The Seago Seaguard 165N automatic lifejacket looks like a quietly unassuming and modest piece of safety kit. We put it through our series of shore based and pool tests to see if it could match the performance of lifejackets at twice the price. The answer is yes it does. Keep reading to see why!
Seago SeaGuard lifejacket – tested
Seago Seaguard 165N auto lifejacket
This modest looking Seago Seaguard lifejacket seems quietly unassuming and certainly doesn’t shout look at me when compared to a whole load of other lifejackets we have in our group test.
But we should never judge a lifejacket by its cover.
The Seago isn’t entering any awards for fashion, but that’s not why we’re here is it? It’s the second lightest on test at 817grams. The flat styling of this lifejacket makes it unobtrusive to wear and its simple design is lightly sculpted around the neck to make it more comfortable for longer periods of use.
The side clip buckle is popular with our testers and scores well for ease of fastening and unfastening with cold hands or whilst wearing gloves.
Adjustment is easy and the surplus webbing is neatly stowed in an elastic band sewn captive to the webbing.
The lifting strop is sewn externally, so it’s not tucked away inside the casing and is always present, which might be a bit of a snagging risk for some.
The casing has enough surplus capacity to fit a sprayhood and light. The Seago Seaguard is also available as a harness model for a just £10 more. This seems like excellent value to me.
Mike says the best feature of this lifejacket is the cross over bladder design which works really well at avoiding waves funneling up and hitting you in the face when in the water.
He notes that the retro reflective tape on this is the least visible as it is towards the sides rather than on top and like many of the lifejackets in this range, it doesn’t come with a light as standard.
The rate of inflation was excellent. He comments that the manual toggle was tucked away and was initially tricky to find.
(This was as a result of our dry testing where we looked at the possible pitfalls of having an exposed trigger toggle and what real-world users often do with them, which is to tuck them up inside the casing which then makes them much harder to locate when needed. -Ed) When lifejackets don’t provision specifically for safe stowage or toggles, users will invariably find a way which often isn’t the safest way.
We’d like to see a small velcro tab, as seen on other lifejackets, to secure the toggle a little better to avoid it being tucked away.
The lifting strop is in red and was found after a little rummage around, under the lifejacket.
The lifejacket comes with an older style trigger mechanism using longer slimmer CO2 bottles rather than the dumpy ones and uses a black auto capsule with the pop-off green plastic end piece. Most other lifejackets have moved over to the grey capsule which doesn’t eject plastic bits when it is triggered.
We were impressed with the in water performance of this lifejacket. The reflectors slightly let this down in terms of visibility but retro fitting more is pretty common and reflective tape is available from chandleries.
Repacking it was very easy.
Seago Seaguard 165N Automatic Lifejacket
Price from £54.95
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How our lifejacket scored on average out of 10 for each of our criteria
7 – Adjust speed ease difficulty
7 – Fastening buckle ease with gloves
8 – Comfort
6 – Practicality. bulk snagging
7 – Positioning of essential items
NA – Accessory attachment / kill cord loop
5 – Night view / reflectors / light (if fitted)
8 – Ease of checking bottle / trigger status
9 – Unpacking / repacking
4 – Style
8 – In water score
69% Total as a percentage
We were very pleased with the performance of this lifejacket. Whilst it doesn’t look super stylish, it doesn’t offend either. Where it excels is as a lifejacket in the water and that’s where it really counts. Highly recommended as a best budget option for safety on the water.