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Thread: Just a PFD reminder

  1. #1
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    Default Just a PFD reminder

    Never hurts to remember how important it is --

    https://www.oregonlive.com/sports/or...rt_river_index


    Lesson: "Wear your PFDs. They don't do a lick of good stowed under your seat." Asher wrote in a recap posted on Ifish.net, a regional fishing Web site. "Wearing your PFD when no one else is can seem socially awkward...lead the cultural shift with your buddies."
    David G
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    "It was a Sunday morning and Goddard gave thanks that there were still places where one could worship in temples not made by human hands." -- L. F. Herreshoff (The Compleat Cruiser)

  2. #2
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    Default Re: Just a PFD reminder

    Good article David. I noted in the article that he was now shopping for a boarding ladder...something no boat should be without and which we've seen covered several times here in the Forum.

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    Default Re: Just a PFD reminder

    They said "test it using the inflation mouthpiece". It's frowned upon to blow them up by mouth, because the enzymes in your saliva may react over time with the fabric.

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    Default Re: Just a PFD reminder

    Good reminder, I have to say here in the UK I never see anyone afloat without a PFD. Recently we have had a push on Cold water shock

    https://youtu.be/0gd6QC2Emrc

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    Default Re: Just a PFD reminder

    Getting back on board is important, too.
    Garelick makes a nifty transom ladder that's Currently just an OEM part.

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    Default Re: Just a PFD reminder

    I'm one of those silly old fools who hates PFDs and rarely wears one. Uncomfortable, inconvenient and downright dangerous. And don't get me started on harnesses and tethers!

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    Default Re: Just a PFD reminder

    Quote Originally Posted by Phil Y View Post
    I'm one of those silly old fools who hates PFDs and rarely wears one. Uncomfortable, inconvenient and downright dangerous. And don't get me started on harnesses and tethers!
    You’re going to have to explain that, especially the ‘downright dangerous’ - adding the context of the type of boating you do might help.

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    Default Re: Just a PFD reminder

    I embarrassed myself last summer when I fell off Amie into the Ballard Locks. I have to say that the PFD is/was the best boating investment I've made. And I can relate to getting slapped in the face when it goes off (I was about 4 ft under and upside down when it inflated).

    I'm still bothered that our sponsor magazine seldom shows people on their boats wearing PFDs. I understand that wearing a PFD isn't as stylish and makes it harder to get a good picture, but isn't is also sending a message about the (lack of) need to wear a PFD?

    Okay. Off my soapbox.

    Thanks,

    Harvey

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    Default Re: Just a PFD reminder

    Quote Originally Posted by tink View Post
    You’re going to have to explain that, especially the ‘downright dangerous’ - adding the context of the type of boating you do might help.
    Bulky and uncomfortable, thereby restricting movement.

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    Default Re: Just a PFD reminder

    Quote Originally Posted by Phil Y View Post
    I'm one of those silly old fools who hates PFDs and rarely wears one. Uncomfortable, inconvenient and downright dangerous. And don't get me started on harnesses and tethers!
    So Phil, a penny for your thoughts on harnesses and tethers?

  11. #11
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    Default Re: Just a PFD reminder

    Quote Originally Posted by Phil Y View Post
    Bulky and uncomfortable, thereby restricting movement.
    /\

    Yep, and the stats that I can find indicate that boating is NOT an activity of significant risk. The stuff I can find indicates that we should work on our health first, our cars and driving next, and our boating activities are about 6921st highest when it comes to risk.

    Some old information indicates that wearing a PFD is much less important to your health than wearing a bike helmet when driving to the boat, or probably when walking from the car to the dinghy.

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    Default Re: Just a PFD reminder

    I have always worn my PFD when sailing or boating.
    I like the fishing vest style because it is more comfortable and I can put a knife, whistle and small light in the pockets.

    I mostly solo sail at night and I setup my Alacrity19 to self steer.
    If I go over the side the boat will sail away without me.
    At one time I trailed a ski tow rope behind me connected to release the self steering lines but to be honest I have not done that in years.

    So I am very careful when I go forward to change the head sail.

