Immersion Suit Testing
Westpac was one of the first companies world wide to offer immersion suit testing starting in the mid 1980's. Since that time we have tested thousands of suits ensuring that they function properly and do not leak.
In May 2004 the International Maritime Organization issued MSC/Circ.1114 which provided guidelines for periodic testing of immersion suits on commercial vessels and Westpac is able to test your suits to this standard. The other United States Coast Guard document covering immersion suit testing is NVIC 1-08. These documents call out testing by a shore based facility every three (3) years up to the point where a suit is ten (10) years old. After ten years "more frequent" testing (interpreted as annual) is required. We have found that replacing your suits on a ten year cycle makes the most economic sense.
Some of the common problems we find are non-functioning zippers, leaks, damaged reflective tape and storage bags in need of repair. Our service is concerned not only for your safety but also the cost. If a suit would be better served by replacement as opposed to an expensive repair we will advise you and let you decide which course of action to take.
Newer suits all have the serial number and a date of manufacture on some sort of tag attached to the suit. It might be on the inside in the middle of the back or sewn on with the face flap. Sometimes the date used the quarter of the year and then the year but you can always figure out the year. Suits well over ten (10) years old often did not have a manufacture date and sometimes not even a serial number. Any United States Coast Guard approved immersion suit without a date should be removed from service, they are too old to be reliable.
After we test a suit we stamp it showing who tested it and when (and the fact that it passed). We do not mark the outside of the storage bag since these often get swapped. A written test report is provided which includes the brand of suit, size, date of manufacture, repairs performed, expiry date of the light and final disposition of the suit (Pass or Fail). We have customers who want special marking on the bags to show when the suit was tested and this is a service we provide.
Give us a call to discuss your testing needs.
If you wish to check your own suits, read the brochure produced by the U.S. Marine Safety Association first. Also make sure you stow the suit with the zipper in the correct position: