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How to Choose a Spinlock Deckvest and Accessories

by Phil Anniss 16 Sep 09:00 PDT
Spinlock Vito in use © Ainhoa Sanchez / Volvo Ocean Race

Lifejacket pioneers Spinlock are renowned for their sleek, comfortable to wear, high-spec lifejackets. In a previous article, we introduced the full range of Deckvests and took a look at the features and benefits of each, but how do you chose the right one for your needs?

Which lifejacket is right for me?

When it comes to adult lifejackets, Spinlock Deckvests are one-size-fits-all due to their adjustable straps. The LITE, LITE+ and Vito are suitable for chest sizes 60cm - 145cm, whilst 6D can accommodate a chest size of up to 150cm. These lifejackets are suitable for anyone who weighs over 50kg.

Consequently, the main consideration when choosing which lifejacket to purchase is usage and application. Ask yourself: what type of sailing will I be doing?

Fair Weather Sailing - LITE & LITE+

For fair weather day sailors who are likely to stay in inshore & coastal waters and are unlikely to find themselves in rough sailing conditions, the LITE is a great choice. It is a lightweight, bare essentials lifejacket which can be complimented with a range of accessories and is popular with a variety of water sports enthusiasts and families.

For those wanting extra security, we recommend upgrading to the LITE+. The LITE+ has the certified strength to act as a deck harness, featuring a soft hook for attachment to a lifeline. In this instance, the wearer would remain attached to the boat in the event of a man overboard.

Offshore Cruising & Night Sailing - 6D

The Spinlock 6D lifejacket is for all sailors who require a lightweight, full specification offshore lifejacket - with deck harness - that can cope with enduring rough weather. The 6D comes with a sprayhood, which is crucial in choppy offshore conditions to avoid secondary drowning from waves and water intake. Note: Sprayhoods are also available to buy as an optional extra on LITE and LITE+.

For sailing at night, lifejacket lights are also vital. Spinlock offer two options - Pylon and Lume On. Pylon is a LED antenna light which can be turned on or off, or alternatively activates on contact with water. It draws attention to your position in the water with 360-degree visibility. Lume On - to be used in conjunction with Pylon - illuminates the lifejacket bladder, utilising the inflated bladder as a light diffuser for better visibility. These lights are included as standard on 6D and Vito but are optional extras on LITE & LITE+.

Offshore Racing - Vito

For offshore racing, lifejackets must adhere to the Offshore Special Regulations which can be viewed here. The Spinlock Vito - fitted with sprayhood, lights and deck harness capability - is a high specification lifejacket developed from Spinlock's work with the Volvo Ocean Race which is designed to meet these requirements.

To fully meet the regulations, the MOB1 unit needs to be purchased alongside the Vito. This can be supplied fitted or fitted retrospectively to all lifejackets. The smallest M.O.B unit in the world, it is designed to integrate with the Deckvest range, activating on inflation. Within 15 seconds it will send the first alert, and the integrated strobe light ensures max visibility in low light conditions.

For lifelines to be Offshore Special Regulations compliant, they must have two points of contact. Spinlock offer two compliant safety lines: 3 Clip Safety Line or 2 Clip & 1 Link Safety Line.

Note: Buoyancy

The LITE and LITE+ are available with a buoyancy of 170N only. This is the accepted standard for recreational sailing. The 6D and Vito lifejackets are available with a buoyancy of 170N or 275N. Spinlock state the latter provides significantly more buoyancy and is suitable for situations where additional weight may be carried, such as tools or steel capped boots. However, it's worth noting that the 275N lifejackets are much heavier and harder to manoeuvre in the water. For reference, sailors in the Volvo Ocean Race and The Clipper Race most often use the 170N models.

If you have any questions about Deckvests or need help choosing the right lifejacket, then please do not hesitate to contact us at or get more detailed information on the Spinlock Deckvest Range.

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