IP 44, IP 67, IPx6… In terms of waterproofing, the most common concept is that of the IP Code, where IP stands for “Ingress Protection”. This standard is an international standard introduced in 1989 by IEC (International Electrotechnical Commission). It corresponds to the degree of protection offered by a material against intrusion by solid and liquid bodies. The first of the 2 digits indicates the tightness to solids (dust, etc.), the second, the tightness to liquids. When one of them is not applicable, it is replaced by the letter x.
Waterproofing: the IP Code
0 No protection against contact and ingress of objects
1 (effective against >50 mm parts): Any large surface of the body, such as the back of a hand, but no protection against deliberate contact with a body part
2 (>12.5 mm): Fingers or similar objects
3 (>2.5 mm): Tools, thick wires, etc.
4 (>1 mm): Most wires, slender screws, large ants etc.
5 (Dust protected): Ingress of dust is not entirely prevented, but it must not enter in sufficient quantity to interfere with the satisfactory operation of the equipment.
6 (Dust tight): No ingress of dust; complete protection against contact (dust tight). A vacuum must be applied. Test duration of up to 8 hours based on air flow.
0 No protection
1 (Protection against): Dripping water
2 (Dripping water when tilted at 15°): Vertically dripping water shall have no harmful effect when the enclosure is tilted at an angle of 15° from its normal position. A total of four positions are tested within two axes.
3 (Spraying water): Water falling as a spray at any angle up to 60° from the vertical shall have no harmful effect, utilizing either: a) an oscillating fixture, or b) A spray nozzle with a counterbalanced shield. Test a) is conducted for 5 minutes, then repeated with the specimen rotated horizontally by 90° for the second 5-minute test. Test b) is conducted (with shield in place) for 5 minutes minimum.
4 (Splashing of water): Water splashing against the enclosure from any direction shall have no harmful effect, utilizing either: a) an oscillating fixture, or b) A spray nozzle with no shield. Test a) is conducted for 10 minutes. Test b) is conducted (without shield) for 5 minutes minimum.
5 (Water jets): Water projected by a nozzle (6.3 mm) against enclosure from any direction shall have no harmful effects.
6 (Powerful water jets): Water projected in powerful jets (12.5 mm nozzle) against the enclosure from any direction shall have no harmful effects.
7 (Immersion, up to 1 m depth during 30 min.): Ingress of water in harmful quantity shall not be possible when the enclosure is immersed in water under defined conditions of pressure and time (up to 1 m of submersion).
8 (Immersion, 1 m or more depth): The equipment is suitable for continuous immersion in water under conditions which shall be specified by the manufacturer. However, with certain types of equipment, it can mean that water can enter but only in such a manner that it produces no harmful effects. The test depth and duration is expected to be greater than the requirements for IPx7, and other environmental effects may be added, such as temperature cycling before immersion.
Waterproofing in the day-to-day navigation
In navigation, we will obviously focus on the second figure. Depending on usage, it will be interesting for our products to protect at least against splashes in all directions. This is why the equipment offered by Sailproof generally meets at least IP54 standards. However, some products essential for navigation, whatever the weather conditions, require the user to be able to withstand more difficult conditions. This is why, for example, our future digital tablets, designed to ensure positioning and mapping, will at least comply with IP67 standards, in order to ensure total reliability in more difficult conditions.
It should also be noted that the IP standard is not a guarantee against salinity. We have often heard about the SONY Xperia smartphones and tablets, which are reputed to be waterproof, yet today SONY warns, in small print: “Be careful not to completely immerse the device, or expose it to seawater, salt water, chlorinated water or liquids such as drinks”. The brand was the subject of a Class Action in the United States regarding numerous problems following an immersion. It has since turned back and become much more discreet about these characteristics. Other brands indicate compliance with IP67 or 68, but they make it clear that this applies only to fresh water and damage caused by liquids is always excluded from the warranty.
In any case, we will always advise rinsing and drying products heavily exposed to salt water and spray with fresh water. And, of course, always make sure that the port and connector protections are in place.
Enjoy your next sailing trip!