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Water Safety

Need help? Need help? What's the difference between lifebuoys and throwbags? Accidents can occur in any workplace and many incidents, especially when near bodies of water, can be life-threatening to you or your employees. Water safety devices can be efficient tools in the workplace, and prevent serious injury or death. Depending on your circumstances, they may also be necessary to ensure you comply with health and safety regulations and laws.

From lifebuoys to throwbags, these devices are essential to every organisation close to a river, lake, dam or port and can be the easiest and most cost-effective method of resolving water-related incidents. With several options available for storing and displaying buoys and lines, these devices can be placed anywhere and will play a huge part in bringing about a positive outcome to any water accident. Read our buying guide to water rescue equipment for more information.

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Water Rescue Equipment Buying Guide

Our product line offers everything your organisation will need to resolve water safety issues, as well as the storage and display of these devices.

As per UK health and safety regulations, water safety devices need not only to be present in all relevant workplaces but you also need to ensure the device is clearly visible, easily accessible and is in proper working order.

Lifebuoys and throwbags should form the basis of your water safety provisions; they are ideal for most workplaces and water accidents.

Life Preservers for Essential Water Safety

The lifebuoy, also known as a life preserver, is the most recognisable water safety device, with centuries of use in ships and boats and at coastal, lakeside or dam locations. The devices are usually located close to deep water bodies with the potential to drown individuals. They are not recommended for use in domestic or smaller commercial swimming pools.

The use of the device is simple and requires minimal previous knowledge or skill to operate. When in a critical water-related accident situation, an employee would simply throw the lifebuoy to the person who is in danger in a body of water. The buoyant nature of the device — as its name suggests — ensures the individual can float and remain above the water while they are transported to land. The lifebuoy is generally attached to a connecting line, held by the rescuer, which enables the person to be effectively pulled to shore or to a nearby boat or ship.

The device features the typical ring or horseshoe structure. It is generally filled with foam, has a lightweight plastic exterior with a hollow interior or is an inflatable device. The size, style and composition of the lifebuoy will depend on your needs, the surrounding environment and the space requirements of the device.

Lifebuoys are usually available manufactured or painted with bright designs and can also be adorned with reflective tape or fluorescent signage.

Throw Rope - Saving Lives When Space is Limited

For a more easily portable water safety device or for safety in confined spaces, throwbags are a popular choice for many organisations and individuals. The throwbag is the most common safety device in kayaks, canoes and other small, outdoor water recreational devices.

The throwbag comprises a length of rope, generally measuring around 25 metres, which is stored in a lightweight bag. When thrown, the rope unravels and is then caught by the person in difficulty. The structure and placing of the rope in the bag ensures the rope can travel long distances, similar to the style of a fishing reel.

Water Safety Equipment FAQ:

Do I need a lifebuoy or a throwbag?

Some workplaces or organisations require the use of both a lifebuoy and a throwbag. The best way to start when making a decision is to research your sector’s health and safety regulations and laws. Many require that either or both devices are needed. Some situations do lend themselves to one type of device — for example, a kayak or canoe does not have the space to carry a lifebuoy, whereas a shore or port location could easily facilitate one.

How do I store these devices?

Both lifebuoys and throwbags have effective storage and housing accessories to ensure the device is kept safe and in working order, as well as in easy reach in case of an emergency. Lifebuoys can be stored mounted on the wall or on a post, or can be housed in a lifebuoy cover. Similarly, throwbags can also be wall-mounted in a cabinet.

What size should I purchase?

Ultimately, this depends on your needs and the environment of your organisation or workplace. Some areas may only accommodate smaller water safety devices. Also, take into account the amount of water nearby and the number of people who are likely to be around when making your decision.

Where should I place my water safety device?

This depends on the type of device and how it is stored. All wall and post-mounted devices should be placed in a clearly visible location, close to the body of water. Devices should be in easy reach of users, ideally at arm’s reach and not too high.