Hi, as two largish women, we have explored this a bit. I'm a bit confused by the language here between PFD
and inflatable, which may be a US thing. I think a PFD
is a permanent floating support primarily for small boats, and not suitable for offshore
use. For these, which we do carry for dinghy
use, we found simply getting bigger blokes ones have been adequate. We have used them in the water, though not in an emergency
and they've worked ok. So that seems to be about getting a big but not too big one. They're cheap
enough you can replace it if you're unhappy.
Is an inflatable an offshore
lifejacket? if so, we have found the Baltic
Ultimate suits us. It's has an integral harness and plenty of adjustable straps to get it right for you. Importantly it has a crotch strap. Also very important it has an automatic hood
so that as you go in the water and the automatic inflation kicks in, the hood
comes out. If you sail in cold water, where cold water shock is a key danger
to cause you to inhale water, this is a significant safety
We have adjusted ours to suit each of us and they are then both labelled with our names and each has a piece of coloured ribbon attached. When we have visiting crew we issue them each with their own lifejacket, require them to adjust it to size and then make sure they know which is their coloured ribbon. So far the baltics have been sufficiently flexible for us.
We have used the Baltics in the water, doing our sea survival course, and they were fine, but of course that's not the same as the emergency
test we work very hard to avoid.
I would be interested in the fanny pack test too as they look a cool alternative with all the stuff in teh pack as well.