Sam from Sailing Holidays donned a wetsuit, supplied by Rockley Watersports and a helmet, supplied by Craig Cohoon Water Sports and his SeaSafe lifejacket which contained a MOB Lifesaver and jumped into the pool at the Mediterranean Village at London International boat Show. His lifejacket deployed, the Lifesaver floated out onto the water. Amy Neilson from Sailing Holidays, kneeling on a platform that was 1.2 metres above the water to simulate the deck of the average yacht, showed that it was impossible to reach down to him to attach a line and that she couldn’t lift him with the boathook. The audience could see just how difficult it was to get a man back on board if he can’t help himself…unless…they have a Lifesaver fitted to their lifejacket. With a Lifesaver fitted to the lifting becket in the lifejacket the man in the water has their means of rescue already ‘on board’ their own lifejacket. Thank goodness Sam’s lifejacket was fitted with a Lifesaver. Amy was able to grab the Lifesaver easily, attach it to our make believe boat and then lift Sam out by hand using the 8 part Harken tackle. Life was made harder for her because as a result of having no guard rail around our platform she was required by Health & Safety to kneel – no standing on the platform was allowed. So she could only call on her upper body strength when it came to hauling. But she demonstrated that with the purchase of an 8 part tackle one can lift a man out of the water. Amy added in a strop under his knees in order to bring him out horizontally, just in case he was hypothermic. Thank you to Andark for the crew gloves that our rescuers used to help them grip the rope.

​​Watch as 17 stone Barry Neilson of Sailing Holidays is lifted out of the pool on his Lifesaver by his 7 stone daughter Amy; 

And that was another World First!

​Here’s a selfie we took on the first day when we were using ‘Nigel’ as our man overboard

Jar, Me, Kit, Andrew and ‘Nigel’
I talked the audience through the demo but the show was brilliantly compered by Andrew Dickens, who reminded me that Lifesavers were on display on the RNLI stand. It is nice to know that the people we all respect when it comes to saving lives at sea, recognise that Lifesavers are a life saving device.

Several retailers stocked Lifesavers (£14.95) at the show, Andark, Arthur Beale, Piplers, Sea Teach and of course Lifesavers were available at Chart Co, where I signed copies of Stress Free Sailing. Force 4 also stock Lifesavers in store and online and they are available online from

A glimpse Behind the scenes

At the show we had to rig things up to simulate a yacht, the platform for example and a strong point in the ceiling instead of a halyard and of course we had to work with Health & Safety. It’s a public show, we were putting a man into cold water, there is a lot to consider and get right.

So last night I went to see David Rogers head of H&S to show him my hard copy of the RA and the updates and check all was OK.

I told him all was going well with ‘Nigel’. He wondered why I wasn’t lifting a real man out? Because we could only afford a 50kg strong point at £180 and not the 1 ton point at £500. He thought that the strong point would be rated at a good deal more than this and said to leave it him and he would have a word with the riggers.

The next morning when I came in someone had moved the 8 part tackle, it was hanging straight down in position, it had not been tied back in its stowed position. I tried to tie it back but it wouldn’t reach the tie off point. Odd, someone must have raised it. I looked up and in place of the thin wired was a very stout wire. Someone had been in with a cherry picker in the night and replaced the strong point with a 1 ton point. We could now lift a man out. I went to see David Rogers to thank him. I was slightly worried that I would be presented with a £500 for the new point. I asked about the money. He said he had squared it with the riggers and there would be no charge to me. Brilliant. So he made our World First a possibility.

I have been met by incredible generosity from everyone involved with the show, from the organiser, the riggers, to Rockley Watersports and all those who have lent kit, support and in the case of Sailing Holidays, people and I am most grateful to everyone.

Duncan Wells
Voiceover; / Yachting Magazine Features Writer
01753 890555

SeaSafe iZip and proZip lifejackets have been tested with Lifesavers included and are approved with the inclusion of a Lifesaver. Other models of lifejacket are in the process of being presented for testing for the inclusion of Lifesavers. But SeaSafe lifejackets are the only ones today where you can order them pre fitted with a Livesaver. You can of course retro fit a Lifesaver to the lifting loop/lifting becket of any jacket and that’s exactly what people are doing.