Wearing a crotch strap on a correctly fitted lifejacket improves lifejacket performance

Wearing a lifejacket when immersed in water should support the wearer, maintaining their airway clear of the water. It is proposed that a retention system would improve airway protection by improving retention of the lifejacket around the torso. Study one (n = 10) quantified the performance of lifejackets immediately following a step into water from height when a lifejacket was worn with a crotch strap (two different tightness) and without a crotch strap. Airway freeboard was improved when wearing a crotch strap (P < 0.05) compared with no crotch strap. Study two used a manikin to examine the performance of lifejackets with and without a crotch strap during 3-h exposures to waves. During exposure to waves, the time taken to aspirate the lethal dose of seawater for drowning was doubled when wearing a crotch strap compared with the no-crotch-strap conditions (P < 0.001). Therefore, wearing a crotch strap (functioning retention system) on a correctly fitted lifejacket improves airway protection following accidental immersion and prolonged wave exposure.

Source: Lunt H, White D, Long G, Tipton M. Ergonomics 2014.
http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/00140139.2014.914579 

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