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Old 07-02-2018, 09:20   #1
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Choosing a type iv throwable PFD

My boat came with a a horseshoe PFD. The foam was deteriorated due to age and so I put it in the trash.

I have several seat cushions that are approved type IV PFDs that will keep me
in technical compliance with laws and regulations even if I do nothing. This is all I've ever used on the 16-25' powerboats I'm accustomed to. Capsize, collision, and structural failures are the usual accident scenarios on these, not MOB, so it wasn't an area of focus.

For cruising under sail, I believe it would be prudent to have a better throwable device on the lifelines.

I'm trying to pick one to purchase. There are horseshoe PFDs and ring PFDs, in various sizes. How should I choose?
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Old 07-02-2018, 10:24   #2
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Re: Choosing a type iv throwable PFD

Quote:
Originally Posted by Jammer View Post
My boat came with a a horseshoe PFD. The foam was deteriorated due to age and so I put it in the trash.

I have several seat cushions that are approved type IV PFDs that will keep me
in technical compliance with laws and regulations even if I do nothing. This is all I've ever used on the 16-25' powerboats I'm accustomed to. Capsize, collision, and structural failures are the usual accident scenarios on these, not MOB, so it wasn't an area of focus.

For cruising under sail, I believe it would be prudent to have a better throwable device on the lifelines.

I'm trying to pick one to purchase. There are horseshoe PFDs and ring PFDs, in various sizes. How should I choose?
Lifesling. Serves as a type IV and gives you a means to get the person over to and back onto the boat. I've had them on several boats and done MOB drills using them. They don't throw for beans, and if the boat is moving under sail you will just pull it away from the swimmer, so it's good to have something else to throw as well.
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Old 07-02-2018, 10:55   #3
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Re: Choosing a type iv throwable PFD

Mustang used to sell a survival rescue stick. It was an inflatable horseshoe with hydrostatic activation. Used the same arming kits as their inflatable pfds. I never did throw it but it was the right shape, size and weight you could throw it three to four times the distance you would be able to throw a ring or lifesling. I regret ever leaving it on our last boat when we sold it. I havenít actively looked for one recently but something to look into.
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Old 07-02-2018, 11:31   #4
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Re: Choosing a type iv throwable PFD

LifeSling. Definitely. Getting the floatation device to the person in the water and retrieving the person is done best with a LifeSling.
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Old 08-02-2018, 10:02   #5
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Re: Choosing a type iv throwable PFD

In our cockpit we have a lifesling. We also have a horseshoe connected to a strobe and a MOB pole.
Additionally our cockpit cushions while not approved are filled with closed cell foam. I let my guests know that if someone goes overboard they can throw any of the cushions in along with the MOB pole and horseshoe. I also stress that someone must keep pointing at the MOB.
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Old 08-02-2018, 10:30   #6
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Re: Choosing a type iv throwable PFD

guyrj33 is correct!
There are two issues here.
1. Getting something into the water as soon as possible in order to A. Mark the nearest position of the MOB. B. provide some immediate flotation, AND THEN begin the maneuver to go back and pick up the MOB.
I carry a Lifesling, but this is for the recovery effort. BUT you can't recover what you can't find, so getting something "seeable" like a MOB Pole, Ring Bouy, Horsehoe, or cockpit cushions.
The emphasis being on SEEABLE!!!! In a heavy sea state spotting a houreshoe, or ring can be very difficult, PLUS very few folks mark these with reflective material for night ops.
I prefer a MOB Pole with reflective material, AND a flag. Some fancy ones even have a water activated light.
Having someone on the boat focused on the MOB, allows the Helsman to perform the turns as well as sail handling required to return to the MOB location and then perform the recovery.
Yes the person needs flotation, but you have to see them before you can rescue them.
I am very firm about life jacket rules on my boat. I put lights, whistles, and mirrors on ALL PFDs, AND I practice MOB Drills multiple times. I carry both traditional PFDs, and Auto inflate ones. The auto inflates are to inspire folks to wear the vest more of the time on the boat. Some folks I may INSIST they wear it ALL the time and EVERYONE MUST wear one when on deck at night or even the mild side of iffy weather.
I have been the Helmsman, and I have been the person in the water......being the Helmsman is better but a Skipper has the responsibility to make sure the whole Crew is PREPARED to perform a MOB Maneuver.
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Old 08-02-2018, 10:40   #7
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Re: Choosing a type iv throwable PFD

Thanks Scotty
We don't practice MOB maneuvers as often as we should, that said we've never failed to recover a hat. With HOB, the exercise is a surprise to everyone on board, and usually there is a bit of wind.
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Old 08-02-2018, 11:06   #8
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Re: Choosing a type iv throwable PFD

A Lifesling is something everyone should have, if for no other reason that it makes bringing people to the boat much easier. You circle them and draw the sling to them with much less risk of running them over or similar. It can also be used to winch someone up onto the boat if necessary. It is not meant as a thowable device, and if the boat is moving away from the overboard person it will just get towed away. You need something throwable to launch immediately and give the overboard person floatation assistance until you can maneuver back to them.

Beyond that, the proper gear is a function of how you use your boat, where, and in what conditions.

In relatively benign conditions a horseshoe is adequate as it provides floatation and a bit more visibility.

Anything rougher and you're going to want a pole and potentially a strobe. In 6' swells, pretty common offshore, an overboard person is only going to be visible 1/3 of the time or less. And that's if you're looking at the right spot when they pop up on a swell crest.

