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Lifeline VS. Other USCG Approved Vests

OldSchoolBoats

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So......been looking at getting a couple Lifeline's for the wife and I. Pretty eye opening prices for these things!! That's brings me to my next question.

What is the difference between Lifeline and any other Coast Guard approved vest???

I have a couple really nice neoprene vests already that seem to do the job.

So what is the magic material these things are made of??

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69hondo

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If I remember correctly LifeLine vests are not coast guard approved. Obviously better than anything off the shelf but just telling you that for the lake LEO occasions.
 

Ragged Edge

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They are a racing jacket and built to absorb impact if you get ejected from the boat and to float you face up. As others have said not USCG approved.
 

ToMorrow44

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So......been looking at getting a couple Lifeline's for the wife and I. Pretty eye opening prices for these things!! That's brings me to my next question.

What is the difference between Lifeline and any other Coast Guard approved vest???

I have a couple really nice neoprene vests already that seem to do the job.

So what is the magic material these things are made of??

Sent from my SM-N960U using Tapatalk
The main thing is they’re designed to stay on you at high speed and float you face up if you get knocked unconscious.
 

ONE-A-DAY

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There is a lot of logic around why lifelines are not CG approved, it’s a cost issue why they don’t do it, and I get it. They are all made to order and the volume they make each year won’t support the CG approval cost. Having wrecked a few boats and ended up in the water I would not trust anything else. Kent is a fanatic on improving the design and gets lots of feedback from racers who have survived because of them. A water ski vest will rip off if you impact the water at high speeds, that and they don’t have leg straps which is key to your safety.
 

Joker

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We bought 2 lifeline vests this year and wear them whenever I plan on doing a "speed" run or if we know were going to hit a lot of chop and have the possibility of going under. Very comfortable compared to a normal ski vest and I feel safer with it on.
 

Riverbottom

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Quality of construction, materials , impact material, leg straps, and years of development. Your neoprene vest probably won't stay on, or be torn to pieces at higher speeds. If this is for riding in your Howard a Lifeline is probably overkill.
For lack of skill on my part, mechanical failure, unforeseen water conditions etc. I have tested several different race vests over the years. You really want one on when you exit the boat at say 85 m.p.h. and above. When the wind is knocked out of you, or you get injured even a great swimmer can be in trouble. I tried my hardest to stay in the boat many years ago holding on to the steering wheel. I broke the column, and dislocated my shoulders. Try swimming with dislocated shoulders.
I wear my poker run vest for most recreational performance boating, and when I get in a fast flatbottom or ski race boat a few times a year I wear my Lifeline race jacket.

Stop by Lifeline in Parker and talk to Kent. He will give you a tour of the facility and show you the materials and construction techniques used. They are not that expensive if they save your life.
 
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OldSchoolBoats

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A don’t be cheap when it comes to your safety for fuks sake.
Definitely not trying to be cheap, just want to know the details as to why they are different compared to just a normal everyday vest.

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was thatguy

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I have a decent “regular” vest I wear in the Miller. I also wore it in the flatty and hydro when driving passengers. But I wore the lifeline, with ballistic shorts, when I wanted to wring it out alone.
 

bagged97taco

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My lifeline jacket is bad ass. Kent and the crew are first class. Well worth the money for my chute jacket, ballistic shorts and driving suit. If you have a fast boat I 100% recommend having one
 

ONE-A-DAY

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I have ballistic shorts as well, I have poker runs for my wife and I use the race jacket and shorts for racing or when I’m running solo north of 100. The race jacket has ballistic Kevlar in it if I recall correctly. A racer was killed when the impact sent water up his sphincter and severed his colon, he bled out in minutes.
 

GETBOATS

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I have ballistic shorts as well, I have poker runs for my wife and I use the race jacket and shorts for racing or when I’m running solo north of 100. The race jacket has ballistic Kevlar in it if I recall correctly. A racer was killed when the impact sent water up his sphincter and severed his colon, he bled out in minutes.
yes to all the above, ballistic shorts also, Kent knows and will fit you correctly. I've never owned anything else!!!!
 

