I consider PFD
crotch straps to be essential.
There have been numerous reports of sailors who have slipped out of their inflatable
(or foam) PFDs, especially if they are in cold water
and begin to suffer from loss of consciousness or use of their hands.
If you are like many who own an inflatable PFD
that does NOT have leg or crotch straps, they can be added easily, in just a few minutes with no tools (like putting a belt on trousers) and inexpensively.
Here is what I bought to add to my inflatable PFD. They cost less than $12 and took about 3 minutes to install. This strap can be added to most inflatable PFDs that have a webbing harness that surrounds the chest. The photo
below does not show how they are attached to a PFD. You simply slide the loops over the webbing harness on your PFD, then connect the quick clips and adjust the length for good fit. Very simple.
What about comfort?
I know that some may not want to wear a crotch strap because they think if may be uncomfortable. My experience with these is that once put on, they are soon forgotten, like wearing socks or a belt on your pants. In short, they are not uncomfortable, they are adjustable, and very light in weight, so hardly noticed if at all.
Crewsaver Add-On Crotch Straps
Fits most inflatable PFDs!
The Crewsaver Inflatable Life Jacket / PFD Crotch Strap connects to any inflatable lifejacket or buoyancy aid's attachment points for a more secure fit
Designed to hold you in a safer position in the water
Retro fits most inflatable lifejackets or buoyancy aids
Detailed instructions included to ensure correct fitting