Which Danbouy?

Post by: TheYachtMarket News
27 January 2009

Bring able to clearly spot a man overboard, especially in dark conditions and rough weather, is essential. A horseshoe lifebelt is one of the most important pieces of safety equipment for any boat owner. Having a buoyancy device at hand for anyone in an overboard situation should be your top priority.

An essential device

Thinking that people shouldn't fall overboard because they are attached by a lifeline is foolish. The chances are high that a man overboard situation could happen, and if it's offshore or at night or when there are rough waves, the ability to locate the person is of the greatest importance.

This is when danbouys come into their own. A light is an essential device, but if the light is supported above the water, it will improve visibility and aid an efficient recovery. In the RYA Boat Safety Handbook it recommends that category A and B vessels should have a danbouy onboard. It's also a RORC and ORC requirement.

Being able to spot a man overboard is just one benefit of the danbouy. If you are the man in question, having surfaced, you will see the boat disappearing fast. Imagine the comforting sight of the danbouy flag telling you that your crew are returning to rescue you. Swimming to the danbouy would be the best course of action, and if you were without a life jacket, you would hopefully find a horseshoe lifebelt attached.

Which type?

There are two types of products on the market: rigid float and rod, or inflatable. Jimmy Green makes four rigid models designed to cover inshore, coastal, offshore and ocean use. Three of the models have telescopic rods for easier storage, and all carry a flag. The top two models can be fitted with a Plastimo light, activated by a magnetic switch. Plastimo are offering a new danbouy to replace the existing rigid model, launching very shortly. They also produce an inflatable buoy.

Inflatable danbouys come in a compact in a compact pushpit-mounted canister. The bouy is developed by detaching the canister from the holder and throwing it over the side. A light line attached to the holder then activates a CO2 cylinder which inflates the buoy. There are three models available in the UK: Plastimo, Jonbouy and Seago. The distributors of Jonbouy are due to replace the current Jonbouy, and Seago are in the process of reviewing their current model.

5 Top Tips

  • Always practice setting up your danbouy, and all your other lifesaving equipment, with your crew.There are many ways to deploy the flag, the most popular way is from a tube. Flake the fabric with concertina folds and a single wrap around the flag before it is inserted into the tube, ready to unfold.
  • If your danbouy is stored unextended, make sure it is fully extended when conditions demand.
  • With inflatable danbouys, always check them on a yearly basis. Weigh the gas cylinder, inflate the bouy manually to check for air tightness and check floating line for wear and UV degradation.
  • Always attach a drogue to the danbouy to limit drift.