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Thread: I know nothing: Choosing a PFD?

  1. #36
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    Default Re: I know nothing: Choosing a PFD?

    No you are not. It takes less than ten seconds to blow one up.

  2. #37
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    Default Re: I know nothing: Choosing a PFD?

    Quote Originally Posted by Todd Bradshaw View Post
    You might also want to check on what sort of classification it has. It may or may not qualify as a Type III. We used to run into this problem back in the whitewater kayaking days. The best whitewater vests at that time were French, made by Flotherchoc, but they were not approved in the U.S.A. We had to deflate our flotation bags enough that we could stuff a boat cushion inside the boat in order to be legal.
    Marianita has enough stowage space that I keep a couple of USCG legal lifejackets stashed in the cockpit locker. One of them is doing double duty as padding for a spare Danforth anchor...The US/EU certification argument is familiar to me from the motorcycle helmet world. Same goal, different ways of approaching the solution and turf wars seem to preclude adopting a global answer.
    Steve

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  3. #38
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    Default Re: I know nothing: Choosing a PFD?

    Cold shock syndrome. That is one of the drawbacks of inflatable vests. If the auto fails, you’re dead before you can manually inflate the vest.
    Quote Originally Posted by Todd Bradshaw View Post
    No you are not. It takes less than ten seconds to blow one up.
    Actually, cold shock response can kill instantly on immersion in cold waters. It's relative rare, but it does happen. Also, sudden immersion in cold water can cause an involuntary inhalation which can lead to drowning.

    In both cases, an uninflated inflatable isn't going to help--you might not ever have those 10 seconds to blow it up manually.

    Tom
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  4. #39
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    Default Re: I know nothing: Choosing a PFD?

    Yes, but the function of any pfd is not to make up for failure to dress for immersion if that is something within the range of reasonable possibilities. You can't always save people from their own stupidity or lack of proper preparation. We paddle kayaks in Lake Superior and wearing a wetsuit on a warm day is often pretty uncomfortable, but you do it anyway, just in case.

  5. #40
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    Default Re: I know nothing: Choosing a PFD?

    True. I think dressing for water temps is more important than wearing a PFD in many/most situations.

    Tom
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  6. #41
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    Default Re: I know nothing: Choosing a PFD?

    Dressing for water temps makes a lot of sense in Northern climes where air temps align with water temps. However, in near shore boating in the South it becomes a Catch 22. in the Winter, dress for the the water temps in the upper 40’s and 50’s and risk dying from a heat stroke in a dry suit on the boat when the sun is shining, sweating like a hog, or dress for comfort . I wear a polyro base layer and a nylon or goretex windbreaker if necessary and a pfd when kayaking or sailing in the winter time here. We really don’t have a winter here. haha!

  7. #42
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    Default Re: I know nothing: Choosing a PFD?

    Quote Originally Posted by Arlc View Post
    Dressing for water temps makes a lot of sense in Northern climes where air temps align with water temps.
    For what it's worth, air temps rarely align with water temps during boating season on the Great Lakes, either. Especially Superior. But the water can kill you quickly. It's a bit of a conundrum. I tend not to wear a drysuit unless sailing in reefing conditions. And the North Channel and Georgian Bay are significantly warmer, so don't always wear one there even in reefing conditions.

    Tom
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  8. #43
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    Default Re: I know nothing: Choosing a PFD?

    I fell into frozen salt water (28 F.) once. I slipped off of a dock, and immediately pulled myself back up. I've water skiied in 40 F. water, and when you drop off or fall, you can't really swim. Very quickly your muscles refuse any commands to move. Although we were stupid enough to ski in water that cold, we did think to wear a vest. As far as cold water killing you instantly, well, then the only purpose of any PFD would be to make it easier to find the body.

    I'm well past the age of going boating in conditions that cold, rough, or dangerous. When I get my rowboat done, I'm going to try a decent inflatable. The problem here in the south is that it's HOT in the summer. I recently test rowed a boat with a buddy of mine, and only had a cheap Mae West to wear. I was dripping sweat before I left the dock. If it's too uncomfortable, I know that I won't wear it. In 60+ years of boating, I've only worn a PFD during really bad conditions, but as I get older, I'm starting to think that it might be a good habit to get into.

