There are a number of situations you never want to be in at sea. The most severe involve survival suits, those reddish-orange neoprene numbers colloquially referred to as gumby suits. The premise of the suit is simple: a one-piece, insulated, full-body floatation device that keeps you alive until rescuers find you, no matter the temperature (well, almost). Because of its buoyancy, an immersion suit should be donned only when you’re topside and prepared to jump into the water. Everyone in your crew should practice both putting them on and then swimming around in them at least once, as both can be tricky for the uninitiated. (Only swim in a safe place under proper supervision.)
The Imperial Immersion Suit from Revere Supply of Jacksonville, Florida, is a typical model. It’s SOLAS-certified and comes with the requisite reflective tape, self-inflatable air bladder, whistle, and palm grips. The particular model I’m shown wearing has a hood but lacks a facemask, which is a handy thing to keep salt spray out of your eyes.
Getting into it was relatively easy, and though the zipper was a little stiff (on purpose), there is a handle at its base to give you a good grip. As for the insulation, I broke a light sweat just walking around the office.
Be sure to maintain your suit (beeswax is recommended for lubricating the zipper) and check all the seams and stitching every few months. Store it in a cool, dry place to avoid degrading the neoprene. This suit retails for around $285.
Revere Supply, (904) 786-0033.
Things We Like
Believe it or not, summer’s just around the corner, so now’s a great time to prepare for the heat. Frigid-Rigid’s new marine ice chest is an excellent addition for anyone who’s short on chillin’ space. The fiberglass cooler has a “set-back” design so you can push it up against your boat’s transom or console seat and the hinges won’t get in the way. The cooler is built for tough marine environments and best of all, comes in nine sizes.
Frigid-Rigid, (800) 643-1988.
This article originally appeared in the March 2009 issue of Power & Motoryacht magazine.