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Thread: Just a PFD reminder

  1. #36
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    Default Re: Just a PFD reminder

    Nope, he was talking about the fact that an unconscious person wearing even a Type 1 PFD rotates in the water so their face is into the wind, where wave action will normally cause them to inhale enough water to drown even when their head is not actually under the static waterline. It's been accepted as a major risk factor since the '70s but it's surprisingly hard to find information about it.

    "He", by the way, was the much respected John Bonds PhD, who created the Quick Stop method. He was also a firm believer in PFD use, but he also believed that the facts about PFD use should be known.

    In Australia we seem to have a different experience insofar as there are few reported instances of people going overboard from racing yachts. I assume that the warmer water and a more beach-oriented culture with more people who come from small boat sailing may make MOB recovery easier and safer.
    Last edited by Chris249; 06-19-2018 at 08:01 PM.

  2. #37
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    Default Re: Just a PFD reminder

    Yeah. I swam in, as it were, on an Pan Am training for ditching. They had a part of a 707 in a pool and we got to deploy the rafts and all that. And we learned that there had be storm condition drownings of people being sloshed by waves and driven spray. Even when awake. It really did not matter how you were oriented to the wind and waves. In those conditions, you might well drown unless you can take active measures including breath control.

    That's not a valid argument against a PFD. It's more like saying the motor cycle helmets are pointless because if you are flying into a wall head first at 60 mph, the helmet will not help. Duhh.

    USCG stats are a bit elusive on whether more guys drown for not wearing a PFD or drown with their zipper open, but you get the point. PFDs really do prevent many drownings. And if they aid in body recovery, that's good also.

    I'll tell you this: If I ever take a tumble off my boat and miss my Hail Mary line, I'd be happy to have a PFD on even though I can now (fat with age) float in salt water and even though I have the skills to carry on without a PFD for at least 24 hours assuming no hypothermia.

    One of my older sailing idols slipped off his enginless schooner one summer's morning in Nantucket Sound. His grandson had no idea how to control the boat but did have the wit to hurl everything he could grab at his receeding grandfather and then used his cell phone (having no clue how to run the VHF) to call the Coast Guard. He was instructed to drop the sails and hang while they sent help. Two of those wonderful 47' MLBs made the scene and four helos were buzzing about in search patterns. One MLB towed the schooner in while the other coordinated with the helos. There may have been several waves in the air. The search ran from before noon till almost 1930. The last helo to turn back was on its last pass when they spotted something orange in the water. It was high summer so hypothermia was not an issue and my friend is an exceptionally calm man. He's fine. No matter how good you are, it's nice to have something to hang on to.

  3. #38
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    Default Re: Just a PFD reminder

    In Australia we seem to have a different experience insofar as there are few reported instances of people going overboard from racing yachts
    Chris, isn't the amount of boaters using racing yachts an infinitesimally tiny percentage of the total boating population?

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

  4. #39
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    Default Re: Just a PFD reminder

    I'm not claiming that PFDs are useless, or anything like that. The point is that we have to assess use of protective equipment and other aspects of risk in a rational manner. As noted, humans are notoriously bad at judging risks and therefore it is very rational to say that before I wear something I don't like wearing, I would like to see proper statistical evidence that it has a worthwhile chance of improving my odds of getting home from a pleasant sail around the bay. Considering that my chances of getting home are incredibly high, it is perfectly rational to not try to improve them.

    We can always find apocryphal examples either way. I can give you several examples where people I know have ended up in the ocean at night, with no PFD, and survived. I also know of one example where a safety device (a harness) led directly to a death. The point is that apocryphal examples provide no factual evidence.