LHC Kirby

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So.... how much are they ? (I'm sure The price varies on the size of person it’s designed for)
 

DWC

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I have ballistic shorts as well, I have poker runs for my wife and I use the race jacket and shorts for racing or when I’m running solo north of 100. The race jacket has ballistic Kevlar in it if I recall correctly. A racer was killed when the impact sent water up his sphincter and severed his colon, he bled out in minutes.
Needed those shorts for work today.
 

Yellowboat

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To get uscg approval is about 50k... every time you change something it needs to be done again. Even color changes, let alone a slightly different cut . I looked into it a few years back after being disappointed in throwables. I want to be able to make high quality ones that could be ordered to match your boat.
 

Riverbottom

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To get uscg approval is about 50k... every time you change something it needs to be done again. Even color changes, let alone a slightly different cut . I looked into it a few years back after being disappointed in throwables. I want to be able to make high quality ones that could be ordered to match your boat.
That was a pretty great idea. I bet you could have sold a lot of them.
 

twocents

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Just something to consider if you're going to custom order a Lifeline "pleasure/poker run" style jacket. In the event of a high speed boating mishap, the chances are very good that you (or your passengers) may not exit the boat cleanly (body parts -- kidneys, ribs, lungs, etc. tend to bang-around on hard surfaces like the dash, gunnels, steering wheel, etc. before landing in the water). It's relatively cheap insurance to have the jacket constructed with an extra layer or two of ballistic kevlar around the torso to prevent injuries.
 

LargeOrangeFont

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Just something to consider if you're going to custom order a Lifeline "pleasure/poker run" style jacket. In the event of a high speed boating mishap, the chances are very good that you (or your passengers) may not exit the boat cleanly (body parts -- kidneys, ribs, lungs, etc. tend to bang-around on hard surfaces like the dash, gunnels, steering wheel, etc. before landing in the water). It's relatively cheap insurance to have the jacket constructed with an extra layer or two of ballistic kevlar around the torso to prevent injuries.
True. My neighbor got banged up pretty good last year getting ejected from a customer’s Skater.
 

boat527

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I use 2 ( old) America's Cup 100mph vests..with leg straps

Not sure if they are made anymore

USCG approved

But.. I don't own a Skater ( or otherwise)

Have passed inspection at various races
 

RogerThat99

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At a minimum get the Mustang Survival vest with leg straps at West Marine. You need the leg straps and good buckles.

I saw a boat pitch everyone out while going 60-70 mph, and several people got their neopreme ski vests tore off when they hit the water.

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Boat 405

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A regular jacket can be $400, a complete shute jacket can be well over $1000. The important part of these jackets is they float you face up in case of loss of consciousness and the collar around the back of your neck to prevent of bucketing from the back.
 

CanyonLakeDave

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Years ago I bought Lifelines for the whole family. At the Sandbar one day and a guy goes..”man those are expensive vests for your kids...” what a dumb ass....like the price matters for safety.
 

LargeOrangeFont

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Years ago I bought Lifelines for the whole family. At the Sandbar one day and a guy goes..”man those are expensive vests for your kids...” what a dumb ass....like the price matters for safety.
Did you pull up in a pontoon bote? :)
 

Blue

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There is a lot of logic around why lifelines are not CG approved, it’s a cost issue why they don’t do it, and I get it. They are all made to order and the volume they make each year won’t support the CG approval cost. Having wrecked a few boats and ended up in the water I would not trust anything else. Kent is a fanatic on improving the design and gets lots of feedback from racers who have survived because of them. A water ski vest will rip off if you impact the water at high speeds, that and they don’t have leg straps which is key to your safety.
Yup I know first hand as well. Lifeline and their ballistic shorts are the shit and the reason I can still shit normal lol.
 

