the market in a full-open water test to see how quickly they fire and how comfortable they are to wear

Secumar Ultra AX Plus

Secumar Ultra AX Plus - beforeFeatures

  • Crotch-strap: Yes (single)
  • Light: Yes
  • Sprayhood: Yes
  • Harness: Yes
  • Firing mechanism: Secumatic 4001S
  • Fastening mechanism: Seatbelt-style plastic and metal buckle
  • Price: €123.90
  • Rating: 4/5

Performance

The Secumar is a reasonably bulky jacket but feels rugged, almost commercial. The easy-to-use seatbelt buckle provided a secure fastening and was the easiest on test to use, according to Greg.

Adjustment was simple, with a single-side slider, and despite the bulk this wasn’t an intrusive jacket to wear around the boat and was very comfortable thanks to its fleece-lined collar.

In the water the Secumar took a full 15 seconds to inflate – initially we thought we had a failure on our hands. But once it had fired, the Ultra did its job and turned our casualty over.

Secumar Ultra AX Plus - after

In the water, the jacket held Greg’s head high with ease. The sprayhood fell to hand easily, was straightforward to put on and offered a good degree of protection.

Reflective panels were adequate, including a nice big one across the front of the sprayhood. This jacket also provided a clear window through which to check the status of the firing mechanism, with a manual over-ride tab should this be required.

Rearming

This jacket uses a salt pill that comes in a plastic carrier. Reinstallation is simple. A new bottle is fitted with a bayonet fitting rather than the ubiquitous screw-thread, which should prevent the problem of bottles working loose. Rearming kit: £20

Repacking

The bladder packed away easily into the cover, which was fixed by Velcro. The only snag was working out how the sprayhood packed away.

In the end, I just shoved it unceremoniously into the collar but it wasn’t right and marred an otherwise easy repacking experience.

Contact: Secumar UK

Tel: 01621 782078

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