    However, to use an apocryphal example, in 45 years of sailing and years of living on board, I've once fallen off a yacht (although I didn't lose hold and pulled myself aboard before the broach ended, so I wasn't a MOB and a PFD would actually have hindered me). What other risks that occur once in 45 years do we wear uncomfortable protective clothing to ameliorate? I've been punched once in 55 years, in broad daylight in a country town's main street. Rationally, therefore, I should wear a faceguard when I'm walking the streets of country towns since the occurrence rate of a punch in the face is pretty much the same as the occurence rate of falling overboard. Similarly, I've been bitten by a dog once in 55 years, therefore I should wear protective gear whenever I'm near a dog since the occurrence rate of the risk is roughly the same as the occurence rate of falling overboard.*

    If the risk is the same, and the outcome is similar, it is hard to argue that I should wear a PFD when sailing but not wear protective gear in small country towns or when near dogs.

    I'm NOT talking about something like not using a motorbike helmet - there is abundant proof that they save lives and injuries. For most of us who sail, drowning is NOT an appreciable risk. It's way, way down the list of things we may die from.

    Surely we should attend to the risks that pose a greater danger, before we attend to risks that pose a lesser danger. If one is going to say "hey, putting on a PFD is no hassle" then arguably one should also say to oneself "hey, putting on a bicycle helmet when driving my car and walking to the office is no hassle". One could also arguably say "well, I'll stop boating because it's too risky, and instead I will go to the gym in my helmet and work out because inactivity is my biggest risk".

    Until proper information about the risk of drowning for sailors is presented, and when the only information I can find indicates that there is NO extra risk involved in going to sailing rather than sitting around the house, then it's reasonable to say that wearing a scratchy PFD that clanks and catches on things or is sweaty is not required.


    * Note, since I lived on board for years, I have probably spent more hours on board than walking the streets of small country towns, and about half as many hours on board as near dogs in my adult life. So the exposure to the risks is roughly similar.

  5. #40
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    Default Re: Just a PFD reminder

    It may also be worth saying that finding your body can be of huge significance not only to loved ones, but also to rescuers who can then conclude the search and reduce their own risk.

    Nicholas

  6. #41
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    Default Re: Just a PFD reminder

    Quote Originally Posted by Chris249 View Post
    Considering that my chances of getting home are incredibly high, it is perfectly rational to not try to improve them.
    That summarizes my own thinking concisely.

    The other significant bit for me is, my own experience has shown me that wearing a PFD will actually make it more difficult to recover from a capsize in my kind of boats. Could I still do it? Yes. But I'd rather not make what will already be a stressful and busy situation even more challenging.

    It's not that I am choosing to ignore safety concerns; I simply choose--thoughtfully and rationally--to prioritize other safety measures over a PFD. I think it's far more likely (though still not likely) that I will have to self-rescue than it is that I will need to rely on a PFD.

    Tom
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  7. #42
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    Default Re: Just a PFD reminder

    For most of us who sail, drowning is NOT an appreciable risk. It's way, way down the list of things we may die from.
    It's not. It is, in fact, the opposite. Drowning is the primary cause of death for recreational boaters. In my country and in yours.

    https://www.royallifesaving.com.au/_...YearReport.pdf

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

  8. #43
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    Default Re: Just a PFD reminder

    Quote Originally Posted by Chris249 View Post
    For most of us who sail, drowning is NOT an appreciable risk. It's way, way down the list of things we may die from.
    Quote Originally Posted by Breakaway View Post
    It's not. It is, in fact, the opposite. Drowning is the primary cause of death for recreational boaters. In my country and in yours.

    https://www.royallifesaving.com.au/_...YearReport.pdf

    Kevin
    From your link, I don't see any statements contradicting Chris's claim that sailing is comparatively safe--certainly far safer than driving to the beach in the first place (yet we all drive without wearing helmets). I did find this:

    Most boating and watercraft drowning deaths occurredin powered vessels under 5 meters in length (includingdinghy’s, runabouts, tinnies, dory’s), followed by paddlecraft (kayaks, canoes, surf skis).

    The number of lives lost when using small powered boatsand paddlecraft (canoes, kayaks, surf skis) are of highconcern, given the increased accessibility and availabilityof these vessels.
    I'm not convinced that lumping sailors in with men fishing from small open powerboats, or paddling recreational kayaks, makes for a valid comparison. For one thing, I suspect those are the kinds of boats that are most accessible to people who don't have much experience in recognizing and dealing with dangerous situations.

