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Old 12-07-2011, 05:59   #16
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Re: Inflatable PFD - Manual or Auto ?

Originally Posted by Dockhead View Post
.... One bit of advice: never, ever, ever buy a lifejacket without a crotch strap, and never wear one without fastening the crotch strap. Several deaths in the Fastnet 79 disaster occurred because of no crotch straps. You simply fall through the life jacket if nothing is holding you at the crotch.

In my opinion, lifejackets are defective and unfit for purpose without crotch straps.
Yes!!! I think the foregoing is vastly overlooked and jackets not including crotch straps should not be certified by the CG. Unfortunately many jackets on the market do not include this simple but necessary part. We have auto-inflatable jackets for our entire family that did not include crotch straps. I had them made up at a local canvas shop.

Something else, it is worth having everyone try out their jackets in the water. They do not inflate instantly. I wanted the girls to know what to expect so I had them jump into our pool with them on. When they inflated the girls popped up like corks and floated chest up with their heads well above water. Absent the crotch strap, however, if they fell asleep (it does happen) or were rendered semi- or unconcious, they could easily have slipped out of the jackets. (In fact, my daughter did so as she couldn't swim to the edge of the pool with the jacket on so she just slipped it over her head.)

Something that people seem to forget is that the bobbins in the trigger housing do need to be replaced at regular intervals. I do that annualy and drop the old bobbins in a pail of water. They never seem to fail to "fiz" up, so they would have worked, but friends of ours that do the same thing report that they have had bobbins that simply sit on the botton of the bucket, doing nothing. Spare bobbins are inexpensive and we store ours in vacume sealed pouches to ensure they stay dry and ready for action.


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Old 12-07-2011, 06:03   #17
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Re: Inflatable PFD - Manual or Auto ?

I am looking to replace my lifejackets as well.
I've had an automatic one go off during a very wet (actually very very wet would be more accurate) dingy ride, but I still plan to buy a couple of new automatic lifejackets.
The hammer mechanism is virtually free from false triggers, but it has some other issues which means I think I will stay will the pill type and put up with the rare false inflations.

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Old 12-07-2011, 06:48   #18
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Re: Inflatable PFD - Manual or Auto ?

Thanks for all the responses - good info.

But crotch straps?? Technically sounds like a good feature, but I have never seen these on the vests I have looked at in the store (except for kids models). I am afraid that if I had a crotch strap, the result would be that I would tend not to wear the vest due to lack of comfort.
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Old 12-07-2011, 07:03   #19
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Re: Inflatable PFD; manual or auto?

Originally Posted by Dennis.G View Post
And once inflated it will roll me over and provide a clear airway so I am breathing while still unconscious?
Downside is that makes self rescuing all but impossible (hard enough swimming 5 feet let alone trying to climb into a dink / liferaft - or up a ladder at arms length....whilst dressed like the love child of Dolly Parton and the Michelin Man ) keeping you afloat whilst unconscious maybe no bad thing

In any event I would suggest a bit of messing around in the water (at Anchor!) with a PFD inflated - will find it is not quite the cure all that it is sold as.....
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Old 12-07-2011, 07:17   #20
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Re: Inflatable PFD - Manual or Auto ?

Originally Posted by goboatingnow View Post
A1 for dockhead. No point in buying manuals. Price difference is now very small go for autos with crotch. ( and spray hoods ). 150 Newton but larger 275 Newton for big males.

Just something to bear in mind with the 275N jackets. If you are unfortunate enough to have to abondon the boat and need to climb into a liferaft, its really really dificult with a 275N jacket. I tried last year on a helo underwater escape course, had to ditch the jacket to get into the raft.
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Old 17-07-2011, 06:15   #21
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Re: Inflatable PFD - Manual or Auto ?

Besides the Inflateable, I always wear a light weight helmet the same used by whitewater rafters. When the seas are rough.
Sailing is 80% boredom and 20% sheer terror so FIRSTMATE then go sailing. Life is a journey, not a destination.
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Old 03-08-2011, 09:52   #22
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Re: Inflatable PFD - Manual or Auto ?

Manual Inflatable Life | Buy Personal Flotation Device

This link gives a wide choice. I want to hear from people actually using the various brands. Mustang still gets top reviews, how do the others compare? (in particular, I'm looking at the BlueStorm Xtreme 33 - sail)

And that crotch strap idea - is a good one, but I haven't found a model yet that includes this. Suggestions and Links please

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Old 03-08-2011, 10:28   #23
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Re: Inflatable PFD - Manual or Auto ?

I bought automatic ones with a harness. I like to have a harness built in for SF bay in case of man overboard. If I go over the side I'm pretty sure my crew would have to use the lifting tackle to get me on board.

They are reasonably economical to remarm if they go off accidentally.

Set mine off the other week.
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Old 09-08-2011, 01:10   #24
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Re: Inflatable PFD - Manual or Auto ?

It seem to me the coastal PFD I have is NOT a number 1 rated. Is that significant?
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Old 09-08-2011, 04:46   #25
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Re: Inflatable PFD - Manual or Auto ?

We have the automatic type, we love them. In the 10 years or so we have been using them, we have had two , non-immersive inflation's. The first while the vests were sitting in the dinghy while we were sitting in a restaurant. It started raining, very hard while we were nice and dry. The second while someone who will remain anonymous decided to clean them off in the shower. Hmmm....

In anycase, we learned that we can buy the air cartridges in bulk a lot more inexpensively and have a package of about 18 left. We also keep several of the little inflation pills in storage. This lets us re-arm the things when they do inflate.

Since we are the primary user of our boat we only have the inflatable type for my wife and myself. All our other vest are non-inflatable. Some times, like when I am scrubbing the hull from the dinghy and kind of expect to go into the water I'll use one of the non-inflatables.

Good luck. We LOVE ours!

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