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Old 02-03-2013, 16:44   #1
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Which PFD for Offshore?

Hey guys, pretty new here and have a question to ask you experienced offshore sailors. I'm looking into getting a nice comfy, high quality PFD for offshore sailing without breaking the bank. It is also quite confusing as some look like they are top of the line yet are only TYPE V/III recreational. I mean does it even matter what rating it has? We are sailing from Vancouver to Austrlia, are we going to get harassed anywhere for not having the proper safety equipment on board? I like the looks of the Mustang Auto-inflate PFD's , but they vary in price so much... just looking for something that I can wear aloft and be able to work without even noticing it's on me, yet be reliable if I need it to save my life, any suggestions?
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Old 02-03-2013, 17:08   #2
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Re: which PFD for offshore???

We have the auto-inflating West Marine PFD's. Have had them for years, have tested them, and they have the D clips in the front to work as harnesses as well.

The US is probably the last country that's really going to care about your PFD situation (in your route). When we were in US waters we cared type 2 models for everyone onboard in a container in the lazarette.

Type 5's just mean it's something weird. There are plenty of type 5's (like mine) that I'd take over a 1 or 2 any day.
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Old 02-03-2013, 17:27   #3
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Re: which PFD for offshore???

For offshore work, a harness is far more important than a PFD. The point is to stay on the boat. For that reason I second Rebel Heart's recommendation to use an inflatable PFD with D rings. It needs to be something that you can use to tether to your jack lines.
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Old 02-03-2013, 17:40   #4
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Re: Which PFD for Offshore?

I'd be more concerned with options for the best safety practice than risk of being harassed. Add to the good advice above a strobe light, whistle & electronic tracer. You are not likley to encounter inspection.
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Old 02-03-2013, 17:42   #5
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Re: Which PFD for Offshore?

Good point, with that said then do you have any recommendations as far as brands go? Are there PFD's that you can equip with a D ring? And Rebel Heart, you mentioned that the US is the last country to worry about as far as regs, does this mean I need to look into what requirements I will need to meet at ports of call along the way? Will my $250 Type V hydrostatic PFD pass?
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Old 02-03-2013, 17:52   #6
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Re: Which PFD for Offshore?

Been wearing a spinlock deck vest for a few years now. Very comfortable, solid hookup for teather connection. NOT USCG approved.I have plenty of other approved vests aboard, but this is the one that I put on every time I'm aboard.
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Old 02-03-2013, 22:53   #7
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Re: which PFD for offshore???

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Originally Posted by rebel heart View Post
We have the auto-inflating West Marine PFD's. Have had them for years, have tested them, and they have the D clips in the front to work as harnesses as well.

The US is probably the last country that's really going to care about your PFD situation (in your route). When we were in US waters we cared type 2 models for everyone onboard in a container in the lazarette.

Type 5's just mean it's something weird. There are plenty of type 5's (like mine) that I'd take over a 1 or 2 any day.
I have the same one with D rings. I'm not a fan of the "bungie" line to the jacklines. I'm just use to having my 6ft. 5/8" nylon with caribiner.
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Old 02-03-2013, 23:49   #8
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Re: Which PFD for Offshore?

We wore the manual S O Spenders w/ built in harness for many years on the Great Lakes. They were wearable and affordable. We just spent the dollars for the auto inflating Spinlock Deck Vest. Built in light on a pylon, spray hood and really comfortable! No restriction of movement.

Buy what you will wear, all the time!
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Old 03-03-2013, 00:39   #9
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Re: Which PFD for Offshore?

Have the SpinLock vest with harness. Very comfortable to wear and comes with crotch straps which are a big plus if you really need to use the vest. Wore mine 24/7 for 15 days on the sail to Hawaii.
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Old 03-03-2013, 03:17   #10
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Re: Which PFD for Offshore?

For cold areas, I'd put in a float coat vote... for a special kind of type V that looks and works like a long-sleeved regular cool-weather jacket.
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Old 03-03-2013, 04:00   #11
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Re: Which PFD for Offshore?

My vote also on an inflatable PFD with an integrated harness (possibly also with thigh straps) - I have never been a big one on wearing lifejackets, that mostly from laziness to put on (yeah, I know ).....but what works well for me is having a PFD that stays clipped onto my sailing jacket - when it gets cold enough for the jacket then the PFD (and harness) automatically goes on as simply as the coat ........I mention that only because I would figure that any decent looking lifejacket would likely pass muster visually without anyone checking exact specs.

In any event, my understanding is that the "safety" equipment you are required to keep onboard is governed by those of your flag / registry and not those of the places you visit. Albeit in places where local laws cover the use of a dinghy they probably can nab yer at that point .
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Old 03-03-2013, 07:38   #12
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Originally Posted by Timo21 View Post
Good point, with that said then do you have any recommendations as far as brands go? Are there PFD's that you can equip with a D ring? And Rebel Heart, you mentioned that the US is the last country to worry about as far as regs, does this mean I need to look into what requirements I will need to meet at ports of call along the way? Will my $250 Type V hydrostatic PFD pass?
I'd guess you have a 25% chance of being inspected. Depends on where you go, for how long, and your luck.

If you're spending more than a couple of months in the USA I'd check the USCG website for minimums.
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Old 07-03-2013, 20:41   #13
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Re: Which PFD for Offshore?

The spinlock deckvest is the "rolls royce" of PFDs... do get a combined PFD / harness and a tether. Id even recommend a 3-point tether if you are going to be offshore
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Old 07-03-2013, 20:54   #14
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Re: Which PFD for Offshore?

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Originally Posted by David_Old_Jersey View Post
In any event, my understanding is that the "safety" equipment you are required to keep onboard is governed by those of your flag / registry and not those of the places you visit. Albeit in places where local laws cover the use of a dinghy they probably can nab yer at that point .
That is my understanding as well ... at least in the USA and Canada.
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Old 07-03-2013, 22:46   #15
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Re: Which PFD for Offshore?

The Spinlock gets great reviews.

I am a Mustang fan (HIT technology with a a built in harness and added crotch strap) - I like the quick release rather than a cow hitched tether.

I put tethers all over the boat and use the appropriate one, rather than having my own individual one.

On my pfd I have a rigging knife, flashlight (red lens), strobe, whistle and a PLB.
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