View Full Version : Immersion Suits -Your Personal Life Raft

11th April 2009, 05:20 AM
We carried immersion suits on board Exit Only. I regarded them as essential safety gear for our voyage around the world.

The experience of Tony Bullimore surviving for five days in an overturned monohull racing boat in the southern ocean convinced me that immersion suits made sense. Without the suit he would have died of hypothermia.

The suits do more than protect from hypothermia. I call them a personal life raft. What do I mean by that?

When I am in my immersion suit, I am buoyant like a cork. It's like I am enveloped by a life raft with only my face exposed to the elements. I am relatively warm, and I think it's unlikely that I will drown in a rescue situation. Furthermore, if it comes time to jump into the water to be picked up by a helicopter in rough seas, I want my red immersion suit on so that it will be easy for the rescuers to see me in a chaotic sea. I don't want them to be looking for my head which is only the size of a brown coconut.

I have not checked out this idea with any search and rescue personnel flying in helicopters, or ship captains who might try to rescue me at sea. I do know that many people drown trying to do a shipboard recovery in storm seas. I suspect that they might have a chance at survival if they were floating in the "personal life raft" - an immersion suit.

A disadvantage of an immersion suit would be that you could not swim well while wearing it, but at least you wouldn't drown while rescuers figured out how to get you on board.

What is the opinion of experts on this forum? Would an immersion suit help or hinder rescuers in an emergency at sea during a major storm?