This safety alert aims to raise awareness of the risks associated with the use of out of date, and dangerous, kapok filled lifejackets.
Kapok is a cotton-like fluff that is no longer used in lifejacket manufacture, because it naturally loses buoyancy over time and, if it gets wet, it will absorb water. Furthermore, the cotton straps rot over time, even if the lifejacket is not used, and will tear or break off the lifejacket when weight comes on it.
If one of these lifejackets has successfully been used in the past, it should still be replaced as soon as possible and destroyed, as it will have deteriorated and might not float now.
Even if these lifejackets are in their original packaging, have never been used and look in perfect condition, replace them and destroy them.
If your vessel has any kapok filled lifejackets, remove them from the vessel, destroy them and replace them with new lifejackets that meet the current standard. If you are not sure if your lifejackets are filled with kapok, ask your AMSA Accredited Marine Surveyor for assistance.