'Immersion' Suits Replace Outdated 'Exposure' Suits

—Literature Available Operators and owners of ships, tankers, mobile offshore drilling units, as well as uninspected commercial vessels, should be aware of the difference between an exposure suit and immersion suit. "Immersion" suit is the term now designated by the Coast Guard to distinguish those suits which meet revised safety standards for cold water survival.

According to William Riley of the Survival Systems Branch of the Office of Marine Safety, manufacturers are no longer permitted to produce "exposure" or "survival" suits, effective January 20, 1988.

Manufacturers, however, are allowed to sell existing stock.

Immersion suits are labeled "Immersion Immersion" suits and must carry the Coast Guard's approval designation 160.171 (not to be mistaken for the old exposure suit approval designation 160.071).

Frank Sanger of Parkway/Imperial, the industry's largest producer of immersion suits, said he is finding most people are getting used to calling these suits immersion suits. "It's a hard transition to make for many people who have called these garments by their old name for years," Mr. Sanger added.

Imperial has worked closely with various governing bodies over the years, including the Coast Guard and Underwriters Laboratory, to test and develop safe standards for immersion suits. In addition to being one of the first manufacturers to receive USCG approval for immersion suits under the new rules, Imperial is the only manufacturer of suits in the U.S. to have passed the revised Norwegian Maritime Directorate standards, the most stringent in the world. Imperial supplies well over half the suits used in the U.S., and has a large international sales and service network.

Immersion suits are now required on certain inspected vessels (ships, tankers, MODUs) and are recommended by the Coast Guard on uninspected vessels (commercial fishing, etc.).

For more information and free literature on the Imperial Immersion Suit from Parkway/Imperial, Circle 81 on Reader Service Card

Other stories from February 1989 issue


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