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Old 06-09-2009, 14:39   #1
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Considering Giving Up on Inflatable PFDs

I will risk opening a can of worms (opinions) on inflatable PFD's.

I've struggled with the issue of flying with my inflatable PFD, having had TSA confiscate CO2 cylinders despite official regulations. I've also been frustrated in trying to purchase replacement CO2 cartridges in foreign ports. My last replacement was required when the inflatable PFD fired accidently after getting soaked in the dinghy. This, combined with the 'will it work when I need it?' issue has me thinking to revert to non-inflatable PFD's. I use a very comfortable Stohlquist PFD for whitewater rafting (where nobody uses inflatables) and find a sense of security in wearing something that I know will float me. Yes, the inflatable has more theoretical buoyancy, if both bladders remain inflated, and is less cumbersome. I do appreciate technology, but also feel that simpler may be better for lifesaving equipment. Has anyone else come to a similar position?

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Old 06-09-2009, 15:21   #2
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Niggling thoughts...

I thought along similar lines when we transitioned from marina to mooring.

Going from a marina there is very little chance of a PFD getting damp or falling in the water, but using a dinghy the risks look to increase dramatically.

My conclusion was that inflatable PFDs are great when the risk of needed or accidental activation is very low, and the consequences of failure are not expected to be serious.

So my wife got to choose a new non inflatable PFD. It might even be lighter and more comfortable (softer) than the inflatable.

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Old 07-09-2009, 03:34   #3
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For the last 2-3 years we have not had trouble with our PFD'd and cylinders, but we have not flown with them for over a year. Before the new rules we lost the cylinders half the time.

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Old 07-09-2009, 17:22   #4
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Originally Posted by JamuJoe View Post
Has anyone else come to a similar position?

Yes, for all the same reasons.

I now have a HH jacket with built in harness and sewn in foam flotation. It is not a pfd and if I'm racing have to have the regulation gear as well, but I use the jacket. If I put it on I have my harness ready, and I have been in a wave pool with the full kit and the foam will keep me afloat.

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Old 07-09-2009, 19:22   #5
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I fly to my instruction gigs with my pfd in my checked luggage. The airline with which I normally fly (WestJet) has a web page indicating that I can take it and a spare cartridge with an agent's permission. I carry that web page with me. At most airports, it is no problem. In Comox, they want to see it.
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