Stormy in waterStormy Lifejackets, Australia’s oldest and largest supplier of commercial and recreational personal floatation devices, has introduced new safety measures to safeguard their devices.

A detailed computer database system has been developed over the past 16 months to record the purchase and service history of every PFD garment the company has supplied to commercial and recreational operators over the past 10 years.

Stormy Lifejackets was established in Hobart 21 years ago by company principal Helen Moore following the near death of a family friend on the west coast of Tasmania.

The PFDs come in either manual or automatic inflatable collar for warm climates or a jacket designed to be worn to also keep out the cold and wet. When activated, a CO2 cylinder inflates a bladder to keep a person afloat in the water.

In 2011 the company received international recognition when its product was awarded full ISO 12402-3 rating as well as the Australian Standard 4758.1 and since then further research and development programs have produced maritime safety Lifejackets to be used by fire-fighters and welding teams on offshore and mainland oil and gas platforms, as well as many aquaculture projects around the world.

Occupational Health and Safety regulations in Australia require companies to keep their equipment in current certification to maximise the safety of workers and Stormy Lifejackets has now introduced a computer-generated reminder system to warn employers that the service life of the garment is about to expire.

Some State marine authorities in Australia also require recreational users to wear in-date PFDs, similar to current emergency flare and 406 EPIRB regulations.

Commercial owners must have their CO2 inflatable PFDs serviced every 12 months and recreational users are recommended to have theirs checked every two years.

It is also essential to make sure the correct CO2 gas cylinder is fitted to the lifejackets. Cylinder size ranges from 24 grams for a junior life vest to 60 grams for a premium 300N jacket. Fire-fighters, industrial and fishing industry workers require the highest rating buoyancy vests to keep them afloat due to the amount of weight of their work tools and apparatus.

“I don’t know of any other PFD manufacture who is providing this necessary and important information for their clients to ensure the safety of their work force. It is also important for recreational skippers make sure their lifejackets are in-date for the safety of themselves and their passengers,” said Stormy Lifejackets Managing Director Helen Moore.

“As leaders in the marine industry, we are always working on our R&D program to improve our product and service, and the progression into a global database network of Stormy PFDs assists our client base to protect the welfare of their workers. Plus our recreational users will be reminded that their inflatable jackets or collars may require attention.”     

Government agencies and company staff dealing with OH&S requirements can now go online and check their Stormy products and the same applies to recreational users.

New PFDs sold will have their manufacturing and ownership details recorded on the database and owners are able to print out a current in-service certificate to present to authorities on request. People who have purchased a Stormy PFD over the past 10 years can also go on the company’s website to register their product details and date of last service. 

Email messages will then be sent to owners notifying them of their pending service requirements. The website also lists Stormy service agents in all Australian states.

Another recent Stormy development is the introduction of the Swedish-designed Hammar hydrostatic valve in some PFDs which eliminates accidental inflation of water-activated lifejacket caused by sea spray, rain or humidity.

The automatic inflator will not activate until submerged 10 centimetres under water and the CO2 gas cylinder is located inside the lifejacket bladder to guard against corrosion.       

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