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What Color Helmet is Easiest to See?
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kirk



Joined: 10 Apr 2000
Posts: 158

PostPosted: Tue Jan 28, 2014 1:33 pm    Post subject: What Color Helmet is Easiest to See? Reply with quote

I'm getting a new helmet. I had white in the past thinking it was easiest to see if a Coast Guard helicopter is looking for me with night vision. My thinking was white reflects all colors so it would send the most energy to night vision goggles.

During the day time, I believe Red is the easiest "color" to see so is that a better choice for a helmet or is that almost invisible at night... remember photographic studios used red light to not damage film being processed.

But if you look at what workers wear to be visible to drivers, it is yellow / green reflective gear... so maybe a yellow helmet would be better than red but probably still not as good as white.

Anyway, I'm curious if anyone has thought of this, has comments or has heard from the Coast Guard if they have a recommended helmet color.

Thanks

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spennie



Joined: 13 Oct 1995
Posts: 822
Location: Thousand Oaks, CA

PostPosted: Tue Jan 28, 2014 2:09 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Don't have any hard science for you, but my opinion is that fluorescent greenish-yellow is amazing that way, they'll probably spot you from the ISS!

Now, does anybody MAKE a helmet that color? Or will you paint it?

EDIT: Found some science for you http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Safety_orange However, my opinion remains unchanged.

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windward1



Joined: 18 Jun 2000
Posts: 695

PostPosted: Tue Jan 28, 2014 2:20 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Yellow.
As florescent as possible.
During the day, the white helmet would not look much different than a white cap. You do not get to schedule when you will need rescue. So you should go with what works best for both day and night.
A lot of color blind people can detect yellow, when they are unable to discern red. A passing boater, who might provide rescue may be color blind.
Way back when, STOP signs used to be yellow. Color blind people protested their being changed to red as they were harder for them to detect.
The observation that safety vests are usually yellow and have reflective striping is a good one to follow.
So yellow with reflective striping combination takes the lead for both day and night visibility.
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nw30



Joined: 21 Dec 2008
Posts: 1693
Location: The eye of the universe, Cen. Cal. coast

PostPosted: Tue Jan 28, 2014 2:22 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

As a former fireman, I can say that back in the early 80's, many fire depts. were switching to that lime green color for their fire engines. But now days you don't see them as often as before, there are still some out there, but it looks like most FD's have gone back to red.
Scientific? Not from me, just an observation,,,,,, maybe red is just cheaper than that lime green.

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isobars



Joined: 12 Dec 1999
Posts: 14145

PostPosted: Tue Jan 28, 2014 4:30 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Here's Wilson's from http://tinyurl.com/o2lufyf or your nearest family sporting goods store.



and here's Worth's from http://tinyurl.com/qgn475r (or Walmart carries it)


I chose these colors for the same reason you specify. Nothing off the shelf even comes close to jumping off rough seas into an oncoming sailor's eyeballs, IMO. The Worth fades, though; Wilson's may not. Worth's is tight, but that keeps it in place better than other helmets I've tried. Worth's chin strap, at least mine from a couple of years ago, is elastic; it sucks. The softball face guard is more open than the baseball face guard, and those or no face guard are all options. My face guards have prevented many small and at least two severe injuries. As for the visors, I just can't imagine having the sun in my eyes all day, and cataracts are no fun, either.
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Riptide



Joined: 15 Jan 2011
Posts: 165

PostPosted: Tue Jan 28, 2014 4:34 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

http://bernunlimited.com/shop/h20/men/watts-skate.html

I have this in white but when it wears out, I will be getting this in burnt orange.

And it has the European water sports safety rating plus specifically meant for water use.

http://bernunlimited.com/shop/h20/men/watts-skate.html

Comes optionally with removable ear flaps.



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isobars



Joined: 12 Dec 1999
Posts: 14145

PostPosted: Tue Jan 28, 2014 4:42 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Riptide wrote:
Comes optionally with removable ear flaps.

Valuable for preventing eardrum rupture, a very common Hood River ER trip occurence.
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SPQR



Joined: 18 May 2004
Posts: 211

PostPosted: Tue Jan 28, 2014 5:13 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

When diving in the military, we noticed that colors disappear as you get deeper, the last color to disappear is blue. Ever notice flashing lights on police cars? Not sure if this translates to helmets for wind sports but I know a guy with a blue Gath helmet and I always can find him on the water.
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cgoudie1



Joined: 10 Apr 2006
Posts: 1249
Location: Killer Sturgeon Cove

PostPosted: Tue Jan 28, 2014 5:14 pm    Post subject: Re: What Color Helmet is Easiest to See? Reply with quote

Safety Orange would be my call if I were looking for contrast between frothy water and sky.

Probably ought to get your sails made in the same color, and spray paint your board also.

Or not, that is one unattractive color.

-Craig

p.s. I have a couple of sails with that color in them.

p.p.s. It's still ugly

kirk wrote:
I'm getting a new helmet.
Thanks
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windsurfmike



Joined: 20 Jan 2001
Posts: 182
Location: Gorge

PostPosted: Tue Jan 28, 2014 5:21 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

The lifeguards in Kanaha have said that white is the hardest for them to see due to all the whitecaps. I know of 2 women that were rescued by the guards in Kanaha that had white helmets. One has now using a bright yellow helmet. The other is apparently thing she will not need a rescue again.
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