An old friend here in Seattle
is a crabber, they had a long tradition of getting in their immersion suits and jumping in the bay at Dutch with a six pack or two each and getting drunk while drifting around after a successful run. If any of you have seen Dutch Harbor you know how crazy this is. After one trip a not very popular crewman apparently passed out while drinking and drifting and was abandoned by the rest of the crew, who claimed they "forgot" him. The CG found him drifting around on the second day, and he was still alive! In the Bering Sea no less. It made the papers at the time. Just goes to show how good they are. Remember you will die of hypothermia even in fairly warm water after enough exposure without a suit.
I paid way more for my auto inflating harness, the same one most use, than I did for my suit. It's about $350 for the harness, more like $150 or less depending on model for a good suit. Given that they cost less than a good quality PFD
, I think everyone should have one. They stow away pretty small in the dry bag they come with. I even have two childrens size immersion suits for my kids
, I was shocked to find they make such a thing. They also have great features like built in strobes and built in lifting points for recovery. With a PLB I think they might rival a crappy liferaft
worst case scenario survivaviblity and reliabilty, theres nothing to deflate or fail. Obviously you'd want both...