faqs Immersion suits

Frequently asked questions 

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Q: What is an immersion suit?

A: An immersion suit is designed to protect the user's body from the cooling effects of unintended immersion in water to prolong life and to aid rescue. It does this by reducing the risk of cold shock and to delay the onset of hypothermia. It also makes the wearer sufficiently conspicuous in the water so as to aid their recovery. An immersion suit may also be referred to as an abandonment suit.


Q: What do regulations state is the minimum requirement for carrying immersions suits on board a vessel?

A: Survitec’s immersion suit products* are supplied under the world class brand, Crewsaver. Since July 2006, regulations* for cargo ships and bulk carriers trading outside the parallels 20 degrees north or 20 degrees south have stipulated that one fully approved immersion or abandonment suit must be carried for each crew member. The Crewsaver immersion suit range allows you to comply with these regulations.

*Outside of our USCG approved products.

**Marine Equipment Directive 96/98/EC of December 1996 SOLAS 74/78 as amended Reg. III/4, III/7, III/22, III/32, III/34, X/3 LSA Code I,II, as amended by MSC.207(81), MSC.218(82) HSC Code 1994 MSC.36(63) and HSC Code 2000 MSC.97(73), 8 IMO Resolution MSC.81(70), MSC/Circ.1046.


Q: What is the requirement for donning an immersion suit in an emergency?

A: All immersion suits must be designed to be donned in less than 2 minutes – including any associated clothing or a lifejacket as required.


Q: What are the servicing requirements of an immersion suit?

A: Immersion suit’s must be serviced at an approved Survitec Service Station every three years from the date of purchase. After 10 years, this service interval decreases to a service to be completed every year. In addition to this, all immersion suits are also to be inspected every month as required by SOLAS Chapter III/20.7.2. This is usually done by the owner or operator.


Q: How long will an immersion suit last?

A: Approximately 10 years - after this, the annual servicing requirement often renders it more economical to replace these suits.


Q: Can immersion suits be serviced at any service station?

A: No – Crewsaver immersion suits must be serviced at an approved Survitec service station. Survitec service stations are audited on a regular basis to ensure our high standards are maintained.


Q: Can immersion suit test kits be used on other manufacturer’s suits?

A: No - Only use the recommended suit manufacturer.


Q: Do immersion suits without an integrated buoyancy pillow need to be worn with a lifejacket?

A: Yes – All immersion suits without an integrated buoyancy pillow are designed to be worn in conjunction with a compatible SOLAS approved lifejacket.


Q: Can immersion suits with an integrated buoyancy pillow be worn with a lifejacket?

A: No - The buoyancy from the suit’s pillow located behind the wearer’s neck will work against the lifejacket’s buoyancy placement as it inflates.


Q: Do all Crewsaver immersion suits have a buddy Line?

A: Yes - this is a requirement to meet SOLAS approvals.


Q: Is a light required on an immersion suit?

A: Crewsaver immersion suits which feature integrated buoyancy pillows are factory fitted with a SOLAS approved light as standard. All other Crewsaver immersion suits are designed to be worn in conjunction with a SOLAS approved lifejacket which will include an integrated SOLAS approved light.


Q: What is the thickness of the neoprene in an immersion suit?

A: All Crewsaver neoprene immersion suits are constructed from 5mm neoprene.


Q: How is the best way to lubricate the zip on an immersion suit?

A: Use a beeswax block and run up and down the zip teeth. This is usually done by the operator during the monthly inspection. Beeswax is not included with the immersion suit but is widely available.


Aviation Suits

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Q: What is the difference between a marine immersion suit and an aviation immersion suit?

A: The immersion suits will be similar in structure, however both will have their own unique features that will adhere to different qualification criteria. For example, European aviation standards mandate a defined level of thermal protection must be included for use in a Helicopter. Whilst in a marine setting, a non-slip boot is required. Different regulatory frameworks for different markets apply, each with different functional requirements for different operating environments.


Q: What is the Survitec aviation immersion suit range?

A: Our range of aviation immersion suits possess an incredible pedigree in the both the marine and aviation sectors. The range includes suits suitable for transit use, constant wear and abandonment and have been in service from the early 70s across the North Sea, Caspian Sea and American, Canadian and Australasian offshore territories. We have worked hard to continually develop this technology and in 2006 with the introduction of additional European Aviation Safety Agency (EASA) regulations, we commenced development on a new generation of immersion suit. The result was the 1000 Series range. Utilising the latest in anthropometric research and technical textiles, the 1000 Series set a new standard in materials integrity, thermal performance, sizing methodology, donning and consistent performance.


Q: Do Survitec offer crew and passenger immersion suits?

A: Yes. We offer both passenger and crew versions of most suits in the 1000 Series range. Crew and passenger suits are coloured coded differently to distinguish them, typically orange and yellow respectively - similar to our aviation lifejacket bladder colour scheme.


Q: What’s the difference between a transit, constant wear and abandonment immersion suit?

A: Transit use suits are worn just for transit over water via aircraft or vessel - for example, during offshore transfer to oil and gas platforms. Constant wear suits are worn at all times. They are usually worn underneath regular PPE when working near water. This will ensure the wearer has the appropriate thermal protection if they fall and submerge into water. Abandonment suits are donned quickly only in the event of an emergency. They are packed into a small container and removed when needed.


Q: What does Tri-Approved mean?

A: Tri-Approved means the suit is approved to three different Regulatory Type Approvals: EASA, EU-MED (IMO / SOLAs) and EU-PPE standard, making it capable of supporting aviation transit, constant wear work and marine use from a single suit. Instead of having to source 3 potential suits for each task, our customers only need to obtain one. Additionally, users can wear the same suit if they need to take a flight and a boat to a rig or wind farm. They can also remain in that same suit and conduct their daily work routine.


Q: What makes an immersion suit different from a regular drysuit?

A: An immersion suit functions as a drysuit in that it precludes water ingress, protecting the thermal insulation worn within. It may or may not be insulated in its own right. An immersion suit will be independently tested by a nationally accredited test laboratory and as approved by a legally empowered Regulatory Authority. It must meet or exceed defined minimum performance requirements to demonstrate that it is fit for purpose and so improve survivability and sustain its wearer.


Q: What approvals do Survitec’s aviation immersion suits hold?

A: All of our aviation immersion suits are approved by EASA. The 1000 Series suits are approved to the current latest European Standard Technical Order (ETSO).  Our legacy 400 Series immersion suit styles, originally approved by the UK Civil Aviation Authority (UK CAA) before the creation of EASA, are approved by EASA under grandfather rights for continued airworthiness.


Q: What materials are the Survitec aviation immersion suits made out of?

A: Our aviation immersion suits are made using the latest in anthropometric research and technical textiles - setting a new standard in materials integrity, thermal performance, sizing, methodology, donning and consistent performance. Our 1000 Series suits use NASA deployed technology to ensure they are breathable and hydrophobic with increased comfort and thermal capability.


Q: Do Survitec offer a solution for warm climates when aviation immersion suits are not required?

A: Yes. We offer a range of coveralls for customers operating in warmer climate environments. They would typically not require an immersion suit for transit purposes. Our coveralls are available in multiple colours and are manufactured from flame retardant material.

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