    Tom
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  9. #44
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    Default Re: Just a PFD reminder

    I'm not convinced that lumping sailors in with men fishing from small open powerboats, or paddling recreational kayaks, makes for a valid comparison. For one thing, I suspect those are the kinds of boats that are most accessible to people who don't have much experience in recognizing and dealing with dangerous situations.

    Tom
    Sailing accident rate is up and so is accident rate for those participating in organized competition. A cut-and-paste from the same report:

    Screen Shot 2018-06-20 at 1.15.14 AM.jpg

    Kevin
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  10. #45
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    Default Re: Just a PFD reminder

    Most boating and watercraft drowning deaths occurredin powered vessels under 5 meters in length (includingdinghy’s, runabouts, tinnies, dory’s), followed by paddlecraft (kayaks, canoes, surf skis).
    There are 166,000 registered sailing craft in Australia. There are 1.1 million registered powerboats. Of course powerboat accidents/ injuries/ will be greater. That type of boat is overwhelmingly most numerous, just as it is here in the US.

    https://www.statista.com/statistics/...rship-by-type/

    Screen Shot 2018-06-20 at 1.22.04 AM.jpg

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

  11. #46
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    Default Re: Just a PFD reminder

    Quote Originally Posted by Breakaway View Post
    Sailing accident rate is up and so is accident rate for those participating in organized competition.
    But we're talking about drownings, not accidents or capsizes. I don't see anything about the number of drownings in what you posted. What I see in your source is this:

    Powered boats accounted for 71.5% deaths (228) andnon-powered watercraft 28.5% (126)
    And:

    Paddle craft combined (canoes, kayaks, surf skis)accounted for one third (33.3%) of all unpowered craft,followed by surf boards (28.3%)
    From the charts in your source, it appears that 4 out of 473 drowning deaths in 10 years possibly involved small sailboats in the typical sail & oar size range. So, 4 deaths involving sailboats in 10 years, from a country with 166,000 sailboats. That seems pretty safe.

    Tom
    Last edited by WI-Tom; 06-20-2018 at 12:38 AM.
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  12. #47
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    Default Re: Just a PFD reminder

    From the charts in your source, it appears that 4 out of 473 drowning deaths in 10 years possibly involved small sailboats in the typical sail & oar size range. So, 4 deaths involving sailboats from a country with 166,000 sailboats. That seems pretty safe.
    Very few people have a sailboat in the sail and oar size, Tom. Very few, compared to all boaters overall. So, naturally, any numbers involving anything to do with such vessels are going to be very small. (I betcha zero people drowned from Pink-Polka Dot painted boats. But painting your boat with polka dots won't make it safer. See what I mean? )

    I think we are slicing the pie too thin. PFD use is about being on the water-or in it. Not so much about boat type. Nobody plans on going in the water, regardless of their conveyance.

    Kevin
    Last edited by Breakaway; 06-20-2018 at 12:43 AM.
    There are two kinds of boaters: those who have run aground, and those who lie about it.

  13. #48
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    Default Re: Just a PFD reminder

    Quote Originally Posted by Breakaway View Post
    It's not. It is, in fact, the opposite. Drowning is the primary cause of death for recreational boaters. In my country and in yours.

    https://www.royallifesaving.com.au/_...YearReport.pdf

    Kevin
    Sorry Kevin, you are wrong. As the report shows, on average 1.6 people drown from yachts in Australia per annum.* Data from Australian Sailing shows that about 380,000 people sail a yacht each year in Australia. A typical yacht sailor therefore has about one chance in 200,000 of drowning in a year. That is way, way down on the list of ways a sailor could die in any given year. (EDIT - see Tom's analysis which shows that small sailboats are even safer).

