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Life Jacket Sizing - Susan Balistreri


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Susan Balistreri - Balistreri Consulting, Inc.

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Life Jacket Sizing - Susan Balistreri

  1. 1. Life Jackets Sizing Susan Balistreri Balistreri Consulting, Inc. 5905 Caroline Drive Wesley Chapel, FL 33545 (813) 973-1616
  2. 2. Historical Evolution of Life Jackets. Original “Life Preserver” typically a wood plant, empty barrel or cork blocks used by Norwegian seamen. In 1852, carriage requirements for commercial ships; mandated life jackets be wearable with tight fit. • Wood plank replaced cork; granulated cork banned in 1857. • In 1902, Kapok introduced; discarded due to flammability, but gained popularity by 1918. • Ten years later balsa wood approved; light-weight; excellent inherent buoyancy.
  3. 3. In early 1900’s, only choice: Type I, Off-Shore Commercial device  For open, rough or remote water; slow rescue  Highly visible fabric with reflective tape  Turned most unconscious wearers face-up in water  Turning Momentum; could breathe & not ingest water  Unlikely to be worn for long periods of time
  4. 4. In 1940, USCG assesses recreational life jacket needs; life preserver design for shorter periods of time; not bulky, better wear: Type II Near Shore Buoyant Vest • Less buoyancy; less bulky; more comfortable • Good for calm, inland waters; good chance of fast rescue • Turns some unconscious wearers face-up in water; not always • Dependent on wearer’s body type and density
  5. 5. By 1964, it was agreed a more consumer responsive life jacket was needed. • Commercial Requirements too stringent. • All components prescribed in Code of Federal Regulations • Shape of product & foam, placement of foam prescribed in CFR • Stitching patterns, stitch type, box-x, T-tabs prescribed in CFR • No deviation from USCG CONSTRUCTION STANDARD
  6. 6. To develop a different standard, adult minimum buoyancy requirements and in-water performance characteristics would need to be validated • Contract DOT-CG-90511 A awarded to Arthur D. Little, Inc. • Study Funded by US Dept. of Commerce
  7. 7. “Buoyancy and Stability Characteristics of the Human Body and Personal Flotation Devices” • Most adults needed an extra seven (7) to twelve (12) pounds of buoyancy to keep their heads above. • Minimum buoyancy requirement 15.5 lbs. • Average dry weight of subject 165 lb., average height 5’10” • Extremities affected body’s center of gravity; center of buoyancy • Optimum performance contingent upon congruency of the wearer’s center or gravity and center of buoyancy in his body.
  8. 8. The introduction of the Type III Flotation Aid in 1973 was a revolutionary concept. For the first time in history, life jackets could be USCG approved as per a PERFORMANCE STANDARD, UL Standard 1123. Type III Approval enabled recreational life jackets to address an identified safety need or consumer preference or to be customized for participating in watersports activities.
  9. 9. TYPE V SPECIAL PURPOSE DEVICES. • Wind Surfing Harness/Vests • Pullover Vests • Ballistic Flotation Devices for marine law enforcement • White Water Rafting Vests
  10. 10. Impact of Federal and State Carriage Requirements. • PROPERLY SIZED life jackets for every person on a boat Impact of Federal and State Mandatory Wear Requirements. • PROPERLY SIZED AND WORN life jackets! WHO? WHAT? WHERE? WHEN? WHY?
  11. 11. Who…..Youth 50 US States and territories require kids Under 13 to wear; 3 stipulate higher ages. National Parks Service requires kids Under 13 to wear. United States Coast Guard requires kids Under 13 to wear. Australia requires kids less than 12 to wear when in a vessel less than 4.8 meters in length and when in an open are of a vessel less than 8 meter in length when underway. Ireland requires kids up to the age of 16 years old on all pleasure craft.
  12. 12. What…..Personal Watercraft [all ages] 56 US States and territories require operators and riders and those being towed by this type of vessel to wear a life jacket at all times. In New South Wales, Australia it is compulsory to wear a life jacket when riding a PWC. In Ireland, every person on a PWC or while being towed by a PWC is mandated to wear a lifejacket or personal flotation device.