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    Default Re: Just a PFD reminder

    So if you do fall overboard solo sailing, what is your PFD going to do?

    Will you be found by someone in the space of time between the time you would have drowned without a PFD, and the time you die from hypothermia or splash/indirect drowning while wearing a PFD?

    What is the chance of a PFD saving your life, and how does that compare to other steps you do NOT take to extend your life expectancy?

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    Default Re: Just a PFD reminder

    Quote Originally Posted by Chris249 View Post
    So if you do fall overboard solo sailing, what is your PFD going to do?

    Will you be found by someone in the space of time between the time you would have drowned without a PFD, and the time you die from hypothermia or splash/indirect drowning while wearing a PFD?

    What is the chance of a PFD saving your life, and how does that compare to other steps you do NOT take to extend your life expectancy?
    Most sailboats will round up into the wind and stop when the tiller is unattended.
    So you can swim to the boat and board.
    Most people also sail in areas with other boats so using a whistle and light may attract another boater.

    In my case I like to have my sailboat self steer and sail for hours without touching the tiller.
    I would most likely die if I fell overboard at night 20 miles out in Lake Erie.

    But Lake Erie is shallow so the water temp is warm, the life vest would give me time to maybe get seen by someone.

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    Default Re: Just a PFD reminder

    If the boat's going to round up when unattended then you'll normally be on the tiller. If you're going to fall off while hanging onto a tiller then getting drowned may be the least of your worries.

    I'm not sure how many boats round up and stop within reach of someone who is a typical (ie poor) swimmer and who is encumbered by a PFD and normal sailing clothes. At a guess, I would say the number would be vanishingly small. And how many people can get back on board while wearing a PFD?

    Yes, you may attract another boater - but would you die inside that period without a PFD?

    The odd thing is that most of these issues could probably be better solved by wearing a harness and a wetsuit or survival suit, but that's almost totally unknown on a typical yacht and yet many people wear PFDs that are probably less useful.

  16. #16
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    Default Re: Just a PFD reminder

    Arguing against a PFD is ridiculous. We've all gotten away with not wearing one--myself included--, just as many of us have gotten away without injury despite not wearing eye protection or a respirator or proper shoes. No one of us has gills and fins and, like goggles or a hardhat or a seatbelt, one only has to, " need," the device once for it to really matter. Problem is, we don't know when that one time is going to occur, so the smart move is to protect oneself at all times.

    Yep, and the stats that I can find indicate that boating is NOT an activity of significant risk. The stuff I can find indicates that we should work on our health first, our cars and driving next, and our boating activities are about 6921st highest when it comes to risk.
    Chris you are not making a fair comparison when you compare boating accidents to those accidents that occur relative society as a whole. When doing that, it's expected that boating deaths would rank small: boaters represent a very small percentage of the overall population. Make the comparison of deaths to total boaters and the numbers are more real.


    Will you be found by someone in the space of time between the time you would have drowned without a PFD, and the time you die from hypothermia or splash/indirect drowning while wearing a PFD?
    I'd want any extra time it would provide me. Why wouldn't one want the extra time?

    In the US, last year, there were 16 million registered boats and some 45 million people who identified as, " boaters." 700 deaths were attributed to boating. 80% of fatal boating accident victims drowned. Of those drowning victims with reported life jacket usage, 83% were not wearing a life jacket.

    Further, according to the US Coast Guard stats, Most boating fatalities don't have anything to do with bad weather or hazardous sea conditions. They typically occur in smaller, open boats on inland waters during daylight hours when weather and visibility are good, the winds are light, and the water is calm.

    I have a variety of lifejackets to suit the situation.

    I have a beltpack, which is manually inflatable and use this when in the bay, in calm conditions when there are other capable boaters aboard my boat ( or the boat I am aboard.) It's like wearing a fanny pack--even less bulky. It has a hook I can hang a fishing rag on and a small Velcro pocket for some cash or a credit card.

    Screen Shot 2018-06-19 at 9.35.25 AM.jpg



    I have a suspenders type manual/ automatic that I wear most of the time. This is for when I am on open water and/ or aboard a boat which the crew I don't know,or know to be inexperienced. I will wear this when alone aboard the boat,or use my Type I below. Here I am wearing it. You can see its not too bulky at all.

