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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

Conclusion

As the RNLI says, lifejackets are useless unless worn. I would add that they might also be useless if the wearer doesn’t know how a jacket works or if it isn’t serviced regularly or isn’t fitted correctly.

The bottom line is any lifejacket will hugely improve your chances of survival in cold water. But you can increase the odds further by buying one fitted with a sprayhood, crotch-straps and a light if you cruise at night.

If you buy one that is comfy to wear on board you are more likely to put it on. Buy one that is easy to repack and you are more likely to inspect it.

lifejacket group shotThe most comfortable on board was the budget buy Bluewave, but unless you are going to pay extra for all the additional bits its performance in the water will suffer.

The Seasafe iZip is a definite contender for top honours. It comes with all the right kit, is available in a multitude of designs, performed exceptionally well and was easy to rearm and repack.

The Viking is another good all-rounder that I would also be happy to have on board my boat, as was the Secumar.

Adding all these factors together, we came to one conclusion: get down to your local chandler’s and purchase a number of Ocean Safety Kru Sport Pros for you and your crew.

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