Helly Hansen and RNLI hold lifejacket clinic at Round the Island Race

Outdoor clothing brand Helly Hansen has announced the return of its annual lifejacket clinic today (24 June), in partnership with RNLI. The Scandinavian firm is providing Personal Flotation Device (PFD) guidance at the annual Round the Island Race on the Isle of Wight this weekend.

As a sponsor of the event, Helly Hansen has organised a lifejacket clinic ahead of the race, which will take place at the Helly Hansen Cowes store on Friday 24 June, between 3pm-7pm. This is the fourth year the company and RNLI volunteers have offered free lifejacket advice to participants before the start of the race.

“It’s always important to wear a properly fitted and maintained lifejacket or suitable personal flotation device (PFD) when you go out on the water, especially in a sailing event such as Round the Island,” says Cowes RNLI coastal safety officer, Tony Reeve.

“Last year many of the lifejackets we saw appeared inadequate for use, highlighting the value of these clinics in helping the sailing public to stay safe by being able to properly look after and maintain their lifejackets. We also had some really valuable and insightful conversations and were able to offer advice on not just how to choose and maintain the right lifejacket or PFD but also what to do in an emergency on or near the water.”

Together, Helly Hansen and the RNLI have almost 350 years of combined history protecting lives at sea. The joint initiative was designed to educate racers and the public about the dangers on the water, with the aim of reducing drownings in UK waters.

Emma Russell, marketing manager for Helly Hansen in the UK, Ireland and Benelux, adds: “We are pleased to continue offering our lifejacket clinic at this year’s Round the Island Race. The potentially life-saving advice is one undertaken with our trusted partner, RNLI, working towards our collaborative mission to deliver drowning prevention messages by supporting fundraising and safety campaigns and supplying the very best kit to the RNLI’s lifesavers.

“It is crucial for lifejackets to be serviced annually, as well as checked regularly before going out on the water, and as a brand that provides gear to help people stay and feel alive, we hope these clinics will continue to help save more lives at sea, and ensure users feel safe and confident on the water.”

Official Race Marine Electronics Partner, B&G, will also be at the event to provide technical support and advice to all the racers. Working from the B&G van, the team will be offering guidance, troubleshooting, and even B&G tech pre-race boat checks for any sailors who request assistance.

“Although B&G tech is used a lot by professionals,” explains Simon Conder, head of global brand at B&G, “we also have a full range of products designed for all levels and abilities from ocean racers to keen amateur crews, families and first-time racers who want something reliable, easy to use, and are out on the water having a go.”

Organised by the Island Sailing Club, Round the Island Race is an annual, international yacht race attracting over 1,400 boats and around 15,000 sailors each year, with this year’s race on Saturday 25 June.

RNLI’s lifejacket clinics are an advisory service only and are not intended to replace an annual service as recommended by the manufacturer. It is the responsibility of the lifejacket owner or vessel owner to ensure that their safety equipment is fit for purpose and is in full working order.

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