Life buoy, life ring, swim ring

Silver

Senior Member
Chinese,Cantonese,Sichuan dialect
Hi,


I searched out three terms to describe the rubber ring that could prevent someone from drowning when swimming, but which one is common in your life?


Life buoy
Life ring
Swim ring


Thanks
 
  • Silver

    Senior Member
    Chinese,Cantonese,Sichuan dialect
    Hi, Sue

    Thanks for coming here again, I think "life preserver" is a good term, but sometimes do you also think that life preserver would a bit general?

    I mean maybe more than one occasion you can use it, so would you recommend some symbolic terms for me?
     

    sdgraham

    Senior Member
    USA English
    I've seen all of the above but language changes and "flotation device" seems to be in vogue although it's probably more general than you want.
     

    mplsray

    Senior Member
    Hi,


    I searched out three terms to describe the rubber ring that could prevent someone from drowning when swimming, but which one is common in your life?


    Life buoy
    Life ring
    Swim ring


    Thanks
    Life buoy (in British English, it seems, also spelled lifebuoy) is the term I would use for the ring made of cork or polystyrene used only in emergencies, usually by the crew of a ship to throw at someone who has fallen overboard. It is a subset of life preserver.

    The swim toy children use which is donut-shaped but is inflated rather than made of a material which floats is a swim ring, or so it seems to me after doing an image search of the term at Google Images. Such a toy is not made with the intent to save anyone's life, and so cannot be considered a life preserver.
     

    WyomingSue

    Senior Member
    English--USA
    Life preserver is the usual term for the round flotation device that you throw in when someone is drowning (google "life preserver" image). You wouldn't deliberately go swimming with a life preserver. You can also google pictures of life buoys and life rings, but no-one I know uses that term.
    If a person wants to go swimming and can't swim very well and needs something to help keep them afloat then they have a "floatie" (usually for kids) or possibly a swim ring.
     

    Parla

    Member Emeritus
    English - US
    I searched out three terms to describe the rubber ring that could prevent someone from drowning when swimming, but which one is common in your life?

    Life buoy
    Life ring
    Swim ring
    Here on the US east coast, it's definitely a life preserver. A buoy is something completely different. I've never heard the other two terms.
     

    mplsray

    Senior Member
    For those who might find it interesting, I'm including a quote in which life-buoy and life preserver are identified as two different items. From Titanic - Bravery Of The Officers And Crew, quoting a crewman of that ship:

    "[Captain Smith] had a life-buoy and a life-preserver.... For a second time he was dragged from the icy water. Then he took off his life-preserver, tossed the life-buoy on the inky waters, and slipped into the water again with the words: "I will follow the ship."
    I would expect life-preserver here to refer to a life jacket.
     

    Silver

    Senior Member
    Chinese,Cantonese,Sichuan dialect
    Thanks all of you, my dear friend.

    And indeed, "swim ring" and "life buoy" or "life preserver", basically speaking, are the same thing, at least with the same purpose, right? To save someone from drowning or keep someone from drowning.

    And till this moment, I know "swim ring" sounds okay to you and "life buoy" is more or less okay.
     

    mplsray

    Senior Member
    Thanks all of you, my dear friend.

    And indeed, "swim ring" and "life buoy" or "life preserver", basically speaking, are the same thing, at least with the same purpose, right? To save someone from drowning or keep someone from drowning.

    And till this moment, I know "swim ring" sounds okay to you and "life buoy" is more or less okay.
    From a legal point of view, at least in the US, a swim ring is not considered a life preserver and is not intended to be used as one. Swim rings (and other inflatable water toys) always have a statement to this effect printed on them.
     

    jokaec

    Senior Member
    Chinese - Hong Kong
    In this case, can I have a conclusion about its popularity, "lifesaver" > “swim ring” >“life bouy” in AmE?
     

    DonnyB

    Sixties Mod
    English UK Southern Standard English
    When I was learning to swim and all the kids had these, we just called them our "rubber rings". :) I never heard anyone call them a "swim ring".

    A lifebuoy is a thing you have on a ship or a quayside, to throw in to someone who's fallen in the water.
     

    jokaec

    Senior Member
    Chinese - Hong Kong
    For me, lifesaver is the most familiar term, and it also means the same as lifebuoy.
    Which one is more common in AmE, "lifesaver" or "lifebuoy" when it is a thing you have on a ship or a quayside, to throw in to someone who's fallen in the water? For me, "lifesaver" sounds too general according to its literal meaning, am I right?
     

    heypresto

    Senior Member
    English - England
    This immediately sprung to mind when I saw this thread. It wouldn't be much use throwing one of these to someone who's fallen in the water. Unless it was a bath. :D

     

    PaulQ

    Banned
    UK
    English - England
    By a strange coincidence, I spent yesterday creating a map of a nearby lake. I marked on the map the position of lifebuoys around the lake (Those big orange circular things of which you always wonder "How far could I throw that?")
     

    sdgraham

    Senior Member
    USA English
    "Life saver" was common in AE when I was a child.
    So common that it became the trademark for life-saver-shaped candies dating back to 1912.

    I have not heard the term referring to flotation devices in decades.
     

    dojibear

    Senior Member
    English - Northeast US
    I thought of they candy "life savers" too. But in Boston "life preserver" is common.

    I think all of these terms make sense (including the 3 that Silverobama suggests in post #1). Different terms are "most common" in different areas, so are "most easily understood" in those areas.

    Another standard term is "life jacket". That is something you wear on your chest, that floats. It has straps to hold it on you.

    When I'm not sure about a term, I type it in Google, then hit "Images" instead of reading. "Images" show the same pictures for "life preserver" and "life ring" and "life buoy", but the pictures for "swim ring" are different.
     
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