Look before you fall in

Beware of dodgy imported safety equipment

Taking our recently acquired boat out on the River Medway for the first time this weekend with some friends, I was having some trouble getting the vessel into its floating pontoon dock against the tide. One of my friends then tried a leap across to the dock with the rope and managed to fall in, whereupon he and we were all shocked and alarmed when his self inflating life jacket failed to inflate. He was soon back in the boat whereupon we discovered that although his jacket had been made to look like a self inflating design, such as the French designed and models worn by the rest of us, it wasn't anything of the sort but was instead, something rather cheaper, more poorly designed and made, and definitely nastier.

Unfortunately my friend's experience is not alone and for this reason, a campaign has just been launched to combat counterfeit safety equipment, since, according to Geoff Hooke, secretary of the British Safety Industry Federation, "There is now a plethora of illegal and counterfeit safety products." Which as he went onto remark, are, "A lot different from having a counterfeit Rolex."

British designed and manufactured safety equipment is second to none, but there is a need to defend ourselves against imported items from certain countries that are greatly inferior. Should a purchaser feel they have purchased counterfeit or illegal safety equipment, Hooke urges that they should not just throw it in the bin but, advise their local trading standards office, and/or local HSE inspector and/or talk to the BSIF.

Anyone else with similar experiences, please send them in. Spread the word!

Tom Shelley

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