    To put it in perspective, people in the USA have in every year, a one in 50,000 chance of dying as a pedestrian and a one in 140,000 chance of dying as a result of a fall from stairs or steps. A yacht sailor's chance of dying in any year from drowning is only double their chance of dying through falling off furniture. It's half your chance of choking to death, or of getting poisoned (source http://www.purewatergazette.net/oddsofdying.htm)

    If you are going to wear protective gear because of a one in 200,000 chance of death, you should consider doing the same when you are walking or when sitting on a chair - yet how many people do?


    PS - the rise in reported sailing competition incidents is because it's only fairly recently that the authorities told us we had to report such incidents. Theoretically I think we have to report every touch between two windsurfer rigs during a race, or perhaps every time we call buoy room in a Laser event. Contact between racing yachts was never reported in earlier times.

    * From what I believe some of those lost would not have survived, PFD or no PFD. Recent incidents include a lone sailor whose boat was found ashore days later; one of three crew who abandoned a large boat in heavy conditions; two sailors who were IIRC down below when the boat lost a keel and rolled; one who went overboard in very rough conditions in which a search was extremely difficult; and two who were lost when a yacht hit a reef at speed, of whom one was physically crushed if I recall correctly. In most of those incidents, wearing a PFD would have made little if any difference.

    Take out the incidents involving heavy weather offshore (in which wearing safety gear is a good idea) and the incidents where a PFD would have made no difference (like getting trapped inside an inverted yacht, or falling off while singlehanding and letting your yacht sail on for hundreds of miles without you) and it seems that the instances where wearing a PFD would have saved a yachty in our warm water become even rarer.
    Last edited by Chris249; 06-20-2018 at 04:34 AM.

  14. #49
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    Default Re: Just a PFD reminder

    Quote Originally Posted by Breakaway View Post
    Very few people have a sailboat in the sail and oar size, Tom. Very few, compared to all boaters overall.
    Which is part of the reason I don't care to accept one-size-fits-all rules about PFDs or anything else. They rarely apply to what I am doing. Very few people understand what a small sailboat, sensibly handled, is or isn't capable of.

    I'm also cognizant of my own physical capabilities. Being in the water while conscious simply isn't a big risk for me if I am dressed for the water temperature. That may not be true of other boaters, who should make their own thoughtful choices about PFD use, as I do.

    Quote Originally Posted by Breakaway View Post
    I think we are slicing the pie too thin. PFD use is about being on the water-or in it. Not so much about boat type.
    The statistics in the report you cited suggest the opposite--that boat type is indeed a major factor in who drowns. Not only power vs. sailboat (speed always makes things dangerous), and the relative accessibility of powerboats and paddlecraft to inexperienced users, but also the activity involved in those boats. For example, 27.9% of deaths resulted from fishing, a typical power boat and kayak activity.

    I do not believe in adopting blanket rules that disregard the specific context of the situations the rules are meant to deal with. Ignoring boat type and activity does not allow an accurate risk assessment.

    Those who feel more comfortable using a PFD should do so.

    But I'm with Chris--statistically, measurably, sailing does not present much risk of drowning.

    Tom
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    These are The UK figures for drowning deaths in the UK (accident (242) and natural causes (13)


    http://www.nationalwatersafety.org.uk

    Trying to establish what it means in terms of overall dangers would be hard, participation rates and times in the water would all be required.

    Some things to leap out
    Cycling deaths 3 (1 shore 2 river so safe to assume they fell in while cycling)
    Sailing deaths 2
    Running / walking 106

    Overall I think it is safe to say that more sailors end up in the water than cyclists, runners and walkers. I would imagine by a very large factor.
    The sailors here in the UK would almost certainly be wearing PFD and unless they where off to go sailing the others not. There is another factor also, the sailors would be better dressed for immersion while the cyclists and runners likely to be in light clothes due to the exertion, walkers in outdoor clothes.

    For the cyclists, runners and walkers there will be a large aspect of the deaths attributed to the shock of immersion but as we do generally wear PFD in the UK the low numbers of sailing deaths show how effective wearing them is.

    When you read a report of someone drowning while sailing what is your first question? - always well was he wearing a life jacket, if the answer is a no what is your next thought........





