A Shining Solution

Scotchlite Reflective Tape lights up safety gear. But does it stick?

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Visibility can be a very important element when it comes to safety on the water. For that person in the water, being as visible as possible is one of the few proactive steps they can take to ensure a successful recovery. Should you fall overboard during the day, a personal beacon, brightly colored foul weather gear and safety equipment like a fluorescent orange life vest will make you easier to locate. At night, having something reflective on you will make you easier to locate with a spotlight.

Likewise, having something reflective on your dinghy (and engine) when it’s tethered astern at night can help others see it when they’re motoring about in a crowded anchorage. And adding some reflective material to your mooring ball might simplify nighttime pick ups on those ultra-dark occasions.

So, when Sailor’s Solutions told us about a product they’re now carrying—Scotchlite Reflective Tape—we decided that $1.79 per foot, the tape would be worth testing on a number of surfaces.

Scotchlite Reflective Tape is two inches wide and comes with a strong, pressure-sensitive adhesive beneath its peel-off paper backing. This SOLAS-grade product conforms to International Maritime Organization regulations. Reportedly, Scotchlite Reflective Tape will adhere to nearly any surface, including aluminum and most metals, polyester, rubber coated cloth and vinyl. You have to make sure that the surface is clean and free of dirt, dust, or moisture. For the best adhesion, the manufacturer recommends that you not apply the tape in temperatures under 60 degrees F, and wait 48 hours before inflating or handling the object.

PS tested this product on several surfaces. First, we put it on an old, foam-filled life jacket with nylon covering the foam. Then, we applied it to an older inflatable dinghy that lives in the water. And we stuck it on the shoulders of a foul-weather jacket, as well as the wooden sides of a dock. The tape seemed to stick well in each case, but we’ll wait and see if it stands the test of time. The samples PS used came from Sailor’s Solutions, but the tape is also available through Landfall Navigation, and other chandleries as well.

 

Contact – Sailor’s Solutions, 631/754-1945, www.sailorssolutions.com.

Darrell Nicholson, editor of Practical Sailor, grew up boating on Miami’s Biscayne Bay on everything from prams to Morgan ketches. Two years out of Emory University, after a brief stint as a sportswriter, he set out from Miami aboard a 60-year-old wooden William Atkin ketch named Tosca. For 10 years, he and writer-photographer Theresa Gibbons explored the Caribbean, crossed the Pacific, and cruised Southeast Asia aboard Tosca, working along the way as journalists and documenting their adventures for various travel and sailing publications, including Cruising World, Sail, Sailing, Cruising Helmsman, and Sailing World. Upon his return to land life, Darrell became the associate editor, then senior editor at Cruising World magazine, where he worked for five years. Before taking on the editor’s position at Practical Sailor, Darrell was the editor of Offshore magazine, a boating-lifestyle magazine serving the New England area. Darrell has won multiple awards from Boating Writer’s International, including the Monk Farnham award for editorial excellence. He holds a U.S. Coast Guard 100-ton Master license and has worked as a harbor pilot and skippered a variety of commercial charter boats.

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