A CE-marking on a product indicates that it has been type-examined by an accredited test laboratory, a so called notified body. The product inspection includes testing the actual product, to ensure its compliance with all regulations regarding product safety and health. In case of drysuits, the suit is been tested in its actual operating environment, to ensure the safety as accurately as possible. All drysuits are classified as personal protective equipment, and go under the European PPE directive 89/686/EEC. As a consumer, it is very important to make sure the drysuit has a CE-marking. It is a guarantee of safety and fit for use.
EN ISO 15027
International standard series which sets requirements for different types of suits. The first part 15027-1 consists of the requirements for constant wear immersion suits. The second part 15027-2 sets requirements for abandonment immersion suits. The third part 15027-3 describes the test methods for the previous parts. Compared to the PPE directive 89/686/EEC, this standard is precisely created for immersion suits, so the requirements and test methods are highly targeted accordingly. Commonly a ISO 15027 approved suit is also approved according to the PPE directive, they do not exclude each other. The ISO 15027 standard doesn't require the suit must be a drysuit (fully waterproof). Nevertheless all of Ursuit's suits are drysuits.
Constant wear immersion suits are usually being worn for a long period, they are meant to be worn where there is a risk of being immersed in water. The suit is meant to prolong the survival time in cold water, but it doesn't hinder working above the surface of water. Abandonment suits are usually meant to be worn in case of an emergency, for example in a ship wreck. They are not meant for constant use, but often provide a better protection against cold water when immersed.
The suits are divided into four groups based on their thermal insulation (classes A,B,C,D). An A-class suit provides a 6 hour protection against hypothermia in a 2 degree (Centigrade) water, and a D-class suit 2 hour protection in a 10 degree water. Ursuit's portfolio includes suits for all above classes.
European standard series sets requirements and test methods for diving suits. The standard is divided into several parts, first part is for wet suits, second part for dry suits, third part for activately heated or cooled suits and fourth part for one atmosphere suits (ADS). Under the standard's scope are only wet or dry suits meant to be used with compressed air breathing apparatus. Short sleeved or short legged suits are not considered to be diving suits under this standard. Ursuit diving suits are certified according to the second part (dry suits) of EN 14225.
Diving suits are carefully tested for several essential properties, the procedure includes also actual dives in various conditions. The watertightness of dry suits are tested as a part of the type-examination. Seams, joints and components are also tested, to ensure the safety of all the relevant aspects of using a diving suit.
A diving dry suit can be CE-marked according to the personal protective equipment directive 89/686/EEC, but to ensure uncompromised safety and performance, the diving dry suit should also be tested according to the standard EN 14225-2. This standard number is printed on the suit's label, if it is been tested accordingly.
The marine equipment directive 96/98/EC sets the requirements for the safety and approvals of different marine equipment. Immersion suits among others must be approved according to the directive. The procedure for approval has been agreed, which in case of immersion suits is the international Maritime Organization's resolution IMO Res.A.689(17).
Spoken language often refers to SOLAS-approvals. SOLAS (Safety Of Life At Sea) is an international maritime safety treaty, which originates from the Titanic ship wreck in 1914. The treaty sets requirement for the life savings appliances (so called LSA-code). The requirements in the LSA-code and the IMO resolution are compatible.
SOLAS-approved suits are divided into two groups based on the thermal insulation; so called six-hour suits and one-hour suits. A six-hour suit provides sufficient thermal insulation for survival time of six hours, and a one-hour suit for an hour.
Even though SOLAS and ISO 15027 approvals are somewhat similar, they are two different subjects, and the requirements differ on some aspects. A single suit model can have both approvals, or just the other. A SOLAS suit must be within a certain high visibility in terms of colour, hence for example only orange coloured Ursuit suits can have a SOLAS approval.
An ETSO approval is related to aviation. The ETSO standards set the requirements for the safety of devices and accessories to be positioned in aircrafts. Suits meant for helicopter transportation above sea areas go under the ETSO regulation. The requirements are in many aspects similar to the EN ISO 15027 and SOLAS regulations. Characteristic features for an ETSO suit include for example low flammability of outer material, and ability to escape a helicopter window while underwater. The thermal insulation of an ETSO suit must be in class B according to the ISO 15027, implying a four hour survival time in a 2 degree (Centigrade) water.