Cruisers Forum
 


Join CruisersForum Today

Reply
 
Thread Tools Rate Thread Display Modes
Old 22-06-2016, 10:35   #1
Senior Cruiser
 
skipmac's Avatar

Cruisers Forum Supporter

Join Date: Oct 2007
Location: 29 49.16 N 82 25.82 W
Boat: Pearson 422
Posts: 12,374
Inflatable PFDs, manual vs automatic

Adding combo PFD/harness to the boat and am debating whether I should go with a manual or auto inflate model.

Ignoring for now cost and convenience issues (this is life support equipment so not an area to scrimp) I see some pros and cons to both.

First, I can think of situations where I would not want the jacket to inflate. Examples:
- I'm overboard but tethered in. An inflated jacket would probably interfere with rescue.
- I'm trapped under something (sails from broken mast, inverted boat, whatever) where an inflated jacket would prevent swimming down and out.

But, if you fall overboard unconscious you could drown unless the jacket was an autoinflate.

There seems to be issues with occasional unintended self inflating with some systems. I read that the hydrostatis inflate systems like the Spinlok hammar virtually eliminate this problem but cost does become an issue when trying to equip a boat for 4-5-6 crew.

So, what opinions?
__________________

__________________
The water is always bluer on the other side of the ocean.
skipmac is online now   Reply With Quote
Old 22-06-2016, 10:42   #2
Registered User
 
ontherocks83's Avatar

Join Date: Aug 2013
Location: Massachusetts
Boat: Checkmate Strobe 201
Posts: 1,593
Re: Inflatable PFDs, manual vs automatic

My thought would be, it is easier (read: possible) for a conscious trapped person to deflate or take off their life jacket then it would be for an unconscious person to inflate their life jacket.
__________________

__________________
-Si Vis Pacem Para Bellum
-Molon Labe
ontherocks83 is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 22-06-2016, 11:54   #3
Registered User

Join Date: Feb 2014
Location: Edmond, OK
Posts: 75
Re: Inflatable PFDs, manual vs automatic

I've used a Mustang automatic inflatable for many years, but I'm now rethinking it. This video makes some good points.

https://vimeo.com/132245870
__________________
Tetra is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 22-06-2016, 13:03   #4
Marine Service Provider

Join Date: Sep 2012
Location: Virgin Islands
Boat: 1999 Leopard 45, 45 foot cat, 1980 Hunter 33, 33 foot monohull
Posts: 405
Re: Inflatable PFDs, manual vs automatic

I would always vote in favor of an automatic vest for the reasons stated by OnTheRocks. Also, tests have shown that without a crotch strap, things can get much worse. For some reason, these are more difficult to source in the US than in Europe, but for my money, an automatic inflatable with harness and crotch strap is the only thing.

By the way, blow it up manually, from time to time. After one particularly harrowing incident, I thought to test my vest, and a seam had parted! So it would have been worthless. It was a top of the line vest, well cared for, and it makes one realize why the USCG is always a bit skeptical when it comes to counting an inflatable vest. But, the convenience of always having it on, even when sleeping or without a shirt, wins the day, in my opinion.
__________________
contrail is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 22-06-2016, 13:05   #5
Registered User
 
Stu Jackson's Avatar

Join Date: Jan 2011
Location: Cowichan Bay, BC (Maple Bay Marina)
Posts: 6,385
Re: Inflatable PFDs, manual vs automatic

There are clear advantages and disadvantages to each.

Your boat, your choice.