  9. #44
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    Default Re: I know nothing: Choosing a PFD?

    Anybody use the baltic vests? They are considered 'buoyancy aids' rather than life vests (50N) but they have the added benefit of being longish and warm...and they look like a jacket. The company is reputable and the first two models come with a detachable crutch strap...for some reason they say 'crutch' not 'crotch'
    I was contemplating buying the flipper model and adding my own webbing crutch strap
    I am not in anyway affiliated..they're from Sweden.
    However Roger Barnes uses them and he does some reasonably adventurous small boat sailing and seems to take safety seriously

    https://www.tradeinn.com/waveinn/en/...B&gclsrc=aw.ds

    https://www.tradeinn.com/waveinn/en/...B&gclsrc=aw.ds

    https://www.tradeinn.com/waveinn/en/...B&gclsrc=aw.ds

  10. #45
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    Default Re: I know nothing: Choosing a PFD?

    I used to carry a knotted floating line and let it drag behind the boat. About 20 feet long. Thinking I could grab it if I went over. Never needed it but it was nice at anchor for the kids and me to hang onto while swimming. If I was out in rough weather, I had a U bolt to clip onto if needed. I sailed my newly restored 1966 O'day Mariner this week finally. I wore my life jacket even though very little wind.
    David Satter www.sattersrestoration.com
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  11. #46
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    Default Re: I know nothing: Choosing a PFD?

    For those of us used to different ways to measure buoyancy:

    A 50N rated aid provides a minimum of 5kg of buoyancy. Buoyancy aids at level 50 are recommended for use by those who are competent swimmers and who are near to land, or who have help close at hand. However, they do not have sufficient buoyancy to protect a person who is unable to help themselves. They are not designed to turn a person from a face-down position in the water and should not be used in any other circumstances. Standards applicable to this level; EN 393 or ISO 12402 5.

    At that level it certainly looks like a nice garment, but it really doesn't sound like something that I want to count on to save me. I'll stick with my Type III vests and my Mustang Inflatables, thank you. They look like life vests because they are life vests.

    Other ratings also listed here:

    https://www.mrtsos.com/commercial/fa...ls-of-buoyancy

  12. #47
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    Default Re: I know nothing: Choosing a PFD?

    Two things about David's Hail Mary line:

    It's too short. Say you're doing three knots, about five feet per second. So, bet your life on getting oriented after falling over and then swimming to your line in under four seconds, especially as the first couple-three seconds are just figuring out what happened.

    If like me you singlehand and set her up to go straight without a hand on the helm (and even if you don't) have the line rigged such that a tug on the helm frees helm and sheets.

    Most small sloops with a free helm and belayed sheets will bear up till luffing, make sternway falling off till the sails fill, make headway, luff, and so on. Watch how she scallops and swim to where she's going.

    G'luck

  13. #48
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    Default Re: I know nothing: Choosing a PFD?

    Quote Originally Posted by Toxophilite View Post
    Anybody use the baltic vests? They are considered 'buoyancy aids' rather than life vests (50N) but they have the added benefit of being longish and warm...and they look like a jacket. The company is reputable and the first two models come with a detachable crutch strap...for some reason they say 'crutch' not 'crotch'
    I was contemplating buying the flipper model and adding my own webbing crutch strap
    I am not in anyway affiliated..they're from Sweden.
    However Roger Barnes uses them and he does some reasonably adventurous small boat sailing and seems to take safety seriously

    https://www.tradeinn.com/waveinn/en/...B&gclsrc=aw.ds

    https://www.tradeinn.com/waveinn/en/...B&gclsrc=aw.ds

    https://www.tradeinn.com/waveinn/en/...B&gclsrc=aw.ds
    HA! Those remind me (visually...I'm sure these actually float) of the old Elvstrom vests that had vertical tubes filled with open cell foam. The tubes were open at the bottom so upwind, you'd dunk yourself and soak up a few extra pounds of water for hiking ballast and then, just before the gybe, squeegee the water out so you were lighter downwind. Probably didn't actually do squat, but we thought were pretty hot stuff playing with them

  14. #49
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    Default Re: I know nothing: Choosing a PFD?