H20 Toie

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When i bought my first Cigarette boat i went to west marine and bought a couple packs of the vests in the blue bags that are coast guard approved , put them in the front of the boat and never thought of them again, i then went and bought 8 lifeline vests in different sizes and thats what was always worn, the only time i ever got pulled over and inspected we were all wearing the lifelines and even though they were not legal they never questioned them, now my flares being out of date was a different issue :(
 

zx14

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I use 2 ( old) America's Cup 100mph vests..with leg straps

Not sure if they are made anymore

USCG approved

But.. I don't own a Skater ( or otherwise)

Have passed inspection at various races
That’s what I have, big orange mofo, with leg straps, the problem is, we never put them on, shame on us.
 

sintax

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When does lifeline run that yearly sale? I regret not grabbing one during the last time I saw it. I'd like to pick up a regular vest.
 

BoatCop

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Good answers. Coast Guard approval requires several factors.

*Must be easy to put on. (Especially in the water) No more than 4 straps/buckles. (No "D" rings)
*Impervious (resistant) to sunlight, heat, oil, fuel, fumes, exhaust gases, etc.
*Standard sizes
*Meet impact standards
*Won't get waterlogged and lose buoyancy over considerable time in water/being wet

Testing costs upwards of $100,000 per model. Done by Underwriters Laboratories on contract from the Coast Guard

Their vests do not meet some of the factors above, due to use of natural materials and their fastening (strap) features. They're not going to be in the water, nor stored under the seat for lengthy periods, so the required elemental resistance standards wouldn't apply. They recommend that they be inspected regularly, and upon any significant impact.

Lifeline doesn't market, nor make vests, for the recreational boater. Plus their equipment is always evolving to make racing safer. It's not worth the testing costs, every time they make a modification.

As far as them being "accepted" by Law Enforcement or the Coast Guard, the law requires a suitable sized, wearable PFD for each person aboard. While I would have accepted a Lifeline, if it was being worn and fully strapped, we all now that there are a lot of "letter of the law" types out there. You could still be cited for not having sufficient CG Approved PFDs, even if you are wearing the far superior Lifeline.

I would recommend, if you're going to utilize Lifeline jackets, that you keep sufficient serviceable, proper sized USCG approved PFDs on board the boat to meet State and Federal requirements. If you can afford up to $1,000 for a Lifeline, you can shell out $10 or less for an approved PFD. I know it seems petty, but it could save a lot of headaches, time, and scrutiny by LE and the courts.
 

River Runnin

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I have suspender type!.... one CO2 w/cord, One Automatic....For Big Stuff!... Plus the orange bundle just because! ;)
 

SJP

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I have a lifeline sport for poker runs and performance boating. It is very comfortable if you have them make it vs just buying in a marine shop by size. Has held up for 6 + years.

I use an CO2 CG Type 5 Onyx 24 for ocean boating. I would wear this for lake boating under 70 MPH as it is very comfortable, low profile and lite. You do not notice this when you are wearing it.
 

Wicky

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To get uscg approval is about 50k... every time you change something it needs to be done again. Even color changes, let alone a slightly different cut . I looked into it a few years back after being disappointed in throwables. I want to be able to make high quality ones that could be ordered to match your boat.
Somebody needs to send this to Trump...he'll understand.
 

Boat 405

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Saw a guy at the track lose power in his boat. Spun out. Spit him out. Broke his neck and killed him. He was going about 60. He had a full Lifeline jacket , ballistic shorts and helmet on. Even your family day cruiser that goes 60 can be deadly if the conditions are right.
 

mash on it

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Saw a guy at the track lose power in his boat. Spun out. Spit him out. Broke his neck and killed him. He was going about 60. He had a full Lifeline jacket , ballistic shorts and helmet on. Even your family day cruiser that goes 60 can be deadly if the conditions are right.
Bucketing.

Sad but true.

Dan'l
 
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