Only YOU can make those decisions.
__________________
Stu Jackson
Catalina 34 #224 (1986) C34IA Secretary
Cowichan Bay, BC, (Maple Bay Marina) SR/FK, M25, Rocna 10 (22#) (NZ model)
Stu Jackson is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 22-06-2016, 13:11   #6
Registered User
 
gamayun's Avatar

Join Date: Aug 2013
Location: Oakland, CA
Boat: Freedom 38
Posts: 1,231
Re: Inflatable PFDs, manual vs automatic

I've gone in the water with my HIT inflatable in a pool and as an MOB. My thinking is definitely evolving the more I try it out in the water. The jacket style with mesh on the left in the video is what the CG uses. It's like wearing a girdle around your chest, but it does become easier to get used to the more you actually use it. In warmer sailing areas, though, I might rethink that. I really wish someone would come up with a hybrid inherently buoyant PFD with optional inflatable for increase buoyancy and a splash hood.
__________________
gamayun is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 22-06-2016, 13:13   #7
Writing Full-Time Since 2014
 
thinwater's Avatar

Join Date: Nov 2008
Location: Deale, MD
Boat: PDQ Altair, 32/34
Posts: 4,332
Re: Inflatable PFDs, manual vs automatic

Quote:
Originally Posted by Stu Jackson View Post
There are clear advantages and disadvantages to each.

Your boat, your choice.

Only YOU can make those decisions.
And remember that internet forums give very conservative answers. They are easier to defend.

(I wear a harness and no PFD most of the time. As a single hander that sails in cold water a lot, it is a better answer for me.)
__________________
Gear Testing--Engineering--Sailing

Writing full-time since 2014.
Bookstore:http://sail-delmarva.blogspot.com/20...ook-store.html
thinwater is online now   Reply With Quote
Old 22-06-2016, 13:15   #8
Senior Cruiser
 
skipmac's Avatar

Cruisers Forum Supporter

Join Date: Oct 2007
Location: 29 49.16 N 82 25.82 W
Boat: Pearson 422
Posts: 12,374
Re: Inflatable PFDs, manual vs automatic

Quote:
Originally Posted by ontherocks83 View Post
My thought would be, it is easier (read: possible) for a conscious trapped person to deflate or take off their life jacket then it would be for an unconscious person to inflate their life jacket.
True for this one issue that's a point.
__________________
The water is always bluer on the other side of the ocean.
skipmac is online now   Reply With Quote
Old 22-06-2016, 13:20   #9
Senior Cruiser
 
skipmac's Avatar

Cruisers Forum Supporter

Join Date: Oct 2007
Location: 29 49.16 N 82 25.82 W
Boat: Pearson 422
Posts: 12,374
Re: Inflatable PFDs, manual vs automatic

Quote:
Originally Posted by Tetra View Post
I've used a Mustang automatic inflatable for many years, but I'm now rethinking it. This video makes some good points.
The important point I think he makes in this video, the inflatables are designed to be comfortable and wear on deck. To me this is a plus and not a negative. If the jacket is awkward, uncomfortable and restrictive then no one will wear them. I want a jacket (with integral harness) that is wearable when working on deck. The assumption is, if you go overboard while working the boat you will have crew that will (hopefully) come back to get you or haul you back on board with the tether.

If you're abandoning ship, have no raft and will be in the water, then I have standard lifejackets that will be more comfortable, more buoyant, etc for potential long term in the water.
__________________
The water is always bluer on the other side of the ocean.
skipmac is online now   Reply With Quote
Old 22-06-2016, 13:20   #10
Registered User
 
Steady Hand's Avatar

Join Date: Jul 2014
Location: Crewing All of 2017 Available Globally
Boat: OPB = Crewing in 2017
Posts: 4,851
Re: Inflatable PFDs, manual vs automatic

Quote:
Originally Posted by ontherocks83 View Post
My thought would be, it is easier (read: possible) for a conscious trapped person to deflate or take off their life jacket then it would be for an unconscious person to inflate their life jacket.