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  16. #51
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    Default Re: Just a PFD reminder

    I had to chuck my 8 year old overboard from the tender during the summer. We were heading back into shore from the boat, maritime (fine) were about. If you are under 12 in a tender you must wear a jacket. 100m in glassy water, no breeze, water temp in the mid 20's. He was swimming off the big boat anyway and jumped aboard as i passed, for the ride. He was upset, he thought i was angry at him for no reason.
    Clearly safer for an 8 year old to be in the water without a pfd than in the boat without a pfd. Not sure why.


    I wear a pfd in the tender - its the law.
    I wear a pfd in the tender - voluntarily - when its choppy. Getting stuff aboard from the tender is dicey in a chop. kids also wear pfd's in chop.
    I wear a pfd in the big boat when sailing alone - voluntarily. Kids wear pfd's when going to the bow in a chop.
    Often i find i'm wearing a pfd because I've put it on for the tender and forgot it was there.
    Jack stays at sea, with harness. No need to clip on in the cockpit, except at night.

    It is hard to swim in a pfd.
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    Quote Originally Posted by WX View Post
    Get a manual inflate with a crotch strap.


    No thanks. Clunky uncomfortable and inconvenient. Just another impediment to going to the loo.


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  18. #53
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    Default Re: Just a PFD reminder

    Quote Originally Posted by gypsie View Post
    I had to chuck my 8 year old overboard from the tender during the summer. We were heading back into shore from the boat, maritime (fine) were about. If you are under 12 in a tender you must wear a jacket. 100m in glassy water, no breeze, water temp in the mid 20's. He was swimming off the big boat anyway and jumped aboard as i passed, for the ride. He was upset, he thought i was angry at him for no reason.
    Clearly safer for an 8 year old to be in the water without a pfd than in the boat without a pfd. Not sure why.


    I wear a pfd in the tender - its the law.
    I wear a pfd in the tender - voluntarily - when its choppy. Getting stuff aboard from the tender is dicey in a chop. kids also wear pfd's in chop.
    I wear a pfd in the big boat when sailing alone - voluntarily. Kids wear pfd's when going to the bow in a chop.
    Often i find i'm wearing a pfd because I've put it on for the tender and forgot it was there.
    Jack stays at sea, with harness. No need to clip on in the cockpit, except at night.

    It is hard to swim in a pfd.
    I love it - I'm just waiting for the day when Maritime are hanging around and I don't have a PFD in the dinghy. I plan to swim out, towing the dinghy as I go, because according to Maritime that's safer than rowing it out......

    I had some involvement with a Maritime NSW proposal for PFDs. They had abysmal knowledge of the facts - for example they claimed that windsurfing was a growth sport and therefore windsurfers needed to wear PFDs at all times. In fact windsurfing's popularity has collapsed, and the fact that they did not know it indicates they had zero idea of what is happening on the waterways. I also asked Surf Life Saving Australia about the proposal to require PFDs to be worn when wavesailing - their response was "why do they want to kill people?"?

  19. #54
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    Default Re: Just a PFD reminder

    Quote Originally Posted by tink View Post

    When you read a report of someone drowning while sailing what is your first question? - always well was he wearing a life jacket, if the answer is a no what is your next thought........





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    That's certainly not my first question.

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    Default Re: Just a PFD reminder

    Quote Originally Posted by Hwyl View Post
    Well said Kevin.

    I can claim that my life was saved by a lifejacket on at least one occasion.
    There's nothing apocryphal about this Chris. Four of us hard core dinghy racers, many years ago were racing a dayboat, because the dinghy racing had been cancelled due to high wind. It was blowing 25 knots or so, we had the chute up and were about 1/2 a mile ahead of second. We got to a place where the tidal currents meet and there were a bunch of small pyramid like standing waves. With the current against us, our apparent wind went up and we broached. The boat sank in less than 5 seconds, it had no buoyancy.

