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 Author  Topic: Buoyancy of kapok life jackets
Drew Cook

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Post a Reply To This Topic    Reply With Quotes     Edit Message     View Profile of Drew Cook  Posted on: Jul 23, 2013 - 5:32pm
I just finished reading a great book about the WWII U.S. Navy, "The Last Stand of the Tin Can Sailors," about the incredible battle off Samar in the Philippines (late October of 1944).

One of the interesting facts in the book, which I had not been aware of previously, was that the effectiveness of the Navy's kapok life jackets was listed at about twenty hours in the water, after which they lost most of their buoyancy.

As Johnny Carson used to say, "I...I did not know that."


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  Frank Andruss

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Post a Reply To This Topic    Reply With Quotes     Edit Message     View Profile of Frank Andruss   Send Email To Frank Andruss Posted on: Jul 23, 2013 - 9:11pm
Drew, did you know that they used Milkweed to fill the Navy Kapoks during WWII. They even had American School Kids collecting the stuff in a campaign to collect milkweed pods. Canada and 29 American States collected something like 2 million pounds in one year. The slogan was "Two bags save one life". The floss harvested from from the two bags of milkweed pods would fill one life jacket. Something like 11 million pounds were collected by the end of WWII.

By the way, I read that book, which was wonderful. A must read for anyone that loves Naval History......................


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PeterTareBuilder2

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Post a Reply To This Topic    Reply With Quotes     Edit Message     View Profile of PeterTareBuilder2  Posted on: Jul 23, 2013 - 11:27pm
Ahoy there.

I remember kapok life jackets from the 1950s also lost bouyancy after prolonged use in the water. Bulky they were too.

Cheers from Peter

"Give me a fast boat for we want to get out of harm's way too."

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Frank Andruss

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Post a Reply To This Topic    Reply With Quotes     Edit Message     View Profile of Frank Andruss   Send Email To Frank Andruss Posted on: Jul 24, 2013 - 8:10am
I have a couple of them in my Exhibit, they are Bulky and to look at them you would think they would last a lot longer. They did in fact save many life's though during WWII.


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