Agree on this point, and very close to how I think of it. If conscious, one can adapt, by deflating the inflatable or taking any off. . If unconscious the automatic or foam filled will make the difference and save the unconscious, if it is a properly designed PFD and properly fitted and worn..
__________________
Ahoy All Sailors! Need experienced crew for a passage or delivery in Atlantic, Pacific, Caribbean, Med, PNW, ICW, coastal or across an ocean anytime in 2017? I am available on 24hr notice. See my CF Profile "About Me" page for details. Happy to lend a hand!
Steady Hand is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 22-06-2016, 13:21   #11
Registered User
 
jeremiason's Avatar

Join Date: Oct 2010
Location: Punta Gorda, Florida
Boat: Sea Ray 270
Posts: 1,427
Images: 2
Send a message via ICQ to jeremiason Send a message via Yahoo to jeremiason Send a message via Skype™ to jeremiason
Re: Inflatable PFDs, manual vs automatic

I did my USCG STCW Certification using an auto-inflating (Hydro-Static) PFD.

I stepped from a 14' platform and went into the pool. The diver said I went down about 7 feet, before I was neutral buoyant and then immediately took off for the surface. When I surfaced I did nothing and the vest rolled me onto my back, allowing me to breath normally. That was a true confidence test of my PFD and I swear by it now.

Like previous posts, I believe if you are conscious, you can release air from a PFD or even take it off if you need less buoyancy.

If you are unconscious, you can't do anything except hope the PFD works the way it is suppose to.

I would vote Auto-Inflating PFDs
__________________
Tom Jeremiason
Punta Gorda, Florida

jeremiason is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 22-06-2016, 13:25   #12
Senior Cruiser
 
skipmac's Avatar

Cruisers Forum Supporter

Join Date: Oct 2007
Location: 29 49.16 N 82 25.82 W
Boat: Pearson 422
Posts: 12,374
Re: Inflatable PFDs, manual vs automatic

Quote:
Originally Posted by contrail View Post
I would always vote in favor of an automatic vest for the reasons stated by OnTheRocks. Also, tests have shown that without a crotch strap, things can get much worse. For some reason, these are more difficult to source in the US than in Europe

I've found that out. Not sure why. Doesn't matter, it's easy enough to add a crotch strap. I made my own diving harnesses with crotch straps and still have spare webbing.

, but for my money, an automatic inflatable with harness and crotch strap is the only thing.

By the way, blow it up manually, from time to time. After one particularly harrowing incident, I thought to test my vest, and a seam had parted! So it would have been worthless. It was a top of the line vest, well cared for, and it makes one realize why the USCG is always a bit skeptical when it comes to counting an inflatable vest. But, the convenience of always having it on, even when sleeping or without a shirt, wins the day, in my opinion.
Did the seam part due to trauma to the vest or did it just fail with age/wear?

Regular testing is definitely part of the routine.
__________________
The water is always bluer on the other side of the ocean.
skipmac is online now   Reply With Quote
Old 22-06-2016, 13:29   #13
Senior Cruiser
 
skipmac's Avatar

Cruisers Forum Supporter

Join Date: Oct 2007
Location: 29 49.16 N 82 25.82 W
Boat: Pearson 422
Posts: 12,374
Re: Inflatable PFDs, manual vs automatic

Quote:
Originally Posted by Stu Jackson View Post
There are clear advantages and disadvantages to each.

Your boat, your choice.

Only YOU can make those decisions.
Thanks Stu. Completely agree. I'll make up my own mind no matter what you say.

Kidding aside, I see the value of the forum in most cases as a place to get a range of opinions and maybe see an aspect of something that I had not thought of myself. But yes at the end of the day, one has to make the decision for what will work best on his/her boat.
__________________
The water is always bluer on the other side of the ocean.
skipmac is online now   Reply With Quote
Old 22-06-2016, 13:34   #14
Senior Cruiser
 
skipmac's Avatar

Cruisers Forum Supporter

Join Date: Oct 2007
Location: 29 49.16 N 82 25.82 W
Boat: Pearson 422
Posts: 12,374
Re: Inflatable PFDs, manual vs automatic

Quote:
Originally Posted by gamayun View Post
I've gone in the water with my HIT inflatable in a pool

If I recall, the HIT system inflates due to hydrostatic pressure so must be submerged X ft to trigger. So did a leap into the pool inflate the vest?

and as an MOB.