    Our lifejackets were under the foredeck. It was really hard to swim in the chop. The boat that was second sailed by, but was having a hard time maneuvering in the confused sea. Their bow wave was making the seas harder to swim in.
    Then they threw us some lifejackets, which made it a lot easier to hold our mouths above water. Then a launch came and rescued us.

    I've sailed quite a few miles since then (more than 150K) but that lesson stayed with me.

  21. #56
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    Default Re: Just a PFD reminder

    Just saw this, my kids had jackets like that.

    https://www.facebook.com/holly.muell...4369796263183/

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    Default Re: Just a PFD reminder

    Sorry, I should have said anecdotal rather than apocryphal and I apologise.

    I don't think anyone has said that in 25 knots+ and short waves you shouldn't be wearing a PFD in a dayboat without a lot of buoyancy. Certainly I wouldn't say that. However, the thread started out with an instance of a guy on a dead calm day within 100 metres of shore and developed with people talking about wearing a PFD almost all the time, even when on a large boat in calm conditions. With respect, that's very different to wearing one in a boat with no buoyancy on a day when some racing has been cancelled.

    I'm very aware that there have been illogical bias against PFDs in the past. If there had not been, I may still have a father. When I go out where he died (a large open bay), on the sort of boat from which he was lost (fast racing cat) I always wear a PFD, just as I normally do on a Laser and often do on a windsurfer. But that's different from implying that one should wear one almost all the time, or all the time. The main issue is that the response to the risk should arguably in proportion to the degree of risk, and in many conditions the risk is extremely low. The other issue is that the response to the risk should be in proportion to the response to other risks, which is why some of us point out that if you're going to wear a PFD on a yacht in calm conditions you should perhaps wear a helmet when driving or walking to the boat, since the risk appears to be similar and the response is similar in cost and convenience.

    I carry and use lots of safety gear. I've lost too many people I knew, and it only takes one day of unsuccessfully searching for people you knew to drive home the message once more. However, that doesn't mean one has to carry gear when the risk is tiny.

    I also tend to wonder, personally, whether practise in rough-water swimming and getting back aboard could actually be better ways to improve one's chances, at least in warm water (very cold water being a separate issue). After all, when you wipe-out when wavesailing on a windsurfer you may have to swim hundreds of meters in 5m waves and high winds and it's not hard. In a similar vein, lots of people around here spend an hour at a time bobbing around in big breaking waves body surfing without difficulty. Similarly, one can easily get back aboard something like a J/35 singlehanded if you're used to doing it; my 51 year old wife can get back aboard the 28'er alone from the water without using a ladder or step. Perhaps if one is going to go to the lengths of wearing a PFD in calm water on a hot day, one should also go to the length of getting lots of open water swimming practise and lots of practice getting back aboard?
    Last edited by Chris249; 06-20-2018 at 07:34 AM.

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    Default Re: Just a PFD reminder

    I am going to leave this discussion. It is drifting, as threads inevitably do, for one thing ( and I take some blame) and I'd prefer not to create rancor. We are all, " big boys and girls."

    Kevin
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    Default Re: Just a PFD reminder

    I almost always wear my PFD. Why?
    1. It is safer under many conditions.
    2. It is warmer - often a good thing when I sail or paddle.
    2. When the safety aspect is moot, or the extra warmth is not required, it is good to practice how to paddle, sail, etc. while wearing it, so I can be that much more able when conditions require it.

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    Default Re: Just a PFD reminder

    Its like reefing, if you're thinking you need one, you should have done it earlier.
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    Location
    Portland, Oregon
    Posts
    50,469

    Default Re: Just a PFD reminder

    Stolen from Michael Storer --

    David G
    Harbor Woodworks
    https://www.facebook.com/HarborWoodworks/

    "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)

  27. #62
    Join Date
    Dec 2011
    Location
    North East England
    Posts
    1,313

    Default Re: Just a PFD reminder

    That is one seriously jinxed lake, but drives the point home

  28. #63
    Join Date
    Aug 2006
    Location
    Rockford, IL
    Posts
    9,759

    Default Re: Just a PFD reminder

    I wish I had a link to post, however, my wife received a FB post video today showing a father demonstrating a child's PFD (labeled "up tp 50-lbs) which when the child is floating in a swimming pool WILL INVARIABLY TURN A CHILD FACE-DOWN IN THE W#ATER! The video shows the father first fitting his daughter with the PFD, then going into their pool. The father mentions UL approval, but does not mention USCG.

