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toll free USA
s t o r m
y s e a s F A Q s
Exactly how does
the Stormy Seas system work?
All of our flotation garments come with
a removable, replaceable, inflatable, U-shaped air chamber. This
chamber is secured between two layers of fabric so
you don't feel it from the inside and you don't see it
from the outside. To inflate with C02 , simply tear away
the left-breast pocket-like attachment on the outside of the
garment. This action punctures the C02 cylinder and instantly
inflates the chamber. The unique front pocket is designed to
protect the inflation mechanism from interference with anything,
including deck gear, which might cause it to inflate unintentionally.
Yet it allows you to quickly and easily inflate the chamber in
Can you inflate the
Yes, an oral inflation tube is provided under the breast pocket.
This mechanism functions as back-up. It also allows the integrity
of the chamber to be easily and periodically checked, blow up
the garment orally and set it in a corner for a few hours. This
oral mechanism is also used to deflate the air chamber. The air
chamber is removable from the garment, this allows the garment
to be washed conventionally. It also makes it possible for a
damaged or ruined air chamber to be replaced without the expense
of replacing the entire garment.
Do the Stormy Seas
inflatables keep the
wearer's head out
of the water?
Yes! Our tests have demonstrated that fully-inflated Stormy Seas
products will turn most adults from a face down position to a
vertical one-with nose and mouth clear of the water-in approximately
5 seconds. In the water, a Stormy Seas garment supports the wearer
by the arms-and like a plumb bob, pivots him to a near vertical
position. By keeping the upper arms tight to the body, both flotation
and heat retention are increased. Since everyone is built a little
differently, we recommend that everyone try his Stormy Seas jacket
in a pool to determine how it works for them.
Do any of the Stormy
Seas products come with water activated (automatic) inflators?
All of the 35 lb. systems have the option of a water-activated
valve. They can either be ordered that way-or due to recent modifications
in garment design, the end user can change the valve.
Just how does the
(automatic) valve work?
The most commonly used system relies upon a water-soluble chemical
"bobbin." This bobbin depends upon a heavy 90 lb. spring
which, when released, impacts the firing pin of the inflator
valve, which in turn causes the puncture of the CO2 cylinder
and the inflation of the air chamber.
It is important to note that the inventor of this technique in
"auto-inflation" cautions that this method is inherently
unstable due to the constant and relentless force of the 90 lb.
spring in combination with a chemical compound that is greatly
affected by temperature and humidity. These variables in reliability
have caused the "auto inflator" to inflate without
immersion in water. Even more dangerous, these environmental
variables can make the "bobbin" not water soluble-and
the "auto-inflator" does not inflate upon immersion
in water. The bottom line-the auto inflator is not a substitute
for common sense. The auto-inflator requires that you maintain
and store your equipment wisely. It also means that you'd best
not be surprised when your garment suddenly and unexpectedly
I noticed that Stormy
Seas uses a small sized C02 cylinder unlike other inflatables
of similar buoyancy.
That's right. In our standard 21 lb. system we use a 12 gram
cylinder while others use a 16 gram or larger cylinder. In our
35 lb. system we use a 16 gram cylinder while others use a 25
gram or larger cylinder. There is an important reason for this-the
overwhelming majority of inflatable lifejackets fold or pack
the inflatable into a sheath or case. These devices, by their
design, are relegated to only two possible configurations-fully
deflated or fully inflated. Therefore the cylinder must fully
inflate the chamber and can be achieved only by a large cylinder.
What makes Stormy Seas different is that the inflation chamber
is not folded but is laid flat within the garment. This important
difference in design means that the possible configurations,
and the performance spectrum, ranges from fully inflated to fully
deflated, and anywhere in between. To achieve this broad spectrum
of use, the cylinder must not over inflate the chamber to the
point of rupture. This flexibility, which is built into every
Stormy Seas garment, means that we must use a smaller cylinder.
What does all this
mean to the wearer?
Simply this-since our beginning, we have offered a tool for people
who understand and respect the environments in which they work
and play. To that end, Stormy Seas products are designed to allow
the wearer to tailor the use of his device to his immediate situation
or circumstance. Many like to wear the garment partially inflated.
For example, if you are going up on the foredeck to change a
head sail at night, before leaving the cockpit, put a few puffs
of air into the chamber. By doing this you are inherently buoyant
and if something does go wrong, you will float. Once floating,
a simple tug on the pocket ripcord fully inflates the air chamber.
It's really pretty simple.
What happens if I
don't partially inflate
the chamber, and then fall overboard?
Most accidents happen when you least expect them, so this is
a common occurrence. In this scenario, a sharp tug on the pocket
flap discharges the cylinder into the air chamber. A 12 gram
cylinder will discharge 14-16 lbs. of buoyancy. This is comparable
to a USCG approved type II or III life jacket that offers 15.5
lbs. of buoyancy. Stormy Seas garments are a tool- and this cylinder
discharge is adequate to place the wearer in control of the situation.
Nine times out of ten, an overboard victim is an active participant
in the rescue. He must be able to swim, climb, and help others
help him. If necessary, the simple addition of air through the
oral tube will top up the chamber to its maximum capacity of
21 lbs. The same is true of the 35 lb. chamber-the 16 gram cylinder
will discharge 19 to 23 lbs. of buoyancy into the chamber. This
is comparable to a USCG approved type I PFD with 22 lbs. of buoyancy.
Once again, the wearer is in control of the situation and can
if necessary, easily top off the chamber to its maximum of 35
People save their own lives; I know that very well. Our goal
is to offer an effective tool that helps the overboard victim
to help himself. By offering such a broad range of performance
in a simple, attractive, and wearable garment, I am confident
that our products provide a level of comfort and flexibility
not found elsewhere.
would you recommend I use my Stormy Seas garment with a sailing
Simply put your harness on over the jacket or vest. It is a common,
but untrue perception that the harness prohibits successful inflation
of the buoyancy chamber. Since the 16 gram cylinder does not
fully inflate the chamber, this is another benefit of our approach
to emergency buoyancy. The Stormy Seas garment does not need
to be the outer layer. By partially inflating upon cylinder discharge,
there is ample room for the wearer-and his partially inflated
Stormy Seas garment-underneath most popular sailing harness designs.
If you are unsure about this, I would encourage you to try it
What if I want to
use a cylinder which does
fully inflate my chamber, what size should I use?
If your situation is such that you need the Stormy Seas product
to operate in a narrow band of performance (either fully deflated
or fully inflated, and nowhere in-between) then the 21 lb. C02
cylinder size must not exceed 25 grams. For the 35 lb. system,
the cylinder size must not exceed 38 grams. If this is how you
choose to use your garment, you must make absolutely certain
that there is NO residual air in the chamber. By using a larger
cylinder, you have eliminated the inherent safety margin provided
by the smaller cylinder. If you choose to use your Stormy Seas
garment in this manner, YOU MUST experiment with the cylinder
prior to an emergency situation. An emergency is no time for
have any further questions regarding cylinder size, buoyancy,
or performance, please call our toll free number -- 1-800-323-7327.