If you need a survival suit, then you can’t afford to get it wrong, as it really could be a matter of life and death.
Here’s what you need to consider if you’re buying a survival suit.
1. It’s essential that the survival suit you choose meets the relevant standards for your industry. You might need it to be flameproof for example, or keep you buoyant for a certain amount of time.
2. You’ll want to make sure that there is enough buoyancy to keep you floating. You won’t want to risk being submerged in an icy cold sea.
3. You’ll also need additional thermal properties to keep you warm in the water. Depending on what happened, you might be in the water for several hours. Staying warm will increase your chances of survival.
4. You’ll also want to look for useful features that will make staying alive and being visible easier. You’ll want a buddy line so that you can connect to others in the sea so that nobody gets lost, or dragged under. A lifting strap is useful for when you are finally rescued. An emergency light and reflective strips are useful so you can easily be identified and can communicate with others who are with you. Having an integrated safety harness can help your rescuers to winch you to safety.
5. You’ll need to make sure that the suit you choose has insulated gloves and booties and a hood to keep you warm, and to reduce the risks of frostbite and hypothermia.
6. Some survival suits are fitted with Emergency Re Breathing System – ERBS, which allows exhaled breath to be recycled so that you can still breathe under water if you are submerged for a short time. This could be a life saver if the sea is rough.
7. An emergency locator beacon is essential, so that you can be found. Some immersion suits will have one built in, but it’s a good idea to have a separate one too, as you don’t know how long you will be in the water for.
8. You’ll definitely want to ensure that your survival suit has the right certification and approval from relevant regulatory bodies. This will give you the peace of mind that your immersion suit will meet your needs, and that it will offer the protection you need should you need to use it
9. Even though you hope never to use it, you’ll want to make sure that you can put your survival suit on quickly and easily. You’ll want to practice so that it becomes almost second nature.
10. The performance and ease of use of your survival suit are much more important than cost. If your current survival suit doesn’t meet your needs, is damaged, or needs replacing, then you don’t have the right one, and you’ll need a new one. You can’t risk your life, or the life of your staff or colleagues with a damaged or worn out immersion suit.