This is a good product. It's probably the least expensive self-inflating pole with light on the market. I've had one for a few years and it works:

SOS Dan Buoy - Fast Response - Man Overboard Rescue

I keep it on the stern rail with a long velcro strap holding it. To deploy I would literally pull the velcro strap and it would fall in the water, or I could toss it. It's fairly heavy, due to the ballast for the pole, so you're not going to be heaving it more than 30-40 feet.
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Old 08-02-2018, 15:22   #9
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Re: Choosing a type iv throwable PFD

Quote:
Originally Posted by rbk View Post
Mustang used to sell a survival rescue stick. It was an inflatable horseshoe with hydrostatic activation. Used the same arming kits as their inflatable pfds. I never did throw it but it was the right shape, size and weight you could throw it three to four times the distance you would be able to throw a ring or lifesling. I regret ever leaving it on our last boat when we sold it. I havenít actively looked for one recently but something to look into.
Interesting product, yet not a Coast Guard approved Type IV.


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Old 08-02-2018, 15:24   #10
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Re: Choosing a type iv throwable PFD

The Lifesling has certain benefits that make it the hands-down choice for sailors.
1. Flexible collar; easy to put over head while in the water.
2. Method of getting device to PIW (circling). Allows lower-skilled sailors to do it.
3. Strong enough to allow hoisting onboard.

Coast Guard approved if your boat is greater than 20' long.

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Old 08-02-2018, 17:17   #11
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Choosing a type iv throwable PFD

Letís not forget that the OP, Jammer, is talking about a 25í Boat on inland lakes and rivers. The LifeSling is ideal.
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Old 09-02-2018, 16:52   #12
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Re: Choosing a type iv throwable PFD

Jammer, have you taken a US Power Squadrons or similar safety course? I ask because a course normally goes over most or all of the MOB options and the pros and cons of each. Most of them have been raised here. It is the entire picture, plus your budgets and home waters and anticipated crew, etc. all to be considered together. If you want a "throwable" you might be better with a rope throw bag. A bag of rope, where you hold one end and throw the entire BAG, which allows the rope to unfurl and once the MOB grabs that bag, you haul them in. It can be thrown 50-75' and that's more than anything except the Mustang "stick". Otherwise...if you consider how quickly you can lose sight of someone, one or even two MOB poles make sense real fast. Pretty much any distance race will require at least one of them, which should be on the backstay or aft quarter in a way that it can be deployed instantly. For a while they were stored in aft "torpedo tubes" on racers, that's gone out of style AFAIK.
But everything--even the Lifesling, which was once the "word of the lord"--gets debated. That's not so much in favor any more, as it requires some training and correct use in order to really be an advantage.
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Old 09-02-2018, 17:08   #13
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Re: Choosing a type iv throwable PFD

Lifesling and SOS dan buoy inflatable.
For all the reasons already said, having both is really the best option. A horseshoe, pole and light are pretty cumbersome to deploy in the moment. The dan buoy is fast and simple, and takes up less space. The lifesling is great for reboarding, and getting the person back to the boat after you circle them.

I also have a couple square type IVs, to use as a seat cushion as much as anything else.
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Old 09-02-2018, 17:23   #14
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Re: Choosing a type iv throwable PFD

Quote:
Originally Posted by Chuck Hawley View Post
Interesting product, yet not a Coast Guard approved Type IV.


Chuck
Correct itís not, the original poster has other compliant type IV and ultimately I would recommend like others a life sling for retrieval but the stick is a great tool to have that was designed and marketed towards search and rescue and first responders. A good throw bag is also a requirement but being able to use them is even more important but not a requirement. I canít count how many people I know that have them but have never thrown one and are afraid to because they donít know how to repack them.
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Old 09-02-2018, 21:32   #15
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Re: Choosing a type iv throwable PFD

Thank you all for the insightful replies.

Quote:
Originally Posted by hellosailor View Post
Jammer, have you taken a US Power Squadrons or similar safety course? I ask because a course normally goes over most or all of the MOB options and the pros and cons of each.
I have not. There are some classes in my region but not nearby, and I'm unwilling to spend 3 hours on the road for a 2 hour class (x5 since the class runs for five weeks). Even though I would probably learn a thing or two, I am already familiar with most of the material they cover.

The major nearby cruising sailboat ports are the Duluth/Superior area (4 hours drive), and the Afton area (1-2 hour drive). My slip is at Lake Pepin, and while it's a great area for sailing, it's not a large cruising community. Pepin and the Afton/St. Croix River are connected by navigable water but it's a day of motoring up the Mississippi and St. Croix and through Lock #3.

It's really hard to articulate how different the situation in Minnesota is from coastal states. Minnesota has more boats per capita than any other state, and though there are definitional problems in what constitutes shoreline, it arguably has more shoreline than any other state except Alaska and (maybe) Michigan. As you might expect, there's a strong boating culture. But it's a culture built around smaller boats -- predominantly, small boats with outboard motors as their primary means of propulsion, plus canoes and kayaks and PWC and so on. There are fewer sailboats, and fewer cruising boats, compared to coastal states. There's a short season, and because of land use policies there are very few slips to be had in the best parts of the river system; Duluth/Superior is too far for most people. Traditionally, the boating experience here was organized around owning lakeshore -- there's so much of it, that having your own lakeshore cabin was within the financial reach of most people as recently as the 1970s. That's changed, and now we have a more trailering-oriented boat culture, organized around the 16' fishing boat with a 25 HP outboard and the 20' pontoon with similar propulsion.

That's why I ask a lot of questions here. The local answers are skewed towards a different style of boating.
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