Type 9 Lifemaster Life Preserver Yoke

The Type 9 Lifemaster was a simple lifejacket in use by the British armed forces and cadet units in the early to mid nineties. This lifejacket was far simpler and cheaper than the units issued to aircrew which had pressurised bottles to inflate them but was judged adequate for those undertaking training on the water. In form the lifejacket was a large block of foam that could be slipped over the head. A valve then allowed air to be blown into the jacket to inflate it further and provide sufficient buoyancy to keep the user afloat until rescued:

This particular example is completely unissued and came packaged in the polythene bag it was dispatched from the manufacturer in:

The features on the front of the lifejacket are standard of this sort of lifesaving equipment and include a small whistle to help attract the attention of a rescuer:

A small handle, secured with a press stud, gives something for a rescuer to grab hold of when pulling the wearer into a boat:

Finally a black tube with a valve is provided to allow the wearer to blow into the life jacket and give it the buoyancy needed to keep someone afloat long enough for rescue:

Where this tube meets the body of the lifejacket are a pair of inspector’s stamps and a date indicating that this lifejacket was manufactured in 1992:

The straps to secure the lifejacket are on the rear face of the yoke, on the side that would be worn facing the body:

The white straps pass down from the neck to the waistbelt, which is blue and secures with a black plastic buckle. A toggle line is also fitted here which allows multiple people to link themselves together in the water so they don’t float apart:

A simplified set of instructions on how to wear the lifejacket are printed on the large white lablel on the rear, as well as date of manufacture, NSN number and a large /|\ mark indicating MoD property:

More detailed instructions on how to use and care for the lifejacket are included on an instruction leaflet provided with the jacket:

As well as cadets, some troops embarked for trips overseas were issued the lifejacket, such as these soldiers boarding a ship to head to the Falklands:

These lifejackets were not popular with those who needed to use them, such as the Sea Cadets. They were particularly bulky when inflated and they limited movement considerably. Today they have been replaced with far smaller, lighter and sophisticated models and few have mourned their passing.

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