The Baltic Athena. A lifejacket specifically designed for the female form. Our best on test women's specific lifejacket lives up to the hype.

Product Overview

Overall rating:

83%

Pros:

  • This lifejacket is cut for women and fits really well over foul weather clothes and light weight layers. It is comfortable and easy to move around in. It is easy to fasten in all conditions. It is easy to repack and easy to check the firing mechanism.

Cons:

  • The bladder might be a bit tight around the neck when inflated wearing a large foul weather jacket collar and this can be uncomfortable.

Product:

Baltic Athena Lifejacket for women – tested

Price as reviewed:

£139.00

Baltic Athena 165N Lifejacket

baltic athena lifejacket inflated and stowed

Baltic Athena women’s specific lifejacket, note the low position of the trigger mechanism and the CO2 bottle.

Baltic Athena Lifejacket

Price from £139

Buy Baltic Athena from Waveinn

The Baltic Athena is a women’s specific designed lifejacket that comes in two versions, a non harness and a harness model. A sprayhood and light are additional extras that can be specified for the lifejacket.

We had a team of female ( and some male) testers try out this lifejacket both on dry land at Charlestown Harbour In Cornwall and at Plymouth Life Centre deep diving pool. We ran through a series of tests that emulate real world use. You can read about our testing team and methodology here on our dedicated page.

Dry testing

The Velcro backed crossover front design allows the trigger mechanism to be located lower in the casing. The asymmetrical closure with seatbelt style buckle to one side allows the trigger mechanism viewing window to be central.

The manual inflation pull toggle was easily and accidentally snagged and unseated from its stowage place by our tester during fitting.

When adjusting a lifejacket, as a smaller bodied person,  we often find a large loose end of webbing strap flailing around which can be a snagging risk. The Baltic Athena lifejacket is fitted with small velcro tabs on the ends of their webbing straps which allow them to be rolled neatly.

The crotch strap is wide and easy to fasten. The loose ends are taken up easily within the length of the crotch strap and are retained sufficiently not to come loose.

On inflation our pool tester Anna found the bladder was really tight against her foul weather jacket collar causing discomfort and difficulty breathing. Anna needed to release some air via the top up tube valve to take the pressure off her neck. Note this is a hot pool area and as such the lifejackets will inflate more than in a cold environment.

Pool Testing

The lifting strop should be positioned as seen in this picture. But the small Velcro receiving tab that helps to locate the end of the strop has a tendency to unstick from the inflated bladder and stick itself randomly to another part of the bladder.

Because Anna had removed air from the lifejacket to allow her to breath more easily, this meant she was (unusually) able to swim almost normally.

The Baltic Athena lifejacket uses a standard Pro sensor trigger mechanism with auto-inflate capsule.

Repacking the lifejacket was relatively quick and easy. Checking the trigger mechanism is easy, via the window provided or by unzipping the casing a little bit to check the bottle is secure.

Baltic Athena Lifejacket

Price from £139

Buy Baltic Athena from Waveinn

How our lifejacket scored on average out of 10 for each of our criteria

9 – Adjust speed ease difficulty
10 – Fastening buckle ease with gloves
9 – Comfort women body size (when tested by men 4)
8 – Practicality. bulk snagging
8 – Positioning of essential items
NA – Accessory attachment / kill cord loop
7 – Night view / reflectors / light (if fitted)
8 – Ease of checking bottle / trigger status
9 – Unpacking / repacking
9 – Style
6 – In water score
83% Total as a percentage

Men take note: Unless you’re a barrel chested, slim waisted man, this isn’t for you!

Verdict

This is an excellent choice of lifejacket for women who do a host of boating activities. High praise from all who tried this lifejacket in the dry.

Best coastal lifejacket on test for women


With thanks to

western maritime training logo


Note: all of our lifejackets tested conform to either  ISO 12402-3 (coastal/non harness) or iSO 12401 (harness versions), and this means that they all meet the basic safety standards you would expect from a lifejacket.
In order to conduct unbiased testing, our test team were given full freedom to test and evaluate the lifejackets presented to them on the tests days. Their opinions are made in a professional capacity and skippers and end users of the products and are a result of direct hands on experience. This does not override any official safety rating or certification.
legal disclaimer is available here

To read about more lifejackets go to our Best Lifejackets for Boaters and Sailors – Tested Buyers guide where you can find individual reviews for 15 current lifejackets