    Quote Originally Posted by Todd Bradshaw View Post
    For those of us used to different ways to measure buoyancy:

    A 50N rated aid provides a minimum of 5kg of buoyancy. Buoyancy aids at level 50 are recommended for use by those who are competent swimmers and who are near to land, or who have help close at hand. However, they do not have sufficient buoyancy to protect a person who is unable to help themselves. They are not designed to turn a person from a face-down position in the water and should not be used in any other circumstances. Standards applicable to this level; EN 393 or ISO 12402 – 5.

    At that level it certainly looks like a nice garment, but it really doesn't sound like something that I want to count on to save me. I'll stick with my Type III vests and my Mustang Inflatables, thank you. They look like life vests because they are life vests.

    Other ratings also listed here:

    https://www.mrtsos.com/commercial/fa...ls-of-buoyancy

    ah I see someone else had already mentioned them. My mistake

    I believe Mr. Barnes' rationale was that these vests actually keep one warm as well as afloat, and it is very often the cold that kills people in the water. They are not unlike armless floater jackets.

    I am certainly not telling Mr. Bradshaw what to wear on the water.

    I actually prefer padded life vests over the inflatable types because they also keep you warm on the boat as well, and they provide some padding for leaning against various parts of the boat. They also double as cushions when needed. I usually carry 2 or 3

    The ones I currently use are considered PFDs rated at 69N and are Transport Canadian approved.

    Most of my sailing would be considered to be in protected waters (Inlets etc.)

    I wear mine whenever I'm in my boat though.
    Last edited by Toxophilite; 09-17-2022 at 02:51 AM.

  15. #50
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    Default Re: I know nothing: Choosing a PFD?

    At least do be aware of the fact that there is a huge difference between the insulation "value" of one of those "down-vest-like" flotation garments out of the water as opposed to actually being in the water. Assuming that they will insulate like a down vest once you are in the drink when there is even a small amount of cold water passing between the garment and your body is absolutely just as wrong as you can possibly get. You have just as good of a chance of sprouting wings and flying to safety. Once you do manage to get out of the water, they may offer some insulation value, as even a wet down vest is possibly better than nothing, but in order to insulate you while swimming, they would have to fit like a wetsuit with no gaps and minimal cold water moving around inside.

    Don't just take my word for it. Put one on and go jump in some cold water to see how "warm" it keeps you. Then you will at least be better informed to make the decision of when it can be a good thing to use and when it might be pretty dangerous.

  16. #51
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    Default Re: I know nothing: Choosing a PFD?

    Quote Originally Posted by Todd Bradshaw View Post
    At least do be aware of the fact that there is a huge difference between the insulation "value" of one of those "down-vest-like" flotation garments out of the water as opposed to actually being in the water. Assuming that they will insulate like a down vest once you are in the drink when there is even a small amount of cold water passing between the garment and your body is absolutely just as wrong as you can possibly get. You have just as good of a chance of sprouting wings and flying to safety. Once you do manage to get out of the water, they may offer some insulation value, as even a wet down vest is possibly better than nothing, but in order to insulate you while swimming, they would have to fit like a wetsuit with no gaps and minimal cold water moving around inside.

    Don't just take my word for it. Put one on and go jump in some cold water to see how "warm" it keeps you. Then you will at least be better informed to make the decision of when it can be a good thing to use and when it might be pretty dangerous.
    Certainly, I appreciate your experience, Thanks.

  17. #52
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    Default Re: I know nothing: Choosing a PFD?

    Quote Originally Posted by Todd Bradshaw View Post
    At least do be aware of the fact that there is a huge difference between the insulation "value" of one of those "down-vest-like" flotation garments out of the water as opposed to actually being in the water. Assuming that they will insulate like a down vest once you are in the drink when there is even a small amount of cold water passing between the garment and your body is absolutely just as wrong as you can possibly get. You have just as good of a chance of sprouting wings and flying to safety. Once you do manage to get out of the water, they may offer some insulation value, as even a wet down vest is possibly better than nothing, but in order to insulate you while swimming, they would have to fit like a wetsuit with no gaps and minimal cold water moving around inside.

    Don't just take my word for it. Put one on and go jump in some cold water to see how "warm" it keeps you. Then you will at least be better informed to make the decision of when it can be a good thing to use and when it might be pretty dangerous.
    I agree 100%. FWIW, I always thought Roger's comments about his vest keeping him warm were about the vest keeping you warm while sailing, not after going in the water.

