What Size Lifebuoy Do I Need?

We're often asked by customers what size lifebuoy they need, and the simple answer is that there isn't a simple answer.

There are no regulations on the size of life rings for use as buoyancy aids, other than those laid out in the SOLAS convention: a maximum outer diameter of 800mm (31 1/2"), and a minimum inner diameter of 400mm (15 3/4").

So how should you choose?

There are three factors to consider when selecting the right water safety product:

  • How far and accurately can the product be thrown to a victim?
  • How easy is it to carry the product long distances before deployment, if necessary?
  • How much buoyancy will the product offer when it reaches them?

We offer three options of water rescue devices: a 750mm or 600mm lifebuoy, and the B-Line™ Water Safety Device.

A 750mm lifebuoy has a limited throwing range due to its size and weight. This product should ideally be used where there is a vertical drop that requires little throwing skill, such as a pier or harbour wall. The dimensions of the 750mm lifebuoy may make carrying it long distances prior to deployment an issue, so more buoys of this size may be required at various locations. The size of the 750mm lifebuoy gives it an advantage in buoyancy, and it may be able to support multiple rescuees at one time.

The 600mm lifebuoy could cover a throwing distance of up to 10-15 metres, but may not be particularly easy for a first time user to throw accurately. The 600mm buoys are easier to carry further distances than a 750mm buoy. Although smaller, the products buoyancy should support a single rescuee in the water for some time.

The B-Line™ Water Rescue Device has a throwing range of up to 15-30 metres and could be accurately deployed by most members of the public without specific training. Its compact design and light weight make it easy to transport long distances, and in many situations its range may make it the only suitable choice. The B-Line offers enough buoyancy for a rescuee to be slowly and carefully reeled to shore using its 31 metres of line, rather than allowing the rescuee to stay in the water for too long.

The final decision must be yours, and a risk assessment may identify a need for multiple types of equipment to suit the location. If you feel you need more support, we recommend contacting the RNLI, the National Water Safety Forum, or British Waterways.

If you'd like more information on our range of water rescue equipment, please call 1800 656 606, email enquiries@glasdon.ie, or use the Live Chat facility on this website.

11 April 2014