  29. #64
    Join Date
    Aug 2006
    Location
    Rockford, IL
    Posts
    9,759

    Default Re: Just a PFD reminder

    The behind-the-head flap/collar seems inordinately broad, while the in-front torso section appears to have little roll-resistance, therefore the neck flap commands the vests attitude.

  30. #65
    Join Date
    Mar 2015
    Location
    Victoria BC Canada
    Posts
    263

    Default Re: Just a PFD reminder

    I have never pulled a lifeless body, in a life-jacket or PFD, from the water.
    Some of the posts in this thread are truly mind boggling to me.
    However, I recognize everyone is entitled to their opinion.

    I wear a Mustang Navy, manually inflating and a helmet, when appropriate,
    because I can't pull the inflation cord if I'm unconscious.
    I also alert my crew that my PFD is not automatic should I go in, unconscious.
    I counterbalance that annoying CO2 cylinder with a clip-on knife.
    It's not hot and doesn't restrict my movement.
    It was an expensive investment, and worth every penny with more than
    double the buoyancy of other pfd and life jackets, self-righting, head supporting
    for unconscious breathing (but somebody else would have to pull the cord -
    unless I pre-inflated it before being struck in the head or otherwise losing consciousness.
    And, it won't slip over my head when inflated so acts like it has a crotch strap
    without having to put up with one!

    This has worked for me for my entire 28 year career as a commercial mariner.
    Below decks and above.

    Note: I can't tell you how many fire fighters I've seen jump into the pool in their full turn-out gear
    only to have their automatic Mustang fail to inflate...
    The one they've been wearing to countless, water oriented calls.
    Oddly enough, they don't think to pull the tab as an over-ride.
    That's how dependent they've become on the automatic feature.
    Good thing it was just a drill and help was right there.

    Fair winds.

  31. #66
    Join Date
    Apr 1999
    Location
    Hyannis, MA, USA
    Posts
    45,678

    Default Re: Just a PFD reminder

    I saw the same FB as Nicholas did. [#63] It had the USCG bit below. The father did not read any minimal child weight and it did say "infant" but it's not suitable for a child that small. It was so long on the child, down well below his waist, that he could only float horizontally and then of course the head pad would turn him over. A considerably smaller PFD and perhaps one without a back of the head flap was called for. The fellow seemed well meaning but ignorent. I wonder, given the size of the PFD, if he could have misread and that it was meant for a child OVER 50#? But if so, why the term "infant and child"?

    I don't care whether it's a child or an adult: Each PFD should be tested for suitability to the body involved. With inflatables people often strap them too tightly deflated and then get choked when it goes off. With foam PFDs people all too often don't consider the consequences of leaving them open or loose - as anyone might on a hot day. It just helps to know what to do. I favor in-water donning as part of the drill.

    With Type III units, I favor learning about your full range of mobility and the reduced odds of being turned face up if unconscious. The trade-off is that you can swim in a Type III.

  32. #67
    Join Date
    Apr 2010
    Location
    South Australia and Tasmania
    Posts
    15,748

    Default Re: Just a PFD reminder

    OK, lots of well informed reasons not to wear a life jacket, right there. I mean seriously, when I take some landlubberly friends sailing, I'm not going to ask each of them to don a life jacket and hop into the water fully clothed before we go sailing. And if firefighters, who spend most of their working lives training, can't safely use a life jacket, well, yeah, forget it.

  33. #68
    Join Date
    Jun 2013
    Posts
    2,421

    Default Re: Just a PFD reminder

    Quote Originally Posted by David G View Post
    Stolen from Michael Storer --

    But of course unless we know what proportion of lake users wear lifejackets, it tells us nothing.

