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Old 18-06-2012, 13:54   #16
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Re: Auto or manual inflating PFD?

The Rambeler crew were unanimous in preferring manual inflates after the accident. Because of problems getting out and away from the boat when the auto-inflated.

Having never been knocked out and thrown in the drink, or been caught in a capsizing boat trying to get out, I really can't say which is prefered.

What I do know is that having an inflatable on that isn's also a harness is a bad idea. People wear on or the other, but few will bother putting them both on. The Musto's are great, but there are a lot of other very good combined systems out there, for not a lot more than just the life jacket. And I would highly recommend one.
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Old 18-06-2012, 14:45   #17
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Re: Auto or manual inflating PFD?

If a "normal size" (150N buoyancy) PFD inflates automatically, it doesn't take long to deinflate in the water to swim out of a capsized boat. And after that, it doesn't take long to inflate it again, by blowing in the inflation tube.

I have been told it's not the same with "large size" (275N buoyancy) PFD, designed for workers with very heavy gear and maybe not suitable for yachting.

So, my personal choice is auto, pressure activated, with harness and crotch strap.

Alain
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Old 18-06-2012, 20:34   #18
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Hydra
If a "normal size" (150N buoyancy) PFD inflates automatically, it doesn't take long to deinflate in the water to swim out of a capsized boat. And after that, it doesn't take long to inflate it again, by blowing in the inflation tube.

I have been told it's not the same with "large size" (275N buoyancy) PFD, designed for workers with very heavy gear and maybe not suitable for yachting.

So, my personal choice is auto, pressure activated, with harness and crotch strap.

Alain
I use a 275 N jacket as I am a big fellow and 150 will not turn you over with heavy wet gear on. But you're right it's difficult though not impossible to swim in. Flip on the back and swim is he only easy or deflate it a bit. ( easily done )

I agree with integrated harness as well ( and strobe light and whistle etc)
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Old 19-06-2012, 00:52   #19
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Re: Auto or manual inflating PFD?

Are crotch straps normally supplied with inflatable PFD that advertise "with sailing harness"? The pictures of the pfd show a waist strap, not clear how that strap could be converted to a crotch strap
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Old 19-06-2012, 01:10   #20
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Re: Auto or manual inflating PFD?

I believe they are additional extra cost items for the Mustang, etc vests. I've got a Spinlock Vest and the leg straps came standard equipment with it. Really like the Spinlock vest, very comfortable to wear because of all the ways it can be adjusted. Literally wore it 24/7 for 15 days on a solo TransPac.
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Old 19-06-2012, 02:21   #21
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Re: Auto or manual inflating PFD?

Fascinating posts. I have had auto-inflatable vests with harnesses for quite a few years (before the pressure-triggered style). I did have one inflation due to general dampness in the boat, in the middle of the night of course - I nearly had to peel my crew off the overhead. I had another inflation while out on the bowsprit when the bow fell off a wave and gave me a good dousing; that was less amusing as it constrained my movements (mostly of the neck). Most cruisers have roller-furling and larger vessels with higher freeboard, so don't find themselves taking a dunking very often; it happens a bit too often to me. I have switched over to manual operation for now, and am considering pressure triggers for long term use.

BTW, it is a good idea to buy a few spare gas cylinders when you buy a vest. While the same mechanisms are used around the world, the US ones have an Imperial thread and the European ones use a metric thread. It seems impossible to get the US ones in Europe, and vice versa. I wound up buying metric inflators so I could use the cylinders I could get in Europe - now surplus to requirements if anyone is interested in an autoinflate Halkey-Roberts mechanism...
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Old 19-06-2012, 02:22   #22
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Re: Auto or manual inflating PFD?

optional extra for crotch straps with the Auto inflate PDF 1's here, They all come with the waist straps,
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Old 19-06-2012, 04:18   #23
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Re: Auto or manual inflating PFD?

Do I have faith that an inflatable PFD would save my life when it really counts?? No way - bit of a lottery IMHO.. Much rather have something with inherent positive buoyancy that does not rely on some mechnisim that may or may not work when your life depends on it.

We had 5 yolk type PFDs on the vessel my employer owns. One year when they were due for a service, we decided to put some on & inflate them so we would know what to expect if we ever really needed to use them. Three out of the five failed to inflate!!

We allow commercial vessels operators to have inflatables in their required PFD compliment - however they are inspected each year by our surveyors to ensure they have been serviced in accordance with manufacturers recommendations.

Our recreational operators (mandatory to wear in vessels < 6 meters) have no such servicing requirement. A recent survey of owners showed that a good % now use inflatables and figures from retailers show they sell thousands. When we talk to the various servicing agents, they basically only service numbers that equate to PFDs in the commercial fleet and what is required by the yacht racing bodies - so on the face of it the vast majority of inflatables in use are NOT getting serviced as the manufacture recommends..

