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Old 18-11-2016, 04:38   #1
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Warning on PFD's .

This is just a friendly warning to all of you that own PFD's .
We recently discovered while inspecting our safety equipment that the inflation mechanisms complete with cylinders had detached themselves from the bladders and were lying loose inside the jackets . Both jackets looked like new from the outside and were still in date regarding servicing .

Had we gone overboard they would have been totally useless .

The moral of the story is manually inflate them regularly and make sure the integrity of the seal/connection to the bladder is 100%.

Safe sailing .
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Old 18-11-2016, 04:39   #2
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Re: Warning on PFD's .

There is little in life that's worse than a bladder leak!
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Old 18-11-2016, 04:57   #3
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Re: Warning on PFD's .

You should certainly check it once a year, at the very least. But when you manually inflate it, don't use your mouth as that introduces moisture into the bladder which is not a good thing. Use a pump.

I also when I'm replacing the cartridge go ahead and trigger the old one to make sure the bladder checks out with it's inflation pressure.
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Old 18-11-2016, 07:36   #4
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Re: Warning on PFD's .

We also inflate our PFDs with the cartridge when doing a scheduled replacement. Last Spring we brought the PFDs to a Friday evening dock cocktail party and showed the group how they inflate (using the manual trigger). Great party stunt, and folks were shocked at the rapid and somewhat violent inflation ... great learning opportunity.
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Old 18-11-2016, 08:00   #5
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Re: Warning on PFD's .

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There is little in life that's worse than a bladder leak!

Ha! That's funny right there!
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Old 18-11-2016, 08:01   #6
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Re: Warning on PFD's .

Quote:
Originally Posted by ALLAN WARD View Post
This is just a friendly warning to all of you that own PFD's .

We recently discovered while inspecting our safety equipment that the inflation mechanisms complete with cylinders had detached themselves from the bladders and were lying loose inside the jackets . Both jackets looked like new from the outside and were still in date regarding servicing .



Had we gone overboard they would have been totally useless .



The moral of the story is manually inflate them regularly and make sure the integrity of the seal/connection to the bladder is 100%.



Safe sailing .

Good post Allan!
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Old 18-11-2016, 08:07   #7
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Re: Warning on PFD's .

Brand? Model?
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Old 18-11-2016, 08:39   #8
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Re: Warning on PFD's .

I'm in the USCG Auxiliary and have to inspect my inflatable every month.

Here is a good article from West Marine about inspecting your inflatable PFD:
DIY Check Your Inflatable Life Vest | West Marine
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Old 18-11-2016, 08:46   #9
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Re: Warning on PFD's .

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Old 18-11-2016, 08:51   #10
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Re: Warning on PFD's .

Disclaimer! I did NOT read the instructions thoroughly and stored my vest with CO2 cartridge on my fly bridge. It went off one day scaring me a bit. I was not going to trust my life to a faulty vest so I pitched and bought a new one. Up to the fly bridge for storage. It went off on its own one day, prompting me to read the instructions. Basically; "Do not store in temperatures above 120 Deg F." I measured my bridge temp last summer, it was 150 Deg F.

I now have my vest hanging just inside of my cabin entry.
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Old 18-11-2016, 08:55   #11
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Re: Warning on PFD's .

Thanks for the reminder. We have Mustang 3184s and its getting to be time to do a manual test. I think I'll wait until summer to do a wet test with one!

Cheers, RickG
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Old 18-11-2016, 09:15   #12
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Re: Warning on PFD's .

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Disclaimer! I did NOT read the instructions thoroughly and stored my vest with CO2 cartridge on my fly bridge. It went off one day scaring me a bit. I was not going to trust my life to a faulty vest so I pitched and bought a new one. Up to the fly bridge for storage. It went off on its own one day, prompting me to read the instructions. Basically; "Do not store in temperatures above 120 Deg F." I measured my bridge temp last summer, it was 150 Deg F.

I now have my vest hanging just inside of my cabin entry.
That is a very interesting anecdote and a good warning to note. Thanks for sharing your experience.
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Old 18-11-2016, 11:01   #13
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Re: Warning on PFD's .

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... the inflation mechanisms complete with cylinders had detached themselves from the bladders and were lying loose inside the jackets.
This is a really interesting, and terrifying, failure mode. If I understand what you're saying, the weld between the inflation mechanism and the bladder material failed, right? No glue involved; just welding?

If so, this is the first time I have heard of a weld in the material failing. There have been some instances of seams failing, but I believe the UL standard requires that all bladders be pumped up to about 1-2 PSI to verify the welding. Oral inflation pressure is about 1/2 to 3/4 PSI. Burst strength for life jackets is between 15 and 30 PSI so there is a lot of extra margin built-in.

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Old 18-11-2016, 11:26   #14
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Re: Warning on PFD's .

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Originally Posted by ALLAN WARD View Post
...looked like new from the outside and were still in date regarding servicing.

Had we gone overboard they would have been totally useless .

.
There are many professional mariners who, in really bad conditions, i.e. survival storms, ditch the inflatables and wear non inflatable life preservers. This is due to the fact that there is much less to go wrong with a non inflatable. You'll still need a spray hood but at least it won't deflate or not work when you need it.

While this may be overkill for many, it is worth considering. Among other options, keep some sort of back up readily available, such as a life ring, some sort of raft or flotation device, etc.

Another thing to consider when storing an inflatable PFD is the inflation mechanism. If it uses a bobbin, the bobbin will often absorb humidity and after an extended period, sometimes just one winter, it will self inflate when the bobbin absorbs enough water. It is best to remove the bobbin when storing the life preserver for long periods. Don't forget to put the bobbin in some sort of waterproof container with some descant.
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Old 18-11-2016, 12:06   #15
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Re: Warning on PFD's .

Yes, good advice, I inflate and check my PFD,s every year. after inflation I recheck them the next day to see how they hold the pressure.
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