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Inflatable PFD's


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Hi All,

 

Getting back into sailing after a few years away, and am wanting to update all my gear.

Top of the list is a new inflatable PFD. Just looking for recommendations and what others are using. On a budget, so $120 - $150. Im of the larger variety so have been looking for something with a bit more bouyancy, this is the best i can find so far,

 

https://www.smartmarine.co.nz/products/safety/lifejackets-inflatable/64152/premium-manual-180n-co2-adult-inflatable-lifejacke/details/

 

Anyone recommend something else?

 

Cheers

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Try Jason at Transport and Marine Ltd - Jason Rikkers jasonr@transportandmarine.co.nz, or Phone (+64) 6 835 3390 - and tell him it's time he renewed his Advert for Crew.org!! :-)

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HI Kevin 

Thanks for your reply. Yes , a crotch strap certainly makes sense to me, particularly with the inflatables. It would be great to be able to go to a pool somewhere and test a range of life jackets, just to see if the flip you onto your back, how quickly they inflate etc

 

After a bit more investigating, i am leaning more towards an auto inflatable, no point in wearing a manual one when you've had the boom smack your mellon! This seems to be a good option but would like some feedback if any others are using them:

 

https://www.smartmarine.co.nz/products/safety/lifejackets-inflatable/64153/premium-automatic-180n-co2-adult-inflatable-lifeja/details/

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Some decide not to go with Auto inflatable units. Sometimes you don't want it to inflate - working on a wave swept foredeck - inside an inverted boat - so you can't get out etc. Everything is a compromise!

 

IMO the best additives to a jacket, especially if it will be used offshore, is a crotch strap and a spray hood...

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I recall one very wet coastal, after arriving at Russell exhausted and after  the obligatory couple of rumbos we all collapsed on any available horizontal surface for sleep in our wet gear including PFD's. One guy found a comfy place on a wet headsail in the cabin. After an hour or two we were woken by the noise of his automatic inflatable PFD inflating.

It was bloody hilarious at the time but, like IT said, I can see there could be situations where it could be a hazard. Mine are manuals.

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I'd vote manual over auto as well. I've had a auto go off in heavy rain, most annoying to say the least.

Also crutch straps are a must have, no if's or but's.

 

Small kids need to have life jackets, not inflatables. They also need a sly nudge over the side on a nice day just to know what to expect if it happened for real. They will scream but not for too long during the lesson of short term pain for a longer term gain, so to speak.

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So, since the harness function is so much more important lets call them harnesses with the other function included.

I used an inflatable one in the wave pool in that "how to be rescued" course, my over riding memory is that it was bloody uncomfortable, ten times more so than the old vest thing I used to wear racing dinghies a couple of centuries ago. And it was nearly impossible to propel yourself wearing it. I guess it means you lie passively and hope like hell to get rescued.

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I have a neck injury which is aggravated by the weight or fit of inflatable PFDs. Spent a bit of money going through the basic Hutchwilco inflatable then a Kru (better) then settled on the Spinlock Deckvest auto inflate.

I now have an offshore version with tether attachment (harness) and the inshore Deckvest Lite (no harness). The Lite is snug and compact to the point I am not aware of wearing it. And it doesn't aggravate my injury.

Hasn't accidentally inflated yet.

Pretty sure the same were worn by several on a boat in the recent Central Triangle without accidental triggering.

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I used an inflatable one in the wave pool in that "how to be rescued" course, my over riding memory is that it was bloody uncomfortable, ten times more so than the old vest thing I used to wear racing dinghies a couple of centuries ago. And it was nearly impossible to propel yourself wearing it. I guess it means you lie passively and hope like hell to get rescued.

I did that same course recently and shared that same experience. The inflatables aren't nearly as effective in the water, but the reality is that people are far more inclined to wear them than they will wear traditional bulky life jackets.

 

I certainly agree about the crotch strap, without one you'll be strangled. Consider an emergency light too. The Spinlocks have a light as standard (but they're 3-4 times the price). 

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First, I'd like to go on the record saying "It's not all right" re posting the image of the women with large breasts. I didn't see the image earlier because this website doesn't sent full html email alerts.

 

white-ribbon-logo-2012.jpg

 

That said, when I did my Safety at Sea course, the wave pool exercise was fine. I had an autoinflatable over a HPX Ocean Drysuit SH1604. I floated comfortable and dry. I've worn the dry suit in anger since. Yes get a PFD with a D-ring so that you don't need a separate harness. And make sure your tether is a three point one and you clip on with the short tether (the long one is only for moving around). A mate got slammed around badly recently because his tether was 1200 mm.

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A lot depends on the use. If local, a basic PFD with a light and whistle is fine. If it is inflatable, some are more comfortable than others. Blow up (by mouth of course, don't trigger one in the shop) the one you think you like and see how it fits inflated....

 

If you are in a state or position to want/need to swim, you can always let out a bit of air to suit, which can be easily replaced.

 

If offshore, ad a spray hood, knife, PLB (so they can find your body!) or a SART so the boat you fell off can pick you up!!  I understand (although I have no personal experience of it) that it is not uncommon to find bodies in a heavy weather disaster than have downed on the surface, wearing a life jacket, due to the amount of white water over their heads.

 

In my single experience in a lifejacket in heavy weather in the water, (just a test for fun)  I thought this was likely. I went and bought spray hoods at the next opportunity.

 

Best advice is, be clipped on, and don't fall off the boat!! If the boat is sunk, you should be int he life raft (or maybe dinghy if local), not in the water!! 

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After that course i decided I still prefer my old Henri Lloyd jacket. It has built in buoyancy (but is not a PFD ) and a built in harness. I can swim in it and it will keep  me afloat.

 

Of course I now have to carry some extra stuff I don't use because I don't meet the rules.

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