    Screen Shot 2018-06-19 at 9.38.39 AM.jpg

    I have a Type I conventional lifejacket, that I wear when out on the ocean alone or while aboard the boat alone. The choice between the inflatable and the conventional is made based on the day. The conventional needs nothing to work: It's inherently reliable. But it is bulky and I may decided to trade some bulk and reliability off for the less bulk of the inflatable.

    I also have a vest that I wear when aboard fast boats--lets's say over 70 knots. A so called "100-mph" lifejacket is rated to stay on when you hit the water at high speed. These ARE hot and bulky. In addition to floatation material, they have flak material to protect against impact and the collar is such to inhibit water from catching under a helmet.




    Just as when working in my shop, I may wear safety glasses or full face shield; a dust mask or a cartridge respirator, I choose the PFD depending upon the scenario.

    Kevin

    EDIT: There is errant text/ screen shot showing on this post that I cannot seem to delete. Sorry.
    Attached Images Attached Images
    Last edited by Breakaway; 06-19-2018 at 09:10 AM.
    There are two kinds of boaters: those who have run aground, and those who lie about it.

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    Default Re: Just a PFD reminder

    Kayaker found in Long Island Sound off of Groton area. Found the kayak first with his fishing equipment and his PFD. Found him a few days later.
    \"Of all the things I\'ve lost, I miss my mind the most.\"

  18. #18
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    Default Re: Just a PFD reminder

    Kevin - deftly done. Thanks.
    David G
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    "It was a Sunday morning and Goddard gave thanks that there were still places where one could worship in temples not made by human hands." -- L. F. Herreshoff (The Compleat Cruiser)

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    Default Re: Just a PFD reminder

    Quote Originally Posted by Chris249 View Post
    And how many people can get back on board while wearing a PFD?
    This is a really important factor for me. I sail alone mostly, in a low freeboard sail-and-oar style boat. If I capsize, a PFD (especially the inflatable type) would be a major hindrance to self-rescue.

    Quote Originally Posted by Chris249 View Post
    The odd thing is that most of these issues could probably be better solved by wearing a harness and a wetsuit or survival suit, but that's almost totally unknown on a typical yacht and yet many people wear PFDs that are probably less useful.
    Again, I agree. Cold water poses much more serious risks than simply falling overboard. A drysuit or similar is a far more effective survival tool than a PFD--at least, for people who can swim.

    My boat has a boomless mainsail. I have concluded that the chances of me ending up overboard and unconscious are virtually zero. Thus, I'd rather be able to move freely to self-rescue than wear a PFD. I do wear a drysuit on challenging days.

    Tom
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  20. #20
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    Default Re: Just a PFD reminder

    Quote Originally Posted by Breakaway View Post
    one only has to, " need," the device once for it to really matter. Problem is, we don't know when that one time is going to occur, so the smart move is to protect oneself at all times.
    So logically, given that we never know when we might trip and fall while ashore, the smart move is to wear a helmet at all times.

    There was a good thread on risk in small boat sailing a few years back that we both contributed to. What I learned there was an interesting matrix of risk assessment that considers 3 factors:

    1. Severity of consequence

    2. Probability that those consequences will happen

    3. Length of time you will be exposed to the risky situation

    I don't consider it particularly dangerous to be in the water while conscious--severity is very low. Especially since I own a drysuit and use it where appropriate.

    I don't consider it likely that I will fall overboard. I consider it EXTREMELY unlikely that I will be unconscious if I do. So probability is very low.

    Exposure--high. But with the other two factors so low, that doesn't bother me much.

    I do know from personal experience that it is more difficult to self-rescue a sail & oar boat from a capsize while wearing a pfd.

    This is not an argument designed to convince anyone to match their habits to mine, but merely to point out that being thoughtful about your choices matters more than following a one-size-fits-all rule. I expect many here will disagree strenuously with me. I'm comfortable with my choices.

