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Old 11-07-2011, 21:39   #1
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Question Inflatable PFD - Manual or Auto ?

Planing to upgrade from our old harnesses to the off-shore type inflatable vests (PFD). Most all brands have option of a auto "hydrostatic" inflation trigger, or a manual pull cord only.

I can obviously see that in case of someone getting konked in the head and going overboard that the auto inflate would be a great feature. But what if you don't want the thing to inflate and you happen to get in the water? Situation I can think of is a dink landing in surf where you jump out to pull boat in, and POP - inflated.

Just wondering on opinions on this. Am I worried about nothing? If unit inflates automatically, do you have to replace something other than the CO2 cartridge? What did you get? Any brand recommendations?

Thanks much for help with this.
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Old 11-07-2011, 21:49   #2
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Re: Inflatable PFD; manual or auto?

Think of it this way, who's going to inflate it if you are knocked out.
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Old 11-07-2011, 21:54   #3
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Re: Inflatable PFD; manual or auto?

And once inflated it will roll me over and provide a clear airway so I am breathing while still unconscious?
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Old 11-07-2011, 22:01   #4
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Re: Inflatable PFD; manual or auto?

I was going to get one of each. I like the idea of when Im snorkeling or want swim out and if something happens like I lose the boat or get pulled out or cramp. I pull it and get the flotation. And when im working it will go full auto if I fall over or get knocked out.

I say get both.
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Old 11-07-2011, 22:07   #5
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Re: Inflatable PFD; manual or auto?

"I say get both"
Would solve the problem, but sounds twice as expensive as making up ones mind.
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Old 11-07-2011, 22:14   #6
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Re: Inflatable PFD; manual or auto?

Its kinda like buying screw drivers but one is a phillips and the other is a flat head. Theyre both screw drivers but for different purposes.
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Old 11-07-2011, 22:18   #7
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Re: Inflatable PFD; manual or auto?

Sushirama, would you get one with a harness and the other without?
The manual units without integral harness are a lot less expensive and might be an option as you say.
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Old 11-07-2011, 22:23   #8
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Re: Inflatable PFD; manual or auto?

Look for an Auto that has a plug to replace the water sensitive part. I believe most do. My wife has the plug in on hers so I know they are out there.

The reality is that in heavy weather on the bow, underway or at anchor there may be enough water flying about to trigger it.
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Old 11-07-2011, 22:50   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Adelie
Look for an Auto that has a plug to replace the water sensitive part. I believe most do. My wife has the plug in on hers so I know they are out there.

The reality is that in heavy weather on the bow, underway or at anchor there may be enough water flying about to trigger it.
Better yet, get the hydrostatic systems. You need to be in water to set it off. Splashing and humidity won't do it.

A second manual only one wouldn't need the harness, I don't think. No harness in the activities you want it for.
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Old 11-07-2011, 23:21   #10
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Before buying the boat I brought a type 3 for my wife,
then after I brought 6 el cheapos to stay legal,
then auto inflatable PFD type 1's for my wife and myself,
then conventional type 1's for when in the dinghy,
then a couple of kids jackets just in case,
then an auto inflate and manual type 1's with harnesses for my wife and myself myself on offshore passages.

The two conventional type 1's get the most use.

Is it possible to have too many lifejackets?
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Old 11-07-2011, 23:30   #11
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Re: Inflatable PFD; manual or auto?

I prefer PFD with offshore harness. Never had any issues with inflating under normal use; however, I did have one inflate while hanging in the boat (water leaked).
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Old 12-07-2011, 00:42   #12
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Re: Inflatable PFD; manual or auto?

I use a stormy its like a coat with the PFD inside I have been knocked in the water with it took 10 seconds to inflate. $70 to get it serviced the manual system is $50 but i also have a basic manual strap type id say Tomato, tomarto both are better i like the jacket with the auto installed as I use it on the boat and it holds my personal eperb better as it has pockets.
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Old 12-07-2011, 01:18   #13
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Re: Inflatable PFD - Manual or Auto ?

All lifejackets on board my boat are automatic, 6 150 newton Seagos and 2 275 newton Seagos. All automatic, all with integral harnesses, and all with crotch straps.

Never had one go off accidentally, although the child of one guest once pulled the inflation cord on one. Used them in pouring rain, in the dinghy with boarding waves, wading in surf -- never a problem.

Automatic in case, as others have said, you go over and stun or hurt yourself as you do so. It can be a matter of life and death not to have to consciously pull the inflation cord, so I personally wouldn't have a manual one on board.

Ours have salt pellets in the trigger heads. A splash won't set them off -- they have to be immersed for some time. And if one does go off accidentally -- so what? It's not a big deal to repack the unit and buy a new CO2 cylinder and trigger head (I keep spares on board).

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.
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Old 12-07-2011, 01:32   #14
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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.

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Old 12-07-2011, 06:16   #15
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Re: Inflatable PFD - Manual or Auto ?

I'm pretty sure that I have seen ones that can be switched from manual to automatic functioning. Seems like the ideal solution to me. I'll have to look around and see if I can figure out what brand/model that was.
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