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Old 08-11-2010, 20:07   #1
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PFDs for Non-Swimmers

What is the BEST type of PFD for a non-swimmer? Has anyone had any experience with this matter? Auto inflated or non? Vest or jacket? I have read some info on this and it is confusing. Thanks for any imput you can give. Diane
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Old 09-11-2010, 00:59   #2
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Why for non-swimmers?

I'm a very strong swimmer, but that wouldn't make a whit of difference if I were knocked out or otherwise incapacitated.

Is there something particular to sailing that results in a swimmer/non-swimmer difference for PFDs?
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Old 09-11-2010, 02:23   #3
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just moden day PFDs have a wonderful way of psyching a non swimmer into some form of contentment. Inflatables can leave them a little panicky that they may not work. (they also make great emergency seat cushions-lol)

Also they dont need re-inflating and can be used over and over without spare parts-even for a little practice floating in shallow water. Inflatables are more for single emergency use.


These things are terrible to move around in and are neck snappers..



The Vest type below are great and will still support an unconcious victim and can be used as a floaty too.


It all comes down to personal opinion of course. But thats my 2cents

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Old 09-11-2010, 02:51   #4
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A non-swimmer may not want to look like a goose with the only PDF on. One of the ones we have is a small inflatable (its still Type 1) that is in a pouch like a Fanny Pack. Its got a zippered pocket for torches, chocolate and dirty photos.
If its needed to be used you slide the fanny pack to the front rip open the velcro, put the head thing over your head and pull the rip cord... and slowly shoot to the surface...
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Old 09-11-2010, 04:52   #5
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I would think a type I inflatable with auto inflate worn all the time while on deck would be your best best. I just wrote a good article for Southwinds magazine about PFDs, it will be out next month you can read it online at their web site for free. SOUTHWINDS Magazine | News and Views for Southern Sailors
Current issue has my article about EPIRBs. (Is this a shameless plug?) If you need it sooner I can email a copy to you
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Old 09-11-2010, 05:01   #6
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I think that oral inflate snorkelling vests are great for this.

We get quite a few Americans who bring their non-diving, non-swimming Phillipina wives along on the dive boats. Often, they love snorkelling, but when they stop moving they sink, on account of being so slim. (Or dense, in my husband's case).

These are comfortable, lightweight, and can be deflated when the user wants to duck dive.
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Old 09-11-2010, 05:19   #7
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non-swimming Phillipina wives ..when they stop moving they sink,
Rubber balloons?






Homage to Benny Hill RIP...
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Old 09-11-2010, 08:41   #8
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So in sailing, PFDs are only for non-swimmers?

Nothing is obvious to the uninformed ...
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Old 09-11-2010, 10:07   #9
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I have a non swimmer join me regularly. I have him wear a type III instead of inflatable because I don't want a panicked non-swimmer to have to struggle to inflate his PFD should he ever go overboard.
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Old 09-11-2010, 10:57   #10
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I'd say its personal preference. If I was a complete non-swimmer, I'd shy away from an inflatable PFD, just because there's that much more to do while pannicked and choking on sea water. In a colder climate (such as my current location in Southeast Alaska), I highly recommend Mustang jackets. They're warm, easy to move around in, and can be worn as an ordinary jacket on a cold day. Plus, they float. If you really want an inflatable, I would use one that is already on a collar around your neck. Then, the only action necessary would be to pull the cord. There are some that are automatically deploying when they hit salt water, but the problem with these is that a bit of spray in the wrong place and all of a sudden you have a bulky PFD inflated around your neck. It happens...take it from experience. The rest of that Annapolis to Newport race was a bit uncomfortable. For warmer climates, I have also seen some vest style, low profile PFDs that look fairly comfortable. I'd shy away from the horse collar ones, except if the boat is sinking, because it's hard to work in them. Just my two cents worth.

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Old 09-11-2010, 12:31   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Dmarina View Post
What is the BEST type of PFD for a non-swimmer? Has anyone had any experience with this matter? Auto inflated or non? Vest or jacket? I have read some info on this and it is confusing. Thanks for any imput you can give. Diane
Depends what you are using it for. and why wearing it.

Me is not really a non-swimmer (no technique or puff). But I am very comfortable in the water - as long as something to hang onto within a 10 metre radius. or I have some flotation. Indeed I am an advanced (LOL!) Scuba Diver (PADI ).

Onboard I wear an auto-inflatable because I am not intending to fall over and figure it gives me a bit more manouervability to avoid doing so. as well as simple conveniance from not being shaped like the Michelin Man (others may already be used to that ). If new crew is that worried about going overboard and needing a PFD ready to go 24/7 or I don't think they can stay onboard by themselves then they won't be onboard. or I would confine them down below. I don't view the primary role of any PFD as a comforter

But if intending to actually be messing around in the water (or likely to be - i.e. in a small sailing dink) I use either simply a wetsuit or a foam vest type - the downside is that when in the water less manoueverable in a fully inflated PFD, particularly for climbing onboard an inflatable dink. Like most things a bit of practice / familiarity makes all the difference to confidence. But again, if someone was that uncomfortable in water (that they can't stand up in) without any PFD I wouldn't want to be responsible for them being in the water in the first place. PFD or not. Besides, those PFD's ain't free

Any sort of PFD is not a magic solution to all drowning related issues.
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Old 09-11-2010, 21:27   #12
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A non-swimmer may not want to look like a goose with the only PDF on.
My exerience is that the non swimmers that visit dont care what they look like. They are more worried about drowning.

Cheers
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Old 11-11-2010, 20:01   #13
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THANKS

THANKS TO ALL FOR YOUR IMPUT. GREAT RESPONSES. Diane
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