    Tom
    Last edited by WI-Tom; 06-19-2018 at 05:01 PM.
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    Default Re: Just a PFD reminder

    Quote Originally Posted by WI-Tom View Post
    This is a really important factor for me. I sail alone mostly, in a low freeboard sail-and-oar style boat. If I capsize, a PFD (especially the inflatable type) would be a major hindrance to self-rescue.



    Again, I agree. Cold water poses much more serious risks than simply falling overboard. A drysuit or similar is a far more effective survival tool than a PFD--at least, for people who can swim.

    My boat has a boomless mainsail. I have concluded that the chances of me ending up overboard and unconscious are virtually zero. Thus, I'd rather be able to move freely to self-rescue than wear a PFD. I do wear a drysuit on challenging days.

    Tom
    Have to disagree. Your chances are not not not not not zero.

    I was called back from college to join the group searching for the body of a childhood friend. We found it. He was out alone in winter in a powerboat. No boom involved. The coroner's conclusion was that he slipped or somesuch, hit his head on the way overboard, and - unconscious or dazed, and without a PFD - drowned. Losing Tom that way made an impression.

    Another time, I watched a friend step wrong on a dock, knock himself unconscious and roll off into the water. Several of us saw and responded. But if he'd been alone? Easy enough to do aboard as well. You don't need a boom to clonk you.

    And growing up at the mouth of the Columbia - I knew several bar pilots. One pilot story that has been written up had a pilot falling off a boarding ladder outside the bar. His crew couldn't find him, but he had flotation on (of course... he's a pro) and was carried South along the coastline for hours. He staved off hypothermia by keeping active, and was eventually rescued by a commercial fishing boat - iirc - hours and many miles later.

    If your boat is impossible to re-board with a PFD on, and you're fine except for that impediment, how hard would it be then to shuck it, toss it aboard, then climb in yourself?
    David G
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    "It was a Sunday morning and Goddard gave thanks that there were still places where one could worship in temples not made by human hands." -- L. F. Herreshoff (The Compleat Cruiser)

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    Default Re: Just a PFD reminder

    This is a really important factor for me. I sail alone mostly, in a low freeboard sail-and-oar style boat. If I capsize, a PFD (especially the inflatable type) would be a major hindrance to self-rescue.
    If that's the case, take it off and climb aboard. Nothing to stop you from doing that, in that particular scenario.

    Again, I agree. Cold water poses much more serious risks than simply falling overboard. A drysuit or similar is a far more effective survival tool than a PFD--at least, for people who can swim.
    Agree, while codfishing in our winters here, I bring my Gumby suit. But I am wearing a pfd.

    I must say, swimming ability has nothing to do with it. No one can swim in really cold water. And no one can swim if they are injured.

    For the record, I was a champion swimmer and ocean-rated lifeguard.

    I have concluded that the chances of me ending up overboard and unconscious are virtually zero.
    You wish it. You want it to be so. There is no conclusion that comes up zero.

    Kevin
    There are two kinds of boaters: those who have run aground, and those who lie about it.

  23. #23
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    Default Re: Just a PFD reminder

    I clip on at sea , at night, for the same reason my wife does...that the horror of the OTHER person going lost overboard is minimized.
    We clip onto a spot inside the companionway, that a hard snatch makes a distinctive loud sound.
    Alone at sea.. I do not normally clip in.

    I wear a nice snug 4 point vest when bombing around in my 2 cycle devil boat,I had it on when Wizbang hit the railroad rip rap and my chest broke the dashboard...that worked out well. But honestly, I wear it so cops leave me the f##k alone.

    When I see folks zipping about in their zode with their elbow up in the air and an orange Pez dispenser on,my thought is NOT, oh there is a safety conscious fellow.

    PFD is mostly lip service.

  24. #24
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    Default Re: Just a PFD reminder

    This thread is an illustration of the aptness of Mr. McColgin's long-appreciated phrase concerning the WBF: Pungent Personalities. <G>
    David G
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    "It was a Sunday morning and Goddard gave thanks that there were still places where one could worship in temples not made by human hands." -- L. F. Herreshoff (The Compleat Cruiser)

  25. #25
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    Default Re: Just a PFD reminder

    I wear an auto inflating pfd vest while in any of my boats, including the dinghy while going from shore to moored boat. I do this because I figure anything can happen at any time. Life's experience has taught this to all of us. So the pfd makes me a bit more comfortable. It's a hedge against disaster and maybe by having it on I stay a little more aware of the inherent danger of being on the water.

