Bulletin No.: 07/1997

Date (Y-M-D): 1997-06-17

Subject: Textile Components of LifeJackets and Personal Flotation Devices

All fabrics used in the fabrication of floatation devices approved by the Board of Steamship Inspection and the Director General of Marine Safety are to be tested in accordance with Canadian Government Standards Board publication No. CAN/CGSB-65-19-M89 titled Textile Components of Lifejackets and Personal Flotation Devices.

At Section 5 and Annex A the Standard refers to three different methods to evaluate residual strength of fabrics through accelerated weathering. Xenon Arc is the reference method. However, traditionally Carbon Arc has been used as an equivalent method. Recent tests revealed that the three methods are not equivalent and that materials that passed the test under carbon arc fail miserably when tested under the same conditions with Xenon Arc machines. These conditions are 25 cycles (24hrs) of weathering @ 0.55 W/m2 radiance resulting in 350 N minimum breaking strength in the fill direction for fabrics to be accepted as a lifejacket component.

As a result of testing done both in natural environment and weathering machines over the past few months it is considered that the aging requirements and the residual minimum fabric strength can be safely lowered.

Consequently, as an interim measure, the Board has established that fabric to be use in any floatation device to be approved shall be tested as follows:

  1. weathering of test samples is to be at a minimum of 300hrs under Zenon Arc @ 0.55 W/m2 cycled as per CGSB65.19-M89 where the last cycle may be ended before completion; and
  2. a fabric to pass is to have a residual strength of not less than 300N on all weathered samples (after drying) while tested in the weft (fill) direction by the ASTM method using an elongation speed of 300 mm per minute.

The samples that would normally be used to be tested in the warp direction are to be used for weft direction test (after at least 12 hours of soaking in same water supplied to the machine) under the CGSB method (constant time to break) and results submitted to the Board for future reference.

The former test results are to be used to pass/fail fabrics and the fabric listing is to include the

"as tested" die formulation and process which must also be used in the production of the fabric.

Pigment coated fabrics using TiO2 are not to be used in the fabrication of lifejackets until its effect on the breakdown of nylon has been assessed; all other individual flotation devices made with pigment coated fabric are to display the following warning in both official languages, and in letters not less than 3 mm (14 points) in height followed by the explanation note in letters 2 mm (10 points) in height.


Fabric Deteriorates In Sunlight & Chlorine

Check Integrity Frequently

Replacement Recommended Within 5 Years

Fabric Certified Under Interim Ruling Of The Department Of Transport

Keywords:                                  Questions concerning this bulletin should be addressed to:

1. Textile Components
2. Lifejackets
3. Accelerated weathering
F. Belzile
(613) 991-3123
Transport Canada
Marine Safety
Tower C, Place de Ville
11th Floor, 330 Sparks Street
Ottawa, Ontario K1A 0N8

To add or change your address, contact us at: marinesafety@tc.gc.ca

Owners of commercial vessels, registered and licensed, automatically receive Bulletins.