We hear lots of stories about failures due to air canisters not being screwed in tight enough or even too tight that can cause damage. We have seen failures due to chafe of the bladder due to abuse (thrown in the bilge, trodden on etc..). We see lot of yachties wearing them as a fashion accessory (eg Stormy Seas sleeveless inflatable) worn without the zip done up -like that will work if needed. We have had a recent death where the passenger in a small boat apparently did not know how to operate the device when the boat was capsied by a wave - it was a manual one... We nearly had two deaths a couple of weeks ago where a runabout was capsized and they were trapped under the upturned hull - auto inflate worked, but they were overcome by fuel fumes before they could manually deflate them enough to duck dive from underneath the upturned hull..

I could go on ad-nausea with the issues we have encountered over the years... I much prefer my Musto PFD or even my old Plastimo mistral or UVIC Thermofloat jacket for that feeling of security..
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Old 19-06-2012, 05:11   #24
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Re: Auto or manual inflating PFD?

Crotch straps don't seem to be advertised on West Marine. Will check manufacturers site. Surprised at peoples devotion to Spinloks. They're still not CG approved here in states. Is it because Spinlok won't submit to evaluation or is there a design issue with the PFD that Spinlok thinks they're right and CG is wrong.
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Old 19-06-2012, 06:44   #25
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Re: Auto or manual inflating PFD?

Personally, I think the odds of being hit by the boom, or injured, and going over--and thereby needing the advantages of auto-inflating--are greater than the odds of being trapped underneath the boat and drowning because I couldn't deflate my vest and swim out quickly enough. Hence, I use an auto-inflatable. If you feel the odds of being trapped under the boat are greater then, of course, you would want a manual inflate model. I don't believe that the data exists to prove conclusively which scenario is actually the greater probability.

You pays your money and takes your choice.
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Old 19-06-2012, 07:49   #26
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Re: Auto or manual inflating PFD?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Spirit28 View Post
................

Our recreational operators (mandatory to wear in vessels < 6 meters) have no such servicing requirement.
...................
Curious, what area are you referring to?
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Old 19-06-2012, 08:07   #27
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Re: Auto or manual inflating PFD?

I have all my less competent crew wear auto. I let the experienced guys chose their own ways. My own offshore pfd is manual but I wear an auto one when docking, etc..

It is hard to guess beforehand which mode will work best for one, but I guess 99% of the time the auto is what one wants.

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Old 19-06-2012, 08:08   #28
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Spinlock inflatables are without a doubt the most comfortable of all. If you are planning long passages it is worth the extra expense. They seem less bulky because they hug your body very nicely, I am a big fan.

When racing, I wear a paddling vest type PFD, mostly because I am a grinder and the tether attachment loops can get caught on the coffee grinder handles and cause nasty injuries. I have seen inflatables trap people in the lifelines during broaches, and inflate for no particular reason, but they always seem to inflate, much to my amusement. I think racers prefer manual inflators to avoid the embarrassment of crossing the finish post inflation.

When cruising, I always wear an automatic inflatable. IMO auto is the way to go. Like most things on boats, users should know how they work, before being allowed to use them. Especially how to deflate and manually reinflate. I think tethers, though essential when offshore, in poor conditions, at night, or anytime you are alone on deck, pose more of a hazard than self inflating PFD's. I will not wear one without carrying a knife. I worry that the emergency release will jam or whatever. It is probably irrational, but I just feel safer, knowing I could cut away if necessary.
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Old 19-06-2012, 08:22   #29
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Re: Auto or manual inflating PFD?

It might be off topic, But a bit of extra safety info could be inserted here,

Make sure your harness is not long enough to allow you to go over the side when your on deck alone, whether you have an Auto or Manual PDF on,

The water pressure will not allow you to get back on board, You may not even be capable, even if concious, to knock on the boat to alert others that you are in trouble, or in the water,
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Old 19-06-2012, 09:13   #30
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Re: Auto or manual inflating PFD?

Before crotch straps were available, some of us did it the simple way. Take a sail tie, sew a loop in both sides, thread the waist strap through it. Or if you want to be fancy get one of those plastic clips so you can detach it instead of stepping through it. Yes, one strap is enough, although a set will be more comfortable. I expect they are still optional today simply because most folks don't want to fuss with 'more stuff' and simply don't appreciate how important they are, and they add cost.

Having been kissed once by a boom...the first thought is "Gee, someone is ringing a bell IN MY HEAD" and the second "where did THAT come from?" From the inside it sure sounds like a line drive out of the ballpark with an aluminum bat. And that's why I want an automatic inflator. If I'm concious and go overboard, I can float and swim. If I've done something stupid and rapped my noggin...I'm dead if it doesn't inflate by itself. Which might be a great way to get the lead role in "Zombies of the Deep" but really could be a drag otherwise.
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