    I use the light weight vest because it's comfortable and doesn't restrict my movements at all. Summer here is hot so wearing the full/padded vest would be ghastly hot. I might be like my friend and leave it unfastened in the front. Then it's just something to grab when in the water.

    I also use the pfd now, as an old fart, because I think I used up all my good lucky breaks when I was a stupid teenager.

    Jeff

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    Default Re: Just a PFD reminder

    Quote Originally Posted by David G View Post
    Have to disagree. Your chances are not not not not not zero.
    Quote Originally Posted by Breakaway View Post
    There is no conclusion that comes up zero.
    You are both trying to tell me I said something that I never said. "Virtually zero" does not mean zero.

    Your chances are not zero of tripping over the curb and hitting your head while walking the streets. That does not make me feel I need to wear a helmet.

    As for this:

    take it off and climb aboard. Nothing to stop you from doing that, in that particular scenario.
    My priorities in a capsize situation are to right the boat, then get back in. I'd rather not add another awkward step at an already busy time. Especially when the water is cool or cold, I want to minimize immersion time.

    But hey, do what you are comfortable with. I am not asking anyone else to do as I do. Perhaps I deserve the same courtesy?

    Tom
    Last edited by WI-Tom; 06-19-2018 at 09:33 PM.
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  27. #27
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    Default Re: Just a PFD reminder

    I am not asking anyone else to do as I do. Perhaps I deserve the same courtesy?
    Privately, yes. But this is a public forum. One populated, on the whole, by very knowledgeable people. But it is also one visited by first time boaters who do not know the bow from a bow tie. Such a person needs to hear that wearing a lifejacket is the best course of action.

    Our posts are read by many more than the just the active participants and, in my opinion, we should write with that in mind.

    Kevin
    There are two kinds of boaters: those who have run aground, and those who lie about it.

  28. #28
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    Default Re: Just a PFD reminder

    Well said Kevin.

    I can claim that my life was saved by a lifejacket on at least one occasion.

  29. #29
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    Default Re: Just a PFD reminder

    Quote Originally Posted by WI-Tom View Post
    I expect many here will disagree strenuously with me.
    Well, I wasn't wrong about this, at least...

    Tom
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    Default Re: Just a PFD reminder

    Quote Originally Posted by Phil Y View Post
    Bulky and uncomfortable, thereby restricting movement.
    Get a manual inflate with a crotch strap.
    The definition of stupid has got to be the belief that more guns will negate the bloodshed done with guns.

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    Default Re: Just a PFD reminder

    Just waiting for someone in uniform to harass me for distance swimming without my PFD

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    Default Re: Just a PFD reminder

    Quote Originally Posted by David G View Post
    I was called back from college to join the group searching for the body of a childhood friend. We found it. He was out alone in winter in a powerboat. No boom involved. The coroner's conclusion was that he slipped or somesuch, hit his head on the way overboard, and - unconscious or dazed, and without a PFD - drowned. Losing Tom that way made an impression.

    Another time, I watched a friend step wrong on a dock, knock himself unconscious and roll off into the water. Several of us saw and responded. But if he'd been alone? Easy enough to do aboard as well. You don't need a boom to clonk you.
    Years ago I interviewed a former USN officer who was the head of US Sailing's Safety Committee. As he said, if you fall in unconscious, all a PFD will do is make it easier to find your body. That's not inconsiderable, but it underlines that if you are dazed, exhausted or unconscious you are going to die from secondary drowning pretty quickly.