    Here's some fun with statistics - something like 2% of Australians who go into the water (at a wild guess) wear lifejackets and yet 13% of people who drown wear lifejackets. Ergo, lifejackets increase your risk of drowning.

    Obviously they don't, but we can't just use raw numbers without knowing base rates.

  34. #69
    Join Date
    Jun 2013
    Posts
    2,421

    Default Re: Just a PFD reminder

    Quote Originally Posted by Tom Christie View Post
    I have never pulled a lifeless body, in a life-jacket or PFD, from the water.
    Some of the posts in this thread are truly mind boggling to me.
    However, I recognize everyone is entitled to their opinion.

    I wear a Mustang Navy, manually inflating and a helmet, when appropriate,
    because I can't pull the inflation cord if I'm unconscious.
    I also alert my crew that my PFD is not automatic should I go in, unconscious.
    I counterbalance that annoying CO2 cylinder with a clip-on knife.
    It's not hot and doesn't restrict my movement.
    It was an expensive investment, and worth every penny with more than
    double the buoyancy of other pfd and life jackets, self-righting, head supporting
    for unconscious breathing (but somebody else would have to pull the cord -
    unless I pre-inflated it before being struck in the head or otherwise losing consciousness.
    And, it won't slip over my head when inflated so acts like it has a crotch strap
    without having to put up with one!

    This has worked for me for my entire 28 year career as a commercial mariner.
    Below decks and above.

    Note: I can't tell you how many fire fighters I've seen jump into the pool in their full turn-out gear
    only to have their automatic Mustang fail to inflate...
    The one they've been wearing to countless, water oriented calls.
    Oddly enough, they don't think to pull the tab as an over-ride.
    That's how dependent they've become on the automatic feature.
    Good thing it was just a drill and help was right there.

    Fair winds.
    While your mind is being boggled, may I ask a couple of questions?

    1 - have you calculated the chance of a PFD saving you from drowning when boating?
    2- have you calculated how your chances of being saved by a PFD compare to your chances of being saved from death by using other forms of safety equipment, such as a helmet when you sit in a chair or in your car?
    3- have you ensured that you have taken correct action to address all the causes of death that are higher in probability than drowning?
    4- If not, why not? If we should wear a PFD to address a very slim chance of death, why not wear a helmet when walking or driving? It's probably more likely to save your life.
    5- How many hours per week do you spend in the water?
    6- Since USCG stats indicate that most drowning deaths are related to going overboard or capsizing, do you wear a harness at all times and use a boat that cannot capsize? If not, why criticise those who (for example) choose craft that self right and rarely capsize?
    7- If you choose to take on a hazardous career, can you really criticise those who have chosen safer careers for their decisions about risk?

    "Of 66 deaths in British shipping from 2003 to 2012, 49 were caused by accidents, which largely affected deck ratings. The fatal accident rate in British shipping increased by 4.7% per annum from 2003, although this was not significant (95% confidence interval: −5.1 to 15.6%). During 2003–12, the fatal accident rate in shipping (14.5 per 100 000) was 21 times that in the general British workforce, 4.7 times that in the construction industry and 13 times that in manufacturing."

    Your career has a much higher death rate than mine. I'm not denigrating your choice of career. Why denigrate those of us who spend lots of time in the water without a PFD (surfing, bodysurfing, swimming etc) and also have an approach to risk that is based on addressing major dangers and not minor ones?
    Last edited by Chris249; 06-24-2018 at 05:00 AM.

  35. #70
    Join Date
    Apr 1999
    Location
    Gustavus, Alaska USA
    Posts
    180

    Default Re: Just a PFD reminder

    Most drownings in cold water are caused by the shock of suddenly being in cold water. Gasping and inhaling water and loss of muscle control are the most common. The pfd gets you through the initial shock. As an older boater in Alaska who has fallen overboard several times I always wear a pfd, usually a float coat.

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