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Old 06-09-2013, 19:01   #1
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4 out of 5 Spinlock Deck Vests Failed in Fatal Accident

US Sailing just released their report on the March 8th accident of Uncontrollable Urge: http://media.ussailing.org/AssetFactory.aspx?vid=21870. Skip to page 9, item 10, for a summary of the Spinlock PFD failures..

Everyone went into the water after she got rolled. Four out of five of the crew who were wearing Spinlock Deck Vests had their vests fail in the same way: the flotation bladder popped over their heads. One person died: found face down with the same PFD failure.

I have that vest and it doesn't give me the warm fuzzies.

Anyone have any thoughts? I'm using that vest because it has an integrated harness with leg straps. Is there another PFD with the same features?

I'm a firm believer in leg straps - I don't see any point in wearing a harness that doesn't have them.
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Old 07-09-2013, 01:40   #2
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Re: 4 out of 5 Spinlock Deck Vests failed in fatal accident

We have the same PFD. I plan to test them and replace if necessary.

We use harnesses with quick releases and we converted the leg straps to crotch straps as it is more comfortable. This must have been an issue as Spinlock published the way to convert.

It will be interesting to get Spinlock's view of the incident, if they will answer!
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Old 07-09-2013, 02:02   #3
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Re: 4 out of 5 Spinlock Deck Vests failed in fatal accident

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Originally Posted by s/v Moondancer View Post
We have the same PFD. I plan to test them and replace if necessary.

We use harnesses with quick releases and we converted the leg straps to crotch straps as it is more comfortable. This must have been an issue as Spinlock published the way to convert.

It will be interesting to get Spinlock's view of the incident, if they will answer!
If it was an issue then they should have issued a recall... so if they did know they'll probably get into a lot of trouble over this...
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Old 07-09-2013, 02:21   #4
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Re: 4 out of 5 Spinlock Deck Vests failed in fatal accident

There was a recall in 2010, but that was to do with the inflation mechanism.
Hopefully they will thoroughly test the jackets and recall if found necessary.
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Old 07-09-2013, 07:16   #5
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Re: 4 out of 5 Spinlock Deck Vests failed in fatal accident

Our Spinlock PFD's were not part of the 2010 recall, we checked back than and again this morning.

We tested them this morning and were unable to replicate the problem when the crotch straps were well snugged up. When loose the inflation collar easily came over our heads.

I could not find whether or not the sailors in the USSailing report had their crotch/thigh straps tightened.

As previously stated we converted the thigh straps to crotch straps as it was difficult to walk with them tight in the thigh strap mode.

We plan to keep our Spinlock Deck Vests as our active PFD's
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Old 08-09-2013, 05:37   #6
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Re: 4 out of 5 Spinlock Deck Vests failed in fatal accident

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... we converted the leg straps to crotch straps as it is more comfortable. This must have been an issue as Spinlock published the way to convert.
Can a provide a link for this. We also have this PFD and find the thigh straps uncomfortable when tight and cumbersome when loosened.

Thanks,
Robyn
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Old 08-09-2013, 06:32   #7
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Re: 4 out of 5 Spinlock Deck Vests failed in fatal accident

I can no longer find the link on their site. Just a matter of cutting out the thigh part to leave two parts, fore and aft with the clips still attched.
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Old 08-09-2013, 06:48   #8
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This has been discussed several times. One of the major flaws of inflatable vests versus a kayak or paddling vest is is that inflatables tend to come off. The only way I have figured to make my Mustang safe is to add a crotch strap.
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Old 08-09-2013, 08:30   #9
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Re: 4 out of 5 Spinlock Deck Vests failed in fatal accident

That's a sobering analysis of the wreck. Lots of small decisions that taken the other way might have averted disaster.
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Old 08-09-2013, 08:44   #10
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Re: 4 out of 5 Spinlock Deck Vests failed in fatal accident

By the way, the crew was not real happy with the US Sailing report, and got together and wrote their own .
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Old 08-09-2013, 09:00   #11
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By the way, the crew was not real happy with the US Sailing report, and got together and wrote their own .
Evan thanks for posting that link and thanks to the crew for a great report!!
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Old 08-09-2013, 09:05   #12
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Re: 4 out of 5 Spinlock Deck Vests failed in fatal accident

The marine police around here use Mustang inflatables... so we do too.
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Old 08-09-2013, 09:36   #13
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Re: 4 out of 5 Spinlock Deck Vests failed in fatal accident

The conversion procedure is over on SA. You may have to login to view it.

http://forums.sailinganarchy.com/index.php?app=core&module=attach§ion=attach&attach _id=180566
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Old 09-09-2013, 08:18   #14
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As usual, after reading the reports, there is still confusion.

It has been reported that the inflatable bladder floated over the heads of the users despite the presence of thigh/crotch straps. Both the Spinlock and Mustang have a strap that runs from the collar to the waist band. Vertical movement of the waistband should be controlled by the supplemental straps. Therefore, the only way that the inflated bladder can get over the users head is if the thigh/crotch straps were too loose, or if the bladder separated from the collar that was properly restrained. If the latter, the cause of failure would appear to be critical. Was it attached and became separated, or never attached?

@SVNEKO, I cannot get the link to open.

Thanks
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Old 09-09-2013, 08:45   #15
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Re: 4 out of 5 Spinlock Deck Vests failed in fatal accident

I've never had an inflatable come off, but I did tear one going over the bow rail once. I now wear my inflatable under my foul weather jacket to give it an added layer of protection. In really bad weather, I opt for old fashion flotation when on deck.
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