  13. 13. What…..Non-Powered Watercraft For Illinois and Mississippi [Under 13], a life jacket must be worn for kayaks. 5 states require a life jacket be worn when on sailboards; 3 of these five states tie it to under 16 years of age.
  14. 14. For sailboats, canoes, kayaks and rafts, both New Mexico and Oregon require a life jacket be worn; In Pennsylvania ,this requirement is applicable to kids 12 and under only. Australia requires all occupants of a canoe or kayak on enclosed waters when more than 100 meters from shore and ocean waters wear a life jacket. Australia also requires a person kitesurfing alone more than 400 meters from shore must wear a life jacket; New South Wales requires a person kitesurfing or windsurfing, or those in canoes and kayaks alone more than 400 meters from shore must wear a life jacket.
  15. 15. What…..Tow-Behind Activities 44 US States and territories require a life jacket be worn for tow- behind activities. Australia requires all persons being towed to wear a life jacket. Ireland requires all persons being towed to wear a life jacket.
  16. 16. Where….. Hazardous conditions or specific locations • 4 states specify above and/or below a hydraulic dam. • 3 states specify any river in the state • 4 states target specific rivers instead of all rivers in their states
  17. 17. District of Columbia, Utah and Washington require mandatory wear for specific locations. Texas requires life jackets be worn on Lytle Lake for tow-behind activities. On Pittsburgh District US .Army Corp of Engineer lakes, everyone in boats under 16 feet including canoes and kayaks must wear a USCG Approved life jacket. Upper Delaware River [New Jersey and New York] Grand Canyon National Parks
  18. 18. When……Specific Time of Year New York requires owners and operators of pleasure craft less than 21 feet, including rowboats, canoes and kayaks wear a USCG approved life jacket between November 1st and May 1st.
  19. 19. When/What and Where….. Specific Time of year on Specific Vessels or in Specific Locations: Connecticut requires a life jacket be worn for all people on board a manually propelled vessel between October 1st and May 31st. Maine requires a life jacket be worn for anyone canoeing or kayaking on the Saco River between Hiram Dam and the Atlantic Ocean between January 1st and June 1st.
  20. 20. Maryland requires all persons aboard a vessel, raft or tube to wear a life jacket at all times when on the Upper Potomac River between November 15th and the following May 15th. Massachusetts requires a life jacket be worn for all on board a canoe or kayak between September 15th to May 15th. West Virginia requires all persons aboard a vessel, raft or tube to wear a life jacket at all times while on the Shenandoah River within the boundaries of West Virginia during the period beginning 12:01am each November 15 and ending at 12 midnight each succeeding May 15.
  21. 21. WHY….. Mandatory Wear Means….. …………………………CONTINUOUS WEAR Continuous Wear Means….. ……………………..…. ALL DAY WHILE UNDERWAY All Day While Underway Means….. …………………………ALWAYS COMFORTABLE Always Comfortable Means….. FIT FLOAT FIXED
  23. 23. • ANATOMICAL FIT ON WEARER Adult dual sizes have become larger than ever before offering not just L/XL and 2XL/3XL, but also 4XL/6XL. Dual chest size ranges can be minimally 6 inches to as high as 12 inches per size. Adult Super Large sizes of Model AK-1s are the rule now instead of being the exception. “Bubba” Fishing vests are very common.
  24. 24. FUTURE GOALS AND PROJECTS: A research project to identify how plus sized patterns were created for apparel, protective clothing, rainwear, wetsuits, drysuits and rashguards for adults, teens, and kids. Life Jacket Sizing that correlates with Women’s, Kids/Teens and Men’s King sized clothing.
  25. 25. • SUFFICIENT BUOYANCY ON WEARER Size of Life Jacket Minimum Buoyancy Adult Device for persons weighing more than 90 lbs. (41 kg) 15 lb. 8 oz. Youth-Adult for persons weighing more than 75 lb. (34 kg) and meets the performance and minimum requirements of both youth and adult devices within the size range specified on the device. 13 lb. 8 oz. Youth Large-Adult XX-Small for persons weighing at least 75 lb. (34 kg) but not more than 125 lb.(57 kg). It shall be designed for chest size ranges no larger than 33 inches (914mm) and meets the minimum performance requirements for both youth and adult devices within the size specified on the device. 13 lb. 8 oz. Youth Device for persons weighing not less than 50 lbs.(23kg) but not more than 90 lbs. (41 kg.) 11.0 lb.