    Tom
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  18. #53
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    Default Re: I know nothing: Choosing a PFD?

    I can attest at least around here, a nrs vest designed for kayaking and a polypropylene base layer will keep you warm when air temps in 50’s and the wind is blowing.

  19. #54
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    Default Re: I know nothing: Choosing a PFD?

    I used to have a paddling shirt made from a lightweight nylon with a silver aluminized coating on the outside and tight elastic cuffs that kept out most of the water if you got dumped and got back up pretty quickly. It helped and even if you were then wet it kept the wind off and limited evaporative cooling. You can kind of see it here, although I was a bit too busy at the time to pose properly. That's also my old Flotherchoc PFD. Excellent padding/protection all around, but not legal without adding the boat cushion inside the hull, due to the fact that the tubes were filled with air cells, rather than foam. At that time, there were none of the American made jackets (Sterns, etc.) that were very good for kayaking. The boat is a Hyperform Lettmann Mk.V low volume slalom kayak - my all-time favorite whitewater slalom boat, Romer helmet and my Prijon Leiser paddle. I still have the paddle, but the rest is all gone.

    silver.jpg

  20. #55
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    Default Re: I know nothing: Choosing a PFD?

    Columbia now makes polypropylene shirts and pants laminated with silver aluminized coating on the inside Todd spoke about above. They work well.

  21. #56
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    Default Re: I know nothing: Choosing a PFD?

    NRS has many of the paddling/ whitewater vests, which is where I go. Except that lately there are some interesting semi inflatables on the market, mostly for the fishing trade. I have one that has enough floatation so you can work/ swim / reboard a little boat but if you need much more you can pull a tab, Expensive, but now go to for winter rowing when ever I don't need pockets of gear.
    Ben Fuller
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  22. #57
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    Default Re: I know nothing: Choosing a PFD?

    Quote Originally Posted by Toxophilite View Post
    Anybody use the baltic vests? They are considered 'buoyancy aids' rather than life vests (50N) but they have the added benefit of being longish and warm...and they look like a jacket. The company is reputable and the first two models come with a detachable crutch strap...for some reason they say 'crutch' not 'crotch'
    I was contemplating buying the flipper model and adding my own webbing crutch strap
    I am not in anyway affiliated..they're from Sweden.
    However Roger Barnes uses them and he does some reasonably adventurous small boat sailing and seems to take safety seriously

    https://www.tradeinn.com/waveinn/en/...B&gclsrc=aw.ds

    https://www.tradeinn.com/waveinn/en/...B&gclsrc=aw.ds

    https://www.tradeinn.com/waveinn/en/...B&gclsrc=aw.ds
    Based on Roger Barnes's comments I ordered and just received one of the Baltic Sandhamn vests from the above web site, it's a fantastic pice of kit. Really nice quality construction, very flexible, not much heavier or bulkier than a nice insulated vest. Because everything else I've ever tried has been poor fitting and awkward to move around in I don't wear a life jacket and that goes double when rowing but I'll actually wear this thing, it's just really comfortable.

  23. #58
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    Default Re: I know nothing: Choosing a PFD?

    What kind of dry-suits do people use for sailing?

  24. #59
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    Default Re: I know nothing: Choosing a PFD?

    I use this one--the neoprene neck seal is the selling point for me. It might let a couple of drips of water down the back of your neck, but it's FAR more comfortable for all-day wearing than a rubber neck gasket.

    https://kokatat.com/supernova-semi-dry-suit-mens/

    Tom
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  25. #60
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    Default Re: I know nothing: Choosing a PFD?

    Quote Originally Posted by Matt Mitchell View Post
    What kind of dry-suits do people use for sailing?
    Dinghy or offshore? There is a difference, and a dinghy one is lighter fabric and allows more motion.

    Offshore I have both Musto and Henri-Lloyd on board and there is nothing to choose between then except that Henri-Lloyd’s idea of the male human figure is taller and slimmer than Musto’s!

    My son Alex sails an International Canoe in a dinghy weight dry suit.
    IMAGINES VEL NON FUERINT

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