Lifejackets are designed to provide full support for a person in water, even if that person is unable to help himself or herself and is heavily clothed. Lifejackets may be constructed from foam or other permanently buoyant material, or they may be inflatable or partially inflatable. In a free-fall lifeboat, only inflatable lifejackets are permitted.
The Spanish company, Articulos Nauticos Cappymar is introducing a new lifejacket combined with a radio beacon connected to a receiver installed at the bridge. The equipment is designed to aid the search and rescue of people who accidentally fall from a vessel. In the event of a man overboard the radio beacon will activate automatically upon immersion and will start transmitting a distress signal on the international search and rescue frequency.
A lifejacket must be provided for every person on board the ship. In addition, a sufficient number of lifejackets must be carried for persons on watch and for use at remotely located survival craft stations. The lifejackets carried for persons on watch should be stowed on the bridge, in the engine control room and at any other manned watch station. Each lifejacket must be fitted with a light.