Or WOB? So was that for real or were you being the crash test dummy for practice?

My thinking is definitely evolving the more I try it out in the water. The jacket style with mesh on the left in the video is what the CG uses. It's like wearing a girdle around your chest, but it does become easier to get used to the more you actually use it. In warmer sailing areas, though, I might rethink that. I really wish someone would come up with a hybrid inherently buoyant PFD with optional inflatable for increase buoyancy and a splash hood.

I think you just invented one. Apply for the patent soon before someone pirates the idea.
I had forgotten about the splash hood option. That seems to be a neglected aspect of most designs, even more so than the crotch strap.
__________________
The water is always bluer on the other side of the ocean.
skipmac is online now   Reply With Quote
Old 22-06-2016, 13:37   #15
Registered User
 
Steady Hand's Avatar

Join Date: Jul 2014
Location: Crewing All of 2017 Available Globally
Boat: OPB = Crewing in 2017
Posts: 4,851
Re: Inflatable PFDs, manual vs automatic

When inflatable PFDs first came out 26 years or more ago, I bought one (automatic, with harness) and wore it every time on deck. My consistency of use is because before I had one, I was a MOB due to an accidental gybe while I was on the foredeck of a racing boat. The "MOB in the water" view of the boat sailing away is one I don't want to ever see again, at least not without a PFD on. After that I used a kayak type or dingy vest (foam) prior to getting the inflatable when they first hit the chandlery.

Today I would do the same, buy and wear an inflatable, but my preference would be for a model with these features:

1. Automatic Hydrostatic
2. Sailing harness
3. Crotch or leg straps
4. Spray hood
5. Tether with both short and longer tether straps

Why the crotch straps and hood? At first I thought they were a gimmick. Then I watched this video and it convinced me that those features make sense if one is in storm conditions on the ocean.

https://youtu.be/NNfXMLG5pI4

I also prefer the PFD with the built in sailing harness, rather than separate.

Be aware that not all inflatables are the same buoyancy, as some are just about 20 pounds while the better ones are 35 pounds buoyancy. Same with the foam style vests.
__________________

__________________
Ahoy All Sailors! Need experienced crew for a passage or delivery in Atlantic, Pacific, Caribbean, Med, PNW, ICW, coastal or across an ocean anytime in 2017? I am available on 24hr notice. See my CF Profile "About Me" page for details. Happy to lend a hand!
Steady Hand is offline   Reply With Quote
Reply

Tags
inflatable, pfd

Thread Tools
Display Modes Rate This Thread
Rate This Thread:

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Trackbacks are Off
Pingbacks are Off
Refbacks are Off


Similar Threads
Thread Thread Starter Forum Replies Last Post
Inflatable PFDs With Adjustable Fit Harnesses ? svjobeth Health, Safety & Related Gear 14 18-05-2012 13:27
For Sale: Offshore Inflatable PFDs with Harness, $75 ea Greg S Classifieds Archive 4 15-09-2011 18:58
For Sale: 2 West Marine Offshore Series 1000 Inflatable PFDs w/ Harnesses fastfr8r Classifieds Archive 2 14-10-2009 19:24
Considering Giving Up on Inflatable PFDs JamuJoe Health, Safety & Related Gear 4 07-09-2009 20:22
For Sale: Offshore Inflatable PFDs, Tethers, and Strobes dworkman Classifieds Archive 1 12-08-2009 06:26



Copyright 2002- Social Knowledge, LLC All Rights Reserved.

All times are GMT -7. The time now is 19:14.


Google+
Powered by vBulletin® Version 3.8.8 Beta 1
Copyright ©2000 - 2017, vBulletin Solutions, Inc.
Social Knowledge Networks
Powered by vBulletin® Version 3.8.8 Beta 1
Copyright ©2000 - 2017, vBulletin Solutions, Inc.

ShowCase vBulletin Plugins by Drive Thru Online, Inc.