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Old 07-06-2008, 22:12   #1
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Inflatable PFD's Auto or Manual?

I bought a SPOT GPS tracker/PLB and wanted to store it on my person. I started researching what PFD I could purchase that would let this happen.
I found a site SailingPFD.com/SaveMeGPS.com - Home that specializes in just that concept. They had several models all with a pocket that allows for the SPOT to be stored in it. They had built in harness and soft collars. SPOT device is simple to use and a safety device like no other Ive seen! BLUESTORM was the manufacturer of the PFD's.
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Old 09-06-2008, 07:16   #2
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I've got a non-auto inflating nautilus in blue... If I wasn't so strapped for cash, I'd have gotten myself the auto-inflator.

Also, in retrospect, I probably should have gotten it in red. Blue on Blue isn't really the most visible combination...
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Old 09-06-2008, 07:22   #3
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I don"t think the outer shell color will matter much when it is in use-bright yellow inter bladder would be the visible color. Auto is the way to go if your are in rough conditions. Which is when most people are thrown. Check out eBAY for an Auto!
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Old 09-06-2008, 07:44   #4
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We, At one time had the "auto" inflaters but while in the higher lattitudes where we were in a damp conditions, the "auto" would go off without notice.
The "auto" part is a small seltzer tab that desolves and allows a puncture of the canister. The wife and I were bundled up in bed one night when one went off in the cabin and scared the crap out of the both of us.
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Old 09-06-2008, 09:00   #5
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Thank you! I'd forgotten about that!

I bought blue to match our boat ;-)
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Old 09-06-2008, 09:14   #6
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The new auto designs fixed the problem with false inflatioins. They used to go off if you threw a bunch of wet stuff in your car trunk in the summer. The humidity would rise and set them off. The new style PFD's don't have that problem. They cost even more than the old ones though. there are a lot of sports that use high tech safety equipment. Rock climbing parachutes all employ pretty high tech stuff. It comes with the package that you need good safety equipment and know how it is used.

You really only need them if something happens but the real problem is you can't know when that will be. Just something stupid, a slip, or an odd set of circumstances can find you in the water. Even a sail boat doing 5 knots gets away quickly and might take a few minutes to come back then find you. Trying to swim only decreases your time in the water due to hypothermia. Your body cools faster with body activity not the other way around.

Temp Exhaustion Survivsal time

32.5 Under 15 min. Under 15 - 45 min.
32.5 - 40 15 - 30 min. 30 - 90 min
40 - 50 30 - 60 min. 1 - 3 hours
50 - 60 1 - 2 hours 1 - 6 hours
60 - 70 2 - 7 hours 2 - 40 hours
70 - 80 3 - 12 hours 3 - Indefinite
Over 80 Indefinite Indefinite

Here is a good link for more hypothermia information:

What you need to know about Hypothermia

While most deaths on the water involve being drunk and stupid they all usually have the common problem of no PFD too. The other two problems you sort of are on your own, but a lot of those deaths would have been prevented with a PFD inspite of the other two factors.
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Old 09-06-2008, 10:40   #7
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While most deaths on the water involve being drunk and stupid they all usually have the common problem of no PFD too. The other two problems you sort of are on your own, but a lot of those deaths would have been prevented with a PFD inspite of the other two factors.
Also, alcohol has a side effect of making you more susceptible to hypothermia.

Impact - The big chill: alcohol and hypothermia
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Old 09-06-2008, 12:44   #8
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The autoinflators are not all the same. Crewfit, and some Mustang vests, use a spring wrapped in paper-mache instead of the "tablet". It takes a lot more moisture to make the paper-mache get soggy (which releases the compressed spring and punctures the cartridge) compared to a "tablet" simply degrading over time.

Then there are the new "hydroscopic" release jobs, which don't really release from water pressure, but rather use a flapper valve to keep out damp air, so that you really need to be immersed for water to activate the release. Another more expensive nice idea.

Nice integration with the SPOT, but I keep things in a small waist pouch. Cell phone in a baggy, chapstick, whatever. I'd rather keep some things OUT of the PFD.
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Old 11-06-2008, 05:27   #9
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The autoinflators are not all the same. Crewfit, and some Mustang vests, use a spring wrapped in paper-mache instead of the "tablet"
Then there are the new "hydroscopic" release jobs, which don't really release from water pressure, ...
Most of the new “Mustang” Auot-Inflatable PFDs use a Hydrostatic Inflator.
Hydrostatic pressure is applied to objects submerged in water. The hydrostatic inflator needs only to be submerged 4 inches (8 cm) for the hydrostatic pressure to open a pressure valve releasing a firing mechanism, automatically inflating the PFD.

