Life Rings & Lifebuoys

Life rings, or lifebuoys are essential to any water rescue kits and are required by law on any marine vessels or near public water spaces. Our range of floating ropes offers suitable support equipment.

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The Access Ropes Guide to:
Life Rings & Lifebuoys

two life rings stacked picture

1. Do life rings expire?

Lifebuoy rings and other flotation devices do not have a set expiration date. However, they should be checked regularly for signs of wear and tears, and if any evidence is found of rips or deterioration, they should be replaced.

All life rings should conform to safety standards set out by SOLAS (Safety of Life at Sea), and this includes their size, the material used, the quality and length of the throw line, its flotation and visibility. If any of these standards are no longer met due to deterioration or damage, they must be replaced immediately.

2. What are life rings made of?

Life rings are made from solid plastic or polyethylene that is resistant to extreme weather conditions and are filled with foam (polyurethane). Their construction must meet the SOLAS standards. A ring must have a buoyancy of 50N or more, to support a casualty in the water. The weight should be between 1-2kg. It must also be fitted with retro-reflective tape in four points to aid visibility and be brightly coloured, usually red or orange and white.

There must be a throw rope attached to four points of the life-saving ring, to allow it to be thrown to casualty and attached to other rescue equipment. The rope should be made from polypropene due to its water-resistant and high-strength properties and conform to the BS EN 699:1995 standards. This means it must have a maximum length of 25metres, a diameter of 9.5-13.5mm, a breaking strain of at least 0.5tonnes and must be stored in a clockwise direction for easy deployment.

3. How big is a life ring?

Small to medium life rings come in sizes from 18-24 inches. One large ring will be between 25 and 32 inches.

A large life ring should be used when there is no, or very little, throwing required, for example, at piers, breakwaters or harbour walls. They are also recommended if there is a possibility of a large number of water-based casualties, such as in a marina where passenger boats are frequently moored.

In all other water areas, a small to medium-sized life ring must be used.

Our 24″ rings are suited for throwing (lakes rivers etc) the 30″ buoys are heavier and better suited to dropping into open water.

4. How do you use a life preserver ring?

A life preserver ring should only be used in water rescues and ideally not in swimming pools, where throwing the item could injure nearby swimmers.

To use the ring, ensure first that you are standing on the end of the rope so that it is kept secure. Then release the ring in an under-arm throw, aiming it just beyond the casualty so they can pull it towards them. They can either place the ring over their head and arms or just hold on to it.

Once the casualty has got hold of the lifebuoy, you can pull them to land using the rope.

You may also be interested in our range of rescue rope.

In addition to our life buoys, we sell lifebuoy cabinets, covers, throw ropes and encapsulated throw ropes which sit inside of the life ring. Some of our Safety Ropes and Rescue Ropes are also suitable for marine use.

All our products come with fast free delivery in the UK, and we can sell these life rings in bulk and offer trade price discounts.

Contact us today or read our product detail pages for more information on price and packages.

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