US and Canada co-operate on flotation device rules


Revised standards for immersion suits like these could give shipowners more and better options


For example, Yurkovich said, the old standards prescribed how many stiches per inch a lifejacket manufacturer needed to have within a seam. The updated standards will instead measure the performance of the product through a strength test to ensure it can withstand a certain amount of force. It’s such things that will be different under the revised standards, Yurkovich said.


She noted that the rewrite would not affect basic differences that already exist between commercial and recreational lifesaving gear, such as the requirement for commercial equipment to be bright orange so it can be seen by search-and-rescue personnel.


The framework under which the standards are being upgraded is new as well: it is the first time that the United States and Canada have attempted binational standards for lifesaving devices and, once in place, they will help reduce trade barriers between the two countries, Yurkovich said.


“Right now, immersion suits and lifejackets that are approved in the US are not acceptable in Canada, and vice versa. So what the new standards will mean, once they are adopted by both countries, is anything approved in the US will also be acceptable in Canada, and vice versa.


“We really hope we will get more innovative products into the market, reducing the burden of approvals for the manufacturers while giving [shipowners] in both countries more choices.”

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