  33. #33
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    Default Re: Just a PFD reminder

    Quote Originally Posted by Chris249 View Post
    Years ago I interviewed a former USN officer who was the head of US Sailing's Safety Committee. As he said, if you fall in unconscious, all a PFD will do is make it easier to find your body. That's not inconsiderable, but it underlines that if you are dazed, exhausted or unconscious you are going to die from secondary drowning pretty quickly.
    Actually... that's less true than it used to be, and depends upon the PFD.
    David G
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  34. #34
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    Default Re: Just a PFD reminder

    Re "Arguing against a PFD is ridiculous. We've all gotten away with not wearing one--myself included--, just as many of us have gotten away without injury despite not wearing eye protection or a respirator or proper shoes. No one of us has gills and fins and, like goggles or a hardhat or a seatbelt, one only has to, " need," the device once for it to really matter. Problem is, we don't know when that one time is going to occur, so the smart move is to protect oneself at all times."

    No, it can be a perfectly rational approach in an area (namely, assessment of risk) that is notoriously open to bias. Humans are famously poor at assessing the likelihood of various risks.
    Sadly, I have yet to be able to find a good statistical study that shows the real risks of boating. All the information I can find (and I have gone as far as talking to the head of US Sailing's Safety Committee, an expert from Surf Life Saving Australia, etc) indicates that it's a safe way to spend time, especially if one avoids the sort of boats you appear to use.


    Re "
    Chris you are not making a fair comparison when you compare boating accidents to those accidents that occur relative society as a whole. When doing that, it's expected that boating deaths would rank small: boaters represent a very small percentage of the overall population. Make the comparison of deaths to total boaters and the numbers are more real.'

    I did NOT do the comparison you believe.
    I should have been clearer and less flippant. I actually looked at the risk per person per day in racing offshore in Australian waters over several decades, and compared that to the risk per person per day of normal life. There appears to be very little difference between the two. The fact that we perceive one activity as risky is apparently because of the well-known cognitive bias towards believing that "catastrophic" risks are higher than chronic risks, in the same way that people are overly scared of sharks.



    Re- drownings "
    typically occur in smaller, open boats on inland waters during daylight hours when weather and visibility are good, the winds are light, and the water is calm." It's the same here in Australia - overwhelmingly and disproportionately, drownings occur in small open powerboats even when allowing for their popularity.

    So if reducing risk is important to you what are you doing getting into a small open powerboat? USCG stats show how often they capsize, and that capsize is the leading cause of boating drownings (table 16, 2014 USCG report). To get into such dangerous craft and then to decry the choices made by those who prefer to use safer craft but often without a PFD does not appear to be logical. If you are going to be concerned about risks, you should probably stop running about in small open powerboats.

    Yes, wearing safety gear can be good. I started using a personal strobe in 1979, when they were rare. I wear a PFD when dinghy sailing and a harness when singlehanding offshore. However, we have to be conscious that we are not good at assessing risks and also that there can be "revenge effects" whereby people are put off an activity because of the perceived risk and the safety gear, and that going out in many types of boat is actually very safe.

    We know the major risks to our lives - inactivity, smoking and cars. We'd probably save more lives by saying "get out and paddle around in a canoe without a PFD, but just get out there and move your body" than by mandating PFDs, helmets, harnesses, strobes, personal EPIRBS and rescue divers following each boat. And from an old study (Chris Rissel at USyd, if I recall correctly) by far the most important piece of safety gear we can use is a bicycle helmet IN OUR CAR. If we are going to be rational about risks, it is very hard to argue we should wear PFDs while boating, but not wear extra safety gear while driving to the boat.





    Last edited by Chris249; 06-19-2018 at 07:46 PM.

  35. #35
    Join Date
    Apr 1999
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    Default Re: Just a PFD reminder

    I am surprised that "a former USN officer who was the head of US Sailing's Safety Committee" would display such bland ignorance of performance standards for Type I versus Type II versus Type III versus Type V PFD's do. Maybe he just meant that that Type III or V might be slow to roll you face up and might not if you have a roll of quarters in your front pocket.

    I thought I'd like the modern inflatable, the best of which is by Mustang, but honestly the CO2 bottle is clunky. I like the SAR vest I mostly wear. Not too hot even on a fierce day. Type V's made for kayakers are pretty good - no chafe under the arm pits - but I like something a little longer. Any good sport or SAR PFD will not get in your way hauling over a gunnel.

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