Regulations for life jackets for leisure boats
1. The PPE Directive, legal regulation for personal protective equipment (PPE)
For the production and sales of personal protective equipment (PPE), the European PPE Directive 89/686 / EC applies clear guidelines.
The standard for personal protective equipment has been in force since 1 July 1992. It has been implemented by the 8th Regulation to GPSG into German national law and granted a transitional period until 30 June 1995. Since 1 July 1995 personal protective equipment may be placed on the market within the EU only if they comply with the provisions of this Directive.
Life jackets for leisure boats are set out in Annex II, section 3.4 of this provision. They undergo an examination by a so-called Notified Body nominated by the EU member states in accordance with ISO 12402, which includes not only the function, but also the examination of all significant individual components such as films, fabrics, straps and fittings. In case the life jacket sample passes all tests it will be awarded with the CE-mark.
Please pay attention to the CE-mark on life jackets, because those products provide appropriate security.
2. ISO 12402, standard for life jackets
The standard DIN EN ISO 12402 consists of ten parts under the general title "Personal Flotation Devices" (PFD) covering life jackets and buoyancy aids.
DIN EN ISO 12402-2: This standard specifies the safety requirements for life jackets with a buoyancy of 275 N. This buoyancy level applies primarily for use in the offshore area under extreme conditions and for persons who carry additional weight and therefore need extra buoyancy. It is also intended for users who wear clothing in which air can accumulate thus impairing the ability of the life jacket to self-righten. These life jackets aim to ensure that the user is floating in an upright position, with mouth and nose above the water surface.
DIN EN ISO 12402-3: The standard specifies the safety requirements for life jackets with a buoyancy of 150 N. It si intended for general use by adults of average height and average weight for general use. A life jacket with 150 N turns an unconscious person to a safe floating position and there are no further activities of the user required to maintain this floating position.
DIN EN ISO 12402-4: This standard specifies the safety requirements for life jackets with a buoyancy of 100 N. It is intended for use by persons of average height and average weight in sheltered waters waiting for rescue and by swimmers in open waters. Life jackets of this buoyancy should not be used under severe conditions.
DIN EN ISO 12402-5: The standard specifies the safety requirements for swimming aids with a buoyancy of at least 50 N. These buoyancy aids are only intended for use by good swimmers in coastal areas or where help and rescue are guaranteed immediately. These buoyancy aids are comfortable to wear, but not suitable for severe conditions. It cannot be assumed that the user is supported safely over a prolonged period. The swimming aids do not have enough buoyancy to protect people who cannot help themselves, and require the active participation of the user.
DIN EN ISO 12402-7: Materials and components - Safety requirements and test method
DIN EN ISO 12402-9: This standard specifies the test methods for personal flotation devices. In addition to details of the sampling and conditioning as well as establishing criteria for the passing of a test numerous methods for testing the mechanical properties of the components and performance tests are included in the standard. In three appendices reference jackets for adults, children and infants are described for assessing the suitability of the life jackets for the category.