The new ErgoFit SOLAS lifejacket from Survitec’s leading lifejacket brand, Crewsaver, redefines safety, comfort, and performance for those engaged in challenging tasks on wind turbines and during offshore crew transfer operations.
Crewsaver is a world-leading designer, manufacturer, and supplier of high-performance Survival Technology with a history of bringing the latest lifejacket innovations to the market. The ErgoFit SOLAS uses tried and tested technology to create a lifejacket that demonstrates remarkable performance by surpassing the comprehensive array of requirements mandated for offshore wind professionals.
The comfortable ‘wear all day’ lifejacket offers cross-compatibility with a range of fall arrest harnesses, integrated sprayhood with airway protection and Fusion 3D technology; the contoured fit moulds to the shape of the wearer and sits off the neck, giving the user total freedom of movement and making it comfortable to wear all day.
“Recognising the global trend towards renewable energy and the growing importance of the offshore wind industry in the broader energy transition, the ErgoFit SOLAS lifejacket launches at a pivotal moment,” Mark Lutman, Technical Sales Manager, Survitec, said. “As more professionals enter this high-stakes environment, the need for specialised safety equipment becomes increasingly evident.”
The lifejacket features dual side adjusters to closely reflect the clothing worn, whatever the time of year, plus a padded air mesh internal construction to provide further comfort in warm weather.
In the event of a deployment, potentially from a significant height, supporting an unconscious casualty, the lifejacket’s in-water performance needs to be faultless. This is where the lifejacket excels, thanks to features such as Crewsaver’s fast-rotating inflation bladder. The lifejacket rotates an unconscious person face up in just 2.6 seconds, comfortably exceeding the SOLAS standard of four seconds.
The ErgoFit SOLAS ensures a freeboard of 125mm is maintained thanks to an inflatable chin support that holds the head up and back, keeping the airway clear.
Crewsaver’s extensive experience in ocean racing and military applications helped shape the design. “A casualty in the water wearing a lifejacket will rapidly face upwind as their hanging legs act like a sea anchor, and the twin stayed sprayhood offers advanced protection and windage,” Mr Lutman said. “This is why we have designed our chin support and the upper parts of the inflated bladder to prevent any diversion of breaking water or spray into the nose or mouth. With its tailored shape, the bladder distributes buoyancy uniquely around the wearer to maximise in-water support and airway protection.”
A specialised offshore wind lifejacket has to perform a number of roles. It needs to offer class-leading levels of comfort whether on the crew transfer vessel (CTV), accessing the turbine from the CTV or working at height on the turbine. It also needs to be equally capable of providing all-day comfort whether the technician is operating in -20°C North Sea conditions wearing fully padded workwear or lightly dressed for the +30°C conditions in the Taiwan Strait.
A fall arrest harness is required for working at height, which happens a great deal in the offshore wind industry. The ErgoFit SOLAS lifejacket, combined with varying designs of fall arrest harness, can be used for external work when over water, such as on blades, the transition piece or the monopile. With this in mind, the ErgoFit SOLAS has been designed to integrate perfectly with industry-standard fall arrest harnesses from Petzl, Skylotec and Cresto.
The ErgoFit SOLAS successfully secured its SOLAS approval in March 2023 and is currently undergoing additional certifications ahead of its much-anticipated delivery, scheduled for early 2024.