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Danbuoy Selection Guide

What is a Danbuoy ?

There are two major types of danbuoy: traditional and Inflatable

Traditional Danbuoys

A traditional danbuoy is a flag on a pole deployed in emergency for marking the position of a man overboard incident. The pole has a flag on the top, an integral float for buoyancy, and a weight at the bottom to keep it upright in the water. The pole needs to be long so that the flag is well above sea level for good visibility, and the weight at the bottom of the pole needs to sit deep in the water for stability and righting moment performance. The pole may be in two or more parts to make stowage easier. Tapered telescopic poles perform a similar, but more convenient function. Please note that the different parts are not considered a danbuoy unless they are all fixed together or extended, and with the flag unfurled. A light may be fitted for cruising in the hours of darkness. There are ways of automatically freeing the flag and switching on the light when the danbuoy is deployed to fulfil this requirement.

Inflatable Danbuoys

Inflatable danbuoys are based on a similar principle to an automatic self-inflating lifejacket. The danbuoy is made from similar yellow fabric to a lifejacket lung. Inflation is achieved by a water activated CO2 canister. The inflated form has an integral flag at the top of a tapering conical shaft with a bulbous section at the bottom that sits in the water. There is a fitted weight for stability, and a drogue attached for slowing the rate of drift. The unit is normally supplied in a compact stowage container suitable for rapid deployment. There are options for combining an Inflatable Danbuoy and an Inflatable Horseshoe Lifebuoy in one container.

Do I need a Danbuoy ?

There are various alternative electronic options now available, both personal and yacht based, which can pinpoint the position of a casualty in the water, and therefore perform a similar function to a danbuoy. Electronics can fail, especially in a harsh marine environment. A danbuoy is still viewed as a mandatory requirement by the world’s leading sailing authorities e.g. World Sailing (formerly known as ISAF), RORC, World ARC. However, even if you view your sailing as much more relaxed with fine weather intentions, a danbuoy is recommended by the RYA as an important part of a yacht’s safety inventory with respect to a man overboard incident.

What Type of Danbuoy Do I Need ?

The danbuoy model that you choose should match your individual requirements based on the following criteria:

It is generally recommended that a danbuoy be located on the aft rail, close to the helmsman. The aim is to ensure the minimum delay in deployment in the event of a man overboard incident. A danbuoy may be stowed away in a sheltered location when yachts are safely moored in their home berth.

Danbuoy Options

Choose a Danbuoy to suit your requirements from our Comparison List. The Jimmy Green range of Danbuoys are named with their intended usage in mind.

1 Piece Inshore Danbuoy

2 Piece Inshore Danbuoy

Coastal Danbuoy

Offshore and Ocean Danbuoy

Seago Ocean Danbuoy

Jimmy Green offer Inflatable Danbuoys from Seago and Jonbuoy.

These are World Sailing (formerly ISAF), RORC and WCC compliant. They offer quick release, compact stowage in UV protective containers on the rail, but they are much more expensive than traditional pole danbuoys. They are fitted with a small drogue attached because their inflated shape would otherwise lead to a far greater rate of drift than traditional pole danbuoys. They also require similar servicing to an automatic lifejacket.

Seago Inflatable Danbuoy - SB2

Seago Inflatable Danbuoy - SB3

Jonbuoy DayGlo Lite Inflatable Danbuoy

Safety Equipment Advisory

All safety equipment should generally be suitable and adequate for the intended application, the yacht length/displacement, and your cruising intentions.

Regular maintenance is required to ensure that your danbuoy will function perfectly when required.

Frequent routine checks will be necessary with consequent cleaning, servicing, remedial replacement and sheltering whenever possible from the deleterious effects of a harsh marine environment. Sheltering means allocating safe storage from weathering degradation while not in active use i.e. when a yacht is in on the hard or in safe harbour.

Any expiry dates should be checked and any items nearing the end of their life should be immediately upgraded.