Mustang Survival Inflatable Life Jackets

Hydrostatic Pressure is a result the height of the liquid (and air) above (or submerged depth), according to Pascal's Principle*.

* Pressure applied to an enclosed fluid is transmitted undiminished to every part of the fluid, as well as to the walls of the container.

Hygroscopic (NOT hydroscopic) refers to the ability of a substance, such as calcium chloride (which dissolves in the presence of moisture), to attract water molecules from the surrounding environment through either absorption or adsorption.

Practical Sailor’s Inflatable PFD Test (2004):

http://www.mustangsurvival.com/resou...cal_Sailor.pdf
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Old 11-06-2008, 06:24   #10
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I use my PFD at all times even in what I would consider mild conditions. This makes for
a secure feeling or by now no thought of improper safety. I am in a dry marina but I keep it stored in the plastic covering when not in use. The BLUESTORM model was the right choice for me for the SPOT-Tracking on the SPOT is great! But the best thing is the $8.00 a year extraction insurance. Even if you are traveling out of the country the coverage is great! Check out the Spot Messenger > Home site for the coverage map!
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Old 11-06-2008, 07:25   #11
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Gord-
I got my last Crewfit 'paper mache' refill from Mustang, so I KNOW that some of the Mustang vests used the same mechanism. As for the new Mustang vests being "hydrostatic" release, that's a matter of semantics. They DO NOT use a hydrostatic release. They use a flapper valve as the only hydrostatic mechanism, and that valve allows water to activate the old fashioned "tablet" behind it. If the valve should be unseated, or moisture get past it, the tablet is still susceptible to decay.

A clever way to prevent dmap air from circulating around the tablet--but still just a tablet at heart. To my way of thinking, a hydrostatic release would directly (mechanically) release something, i.e. the flapper valve would push a lever arm and puncture the cartridge. Of course, when you're trying to make that release sensitive enough to go off in just a foot or two or water--that's a good trick too.[g]

Considering how reliable the paper-mache is by itself...Mustang's new system seems like a way to temp Mr. Murphy (him of Murphy's Law) with "more moving parts to fail".
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Old 14-06-2008, 04:26   #12
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.. As for the new Mustang vests being "hydrostatic" release, that's a matter of semantics. They DO NOT use a hydrostatic release. They use a flapper valve as the only hydrostatic mechanism, and that valve allows water to activate the old fashioned "tablet" behind it. If the valve should be unseated, or moisture get past it, the tablet is still susceptible to decay...
... Considering how reliable the paper-mache is by itself...Mustang's new system seems like a way to temp Mr. Murphy (him of Murphy's Law) with "more moving parts to fail".
"Hydrostatic pressure opens the water inlet valve, allowing the water-sensing element to disintegrate, triggering a spring loaded plunger, which punctures the CO2 cylinder inflating the Inflatable Vest."

I don’t know what the Water-Sensing Element consists of, but suspect you may be nearly correct, in equating it with the old “pill”.

Hydrostatic Inflator Technology Video
This video demonstrates the benefits and performance of Hydrostatic Inflator Technology and shows how to re-arm your Deluxe HIT Inflatable PFD.
Goto:
Learning Zone :: Mustang Survival
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Old 14-06-2008, 12:15   #13
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Gord-
The old gray matter often suffers parity errors, the result of being around computers for too long and catching their diseases. But "for sure" the Mustang hydro business is quite literally a conventional "pill" secured behind a flapper valve. I give them credit for that--using a proven mechanism and simply adding a layer (the valve) of protection to fix the #1 problem with it.

Damn good thing it isn't microelectronics with an embedded version of Windows, isn't it? <VBG>
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Old 14-06-2008, 15:06   #14
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Everyone is touting the plus side of the auto inflatable and they are worth their weight in gold if you go overboard un-teathered, or unconscious and especially at night, but if you go over with a safety line attached and they inflate they can make it difficult getting back on board. This is one case that a manual type would be preferred.
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Old 15-06-2008, 05:21   #15
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Quest, the big question (for many of us) is HOW exactly do you plan to go overboard. If I'm concious at the time, I can deal with many things, including deflating my vest or cutting a tether.

On the other hand, if I go overboard after getting whacked by the boom, I'm not going to be able to do a damned thing except DROWN unless I've got flotation on. And that's why I want an autoinflate, as opposed to manual.

I figure it is a matter of probabilities. In one situation, I have options. In the other--none.

By the way, if you ever hear a noise like a Babe Ruth just whacked one out of the ballpark using an aluminum bat, and that noise is coming from INside your head in perfectly balanced stereo? Ayup, that means you've just been kissed by the boom. It's a very memorable sound, and incredibly loud.
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