  26. 26. Size of Life Jacket Minimum Buoyancy Child Device for persons weighing not less than30 lbs. (14 kg.) but not more than 50 lbs. (23 kg.) 7.0 lb. Infant/Child for a child weighing less than 50 lb. (23 kg.) 7.0 lb. Infant Device for a child weighing less than 30 lb. (14 kg) 7.0 lb. OR ## to ## lbs (kg) for a device marked INFANT that covers a weight range other than Less than 30 lbs. (14 kg) where the ## symbols are replaced by the actual range tested for the device in pounds and kilograms. The minimum weight ranges for such devices shall not be less than 7 lb. (3.2 kg)
  27. 27. It should be noted intrinsic buoyancy amounts for children including teens should be defined and quantified as soon as possible. Sizing Elements Infant Child Youth Teens Weight Ranges Under 30 lbs. 30-50 lbs. 50-90 lbs. UNKNOWN Chest Size Ranges N/A 23-25 inches 26-29 inches UNKNOWN Supplemental Min. Buoyancy 7.0 lb. 7.0 lb. 11.0 lbs. UNKNOWN Intrinsic Buoyancy UNKNOWN UNKNOWN UNKNOWN UNKNOWN AGE UNKNOWN UNKNOWN UNKNOWN 13-18 yrs of age
  28. 28. • The most obvious unknown is the lack of quantified anatomical data for teens for physical properties such as dry weight, chest sizes and minimum buoyancy amount. • As for quantified anatomical data for intrinsic buoyancy, no data exists for any of the sizes. • And finally age points for known child sizing have never been established either.
  29. 29. • IN-WATER STABILITY ON WEARER Life Jacket optimum performance is in-water stability. HOW TO ACHIEVE THAT? CONGRUENCY OF CENTER OF GRAVITY WITH CENTER OF BUOYANCY. An isolated subject during approval testing fails the jump test or ride-up test or inexplicably is placed face-down while being measured for body angle. A subject continues to bob in the water and cannot stabilize for measuring freeboard during approval testing.
  30. 30. When annual swim tests were conducted, frequently one out of the three required subjects would be considered a “failure” thus requiring an expanded sample base to be needed. And sometimes, even with three additional subjects, the same performance was observed. Occasionally when such “failures” were observed, the failed subject would be recalled and during the second test, the subject would pass. TODAY’s Adult no longer complies with Dr. Wylie’s profile [dry weight of 165 lb. with mean height of 5’10”], ANATOMICAL TESTING MUST BE REPEATED !!
  31. 31. DOT-CG-61241-A. The Development of a Child Sized Personal Flotation Device dated September 1, 1989. It has been noted that the younger, smaller children tend to float in a “vee” position with their feet and sometimes their knees and legs above the water surface. This flotation attitude invariably results in a higher degree of instability.
  32. 32. • Child rolling from side to side The greater the “vee” angle, the greater the instability and conversely, a straight body with the child’s feet below the surface is associated with good stability. The fact the legs come out of the water suggests excess buoyancy of the chest pads. It is noted that the chest pads are usually almost entirely out of the water. The instability is related to the subject rather than the device.  In 1995, UL received seven reports regarding children going face down in a PFD.  August 28, 1998 NBC Dateline Segment
  33. 33. PATH FORWARD Comprehensive anatomical study Determining intrinsic and supplemental buoyancy amounts on adults and non-adults with the goal of standardizing the fit and stability of a life jacket through congruency of the wearer’s center of gravity and center of buoyancy. For larger sized or obese life jacket consumers, an engineering formula must be created to “reduce supplemental buoyancy amounts to compensate for increased intrinsic buoyancy.
  34. 34. A research project to identify how plus sized patterns were created for apparel, protective clothing, rainwear, wetsuits, drysuits and rashguards for adults, teens, and kids. Sizing beyond chest size ranges created to correlate with Women’s and Kids/Teens Plus size clothing or King sized men’s apparel.