A Shining Solution

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

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A Shining Solution

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.

Practical Sailor has been independently testing and reporting on marine products for serious sailors for more than 45 years. Supported entirely by subscribers, Practical Sailor accepts no advertising or any form of compensation from manufacturers whose products we test. Testing is carried out by a team of experts from a wide range of fields including marine electronics, marine safety, marine surveying, sailboat rigging, sailmaking, engineering, ocean sailing, sailboat racing, and sailboat construction and design. This diversity of expertise allows us to carry out in-depth, objective evaluation of virtually every product available to serious sailors. Practical Sailor is edited by Darrell Nicholson, a long-time liveaboard sailor and trans-Pacific cruiser with more than three decades of experience as a marine writer, photographer, boat captain, and product tester. 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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