Very interesting considering our (yesterday) experience:
We have two Spinlock Deckvest lifejactets. We bought them in 2010. Since then they have lived under the salon
seat on our catamaran
. Very occassionally we actually wear them - night sailing mostly. Every year or two we open them up and service
them - replace the gas canister (which is invariably corroded on the outside), inflate the bladder, rinse off in fresh water
We just did another service
- and discovered that BOTH of them are now inoperable: The bladder of both has torn off its attachment to the vest/harness, so there is a huge hole there, and the plastic around the waist buckle has disintigrated. How did the bladders get ripped off the backing when the whole thing has remained packed up inside the zipped covering all the time?
Good thing we didn't fall in the water
the last time we went sailing.
This raises a couple of questions:
1) is 9 years a good/acceptable/bad lifespan for a lifejacket? How long would you expect your lifejacket (barely used) to last? Our closed-cell lifejackets don't have that weak point on them and a basically as good as new.
2) I guess we should be examining (pulling it out, inflating it, packing it back) the lifejacket before every outing?
I guess we need to replace them. Not sure what brand to go with though.