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Life Jacket Study for Boaters with Adaptive Needs - Timothea Larr

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Timothea Larr, U.S. Sailing

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Life Jacket Study for Boaters with Adaptive Needs - Timothea Larr

  1. 1. Life Jacket & Rescue Study for Boaters with Adaptive Needs Conducted by: C. Thomas Clagett, Jr. Memorial Clinic & Regatta Partnering Organizations: American Canoe Association, USRowing, US Sailing Study Grant Funded by: Bonnell Cove Foundation
  2. 2. Purpose of Study • Test & evaluate life jackets • Identify desirable performance considerations • Share findings with manufacturers to improve  design (fit, adjustment, comfort, usability)  performance • Test retrieval rescue equipment  backboard, life jacket lift, parbuckle net, sit-in net 2The Clagett
  3. 3. Phase 1 – Survey Monkey • Responders Profile o West coast, midwest, east coast, Canada, France, UK o 62% male; 38% female o 13% 19-30 years, 46% 31-50 years, 39% 51 years + o 93% could swim; 7% could not swim • Watersports Participation o 30% one watersport o 35% two watersports o 35 three or more watersports o 74% kayak, 48% swim, 44% sail, 32% canoe, 19% SUP, 10% row 3The Clagett
  4. 4. Phase 1 – Survey Monkey • Life Jacket Information o Types of life jackets 75% USCG approved 92% non-inflatables 26% inflatable 8% only inflatables 15% both non-inflatable & inflatable 7% used crotch straps o 64% fallen in water wearing life jacket o 67% quickly floated face-up o 26% took effort to turn face-up o 7% unable to turn face-up o 22% rescued wearing life jacket 4The Clagett
  5. 5. Phase 1 – Survey Monkey • Problems (frequently mentioned) o Ride-up o Neck chafing o Choking o Fit problems with pear-shaped, women, short people o Too bulky • Suggestions for Improvement o Design & fit o Straps – cinching, shoulder o Buckles, zippers o Head 6 inches above water for neck breathers 5The Clagett
  6. 6. Phase 2 – Pool & Open Water Testing • Test Venues o Newport, RI o Lake George, NY o St Petersburg, FL • 104 Tests in Pool • 92 Tests in Open Water • 29 Life Jackets Tested o Type I Offshore o Type II Near-shore o Vest-type flotation aids (incl. two 50-Newtons vests) o Inflatables • 15 Testers o 13 Adaptive Testers o 2 Able-bodied Testers 6The Clagett
  7. 7. Adaptive Testers • Range of Disabilities o cerebral palsy o Paraplegic T4/5 o Partial paraplegic T8 & below o MS/paraplegia T8 o Peripheral neuropathy o Parenthesis, weak life side o TBI, neuro muscular left side o Born amputee all four limbs o Bilateral above knee amputee o Above knee left amputee o Below knee right amputee o Below elbow right amputee The Clagett 7
  8. 8. Life Jacket Performance Factors Performance Fit & Comfort Flotation Level Static Stability Dynamic Stability Face- Down Rotation Life Jacket Lift Feeling Safe Visibility in Water 8The Clagett
  9. 9. Fit & Comfort • Putting on Life Jacket & Fit Adjustment o 22% testers problems putting on 41% of life jackets o 23% had difficulty tightening straps for good fit o 3% could not get straps tight enough for good fit o Problems & suggestions: zippers, straps, buckles • Ride-Up o Comfort affected (neck chafing, choking, back of head ride-up) o Flotation level of tester affected o Factors: pear-shape, fit, effectiveness of straps, use of leg/crotch straps The Clagett 9
  10. 10. Ride-Up Data The Clagett 10 0% 10% 20% 30% 40% 50% 60% 70% 80% 90% 100% %ofYesResponses When you were in the water, did the PFD rise up on your body? Type I Type II Type III Inflatable Vest Belt Pack 50 N
  11. 11. Ride-Up Data The Clagett 11 0% 10% 20% 30% 40% 50% 60% 70% 80% 90% 100% CM (7) CR (19) SS (13) TS (23) CW (23) SL (6) SM (4) MD (14) AA (10) WE (13) KH (13) RH (7) BK (16) LS (12) RT (15) %ofYesResponses When you were in the water, did the PFD rise up on your body?
  12. 12. Flotation Level • Performance Factors o Buoyancy of life jacket (e.g., 50N, 70N, 120N) o Ride-up o Muscle mass vs. fat mass o Life jacket design 12The Clagett 50 N (11 lbs.) 120N (26.3 lbs.)
  13. 13. Flotation Level – Open Water The Clagett 13 50 N (11 lbs.) Wave Action 70 N (15.5 lbs.) Wave Action
  14. 14. Flotation Level Comparison 50 Newton (11 lbs.) Life Jacket 115 Newton (25 lbs.) Life Jackets The Clagett 14 At Chin 35% At Shoulders 43% 1-3" Below Shoulders 22% At Chin 5% At Shoulders 38% 1-3" Below Shoulders 33% 4+“ Below Shoulders 24%
  15. 15. Static Stability • Stability in Pool o 85% testers face up or vertical o 14% testers face down o 1% sideways • Stability in Open Water o 83% testers face up or vertical o 17% testers face down 15The Clagett
  16. 16. Dynamic Stability • Stability in Pool o 98% testers face up or vertical o 2% testers face down • Stability in Open Water o 96% testers face up or vertical o 4% testers face down 16The Clagett
  17. 17. Face-Down Rotation • Rotation in Pool & Open Water o 5 % Unable to turn o 16 % Head turn o 65 % Head & arms o 5 % Torso turn o 9 % Life jacket turn 17The Clagett 5 % 16 % 65 %
  18. 18. Life Jacket Lift • Quick PIW retrieval method • Low freeboard & stable boats (power, sail) • PIW weight & lifter strength • Shoulder straps design 18The Clagett
  19. 19. Feeling Safe in Water The Clagett 19 0% 10% 20% 30% 40% 50% 60% 70% 80% 90% 100% %ofYesResponses Did you feel safe in the water wearing the PFD? Type I Type II Type III Inflatable Vest Belt Pack 50 N
  20. 20. Visibility in Water • Fatal accidents o Powerboat operators o Low flotation in water o Black tops & straps • Recommendations o Bright colored tops & straps o Reflective strips, florescent on tops & straps The Clagett 20
  21. 21. Overall Take-Aways • Many existing life jackets suitable for adaptive boaters with minor improvements • Importance of model selection & proper fit • Leg/crotch straps • Need for more awareness & education about selection, fit, maintenance • “Try before you buy” – in the water • Life jacket certification – include adaptive boaters in testing The Clagett 21

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