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-   -   Automatic or Manual life vest? (https://www.cruisersforum.com/forums/f122/automatic-or-manual-life-vest-237865.html)

colinalleck 02-08-2020 21:54

Re: Automatic or Manual life vest?
 
In 20 years of ocean racing on experienced an unwanted inflation when we poked the nose of the boat and the foredeckie throw a 5m wave

Would suggest auto

fxykty 03-08-2020 03:29

Re: Automatic or Manual life vest?
 
For anyone on a monohull with relatively high risk of boom strike then auto inflation (hydrostatic as mentioned before) probably should be the go-to system.

For those on multihulls where boom strike is generally a non-existent problem, but escaping from an overturned cockpit, salon or hull could happen, then manual inflation only. If you really want an auto inflate then be prepared to deflate it if needed and then manually reinflate it.

If sailing in cold water where cold shock is an issue then auto, regardless of boat type.

Spray hoods are very useful and if itís windy pretty much the only way to breathe normally.

Crotch straps are generally only for keeping the life jacket from floating over your head in the water and probably NOT for lifting - make sure you know what kind youíve got.

Tether must have quick release at your end so you can release if youíre being dragged.

Integrated harness is easier to use than a separate one. But it wonít be a chest harness and most likely canít be used to lift you.

Knife, light, whistle are required items and take up very little space. AIS beacon, radio, drogue, flares, etc are add-ons and while useful can add uncomfortable bulk. Figure out how your MOB procedures will work and what youíd want to help.

Consider the volume. 150kN is minimum, 170 and 190 more common for offshore, and 220 and 290 for cold regions where youíre going to be wearing a lot of gear and need more flotation. But the larger the flotation the bulkier and heavier the folded life jacket and the bigger the bladder in front of your body. You may need to partially deflate the bladder to climb into a life raft or back on board.

Practice!! Take an open water survival course, or at very least jump into a pool or lake or ocean with and without foul weather gear and learn what it feels like and how it works. The first time to inflate your life jacket should not be the first time you fall overboard for real.

Test your inflatable regularly - manually inflate it at least once a year to ensure the bladder is in good condition. Learn to repack it and how to rearm it. Carry spares.

A life jacket solves only half the problem - keeping you able to breathe and afloat in the water. Think and plan for the second part of bringing the person in the water back on board.

chrisr 03-08-2020 04:56

Re: Automatic or Manual life vest?
 
i prefer manual.

have you ever tried to swim with a lifejacket on ?

but ALWAYS fit crotch strap to your life jacket. if you don't think this is necessary, inflate one in the water and see what happens without

strobe as well of course

btw, we replace our co2 cartridges regularly however i routinely see l/jackets that are 7 years or more out of date inflate normally, and stay inflated for days and days - assuming the l/jacket has been reasonably cared for. look after it and it will look after you !

cheers,

Mike OReilly 03-08-2020 07:06

Re: Automatic or Manual life vest?
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by fxykty (Post 3200426)
...If sailing in cold water where cold shock is an issue then auto, regardless of boat type.

Spray hoods are very useful and if itís windy pretty much the only way to breathe normally.
...

Integrated harness is easier to use than a separate one. But it wonít be a chest harness and most likely canít be used to lift you.

Good points. Most of my cruising has been in cold water. Immersion brings instant jolt that can debilitate at times. An auto-inflate is pretty important here.

My current old Mustang has a built in harness. I like it a lot and likely use it more than if I had to don a separate harness. My replacement jacket will have one.

Quote:

Originally Posted by chrisr (Post 3200462)
have you ever tried to swim with a lifejacket on ?

Any good lifejacket is going to be hard to swim in. Its primary role is to keep you floating and breathing. But I suppose some are better than others.

Kelkara 03-08-2020 10:28

Re: Automatic or Manual life vest?
 
I also prefer a manual lifejacket ... because then I can also use it in my dinghy. For my dinghy use (rowing to/from shore), I'm most at risk when climbing in/out of the dinghy from the boat, or tripping while landing/launching from a rocky beach ... and in neither of those circumstances do I want my lifejacket exploding automatically into a big clumsy ruff when I'm within arms reach of the ladder or in knee deep water.

I suppose a better solution would be to keep a separate foam pfd for the dinghy. But I'm always tethered while underway, so hopefully a low risk of falling in then.

Tillsbury 03-08-2020 14:53

Re: Automatic or Manual life vest?
 
Here in NZ, like in many countries, inflatable lifejackets have a disadvantage of whether they're counted or not. My boat came with a ludicrous number of foam lifejackets stuffed behind various settees, I think the surveyor stopped counting at 15...

Obviously these are the best things to use when kayaking, on a sailing dinghy, or anywhere else there's a distinct likelihood (and little threat to life) of going in the water. The inflatable ones are for use when you really really don't want to go in the water at all.

Mike OReilly 03-08-2020 15:04

Re: Automatic or Manual life vest?
 
In Canada inflatables are not considered lifejackets unless worn. You don't have to wear a lifejacket all the time on board, but you do have to have an appropriate lifejacket available for all crew.

An inflatable that is sitting in the cockpit doesn't count, but an old keyhole foamy jacket that is buried in the sail locker does -- to use a not-so-random-example :wink:.

chrisr 03-08-2020 15:24

Re: Automatic or Manual life vest?
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by Mike OReilly (Post 3200506)

...


Any good lifejacket is going to be hard to swim in. Its primary role is to keep you floating and breathing. But I suppose some are better than others.

my comment (which was a bit cryptic i admit) was meaning that with a manual l/j you have the option of swimming clear before choosing when to inflate. with an auto you can get trapped

but perhaps this is more relevant to our situation of a catamaran in relatively warm water

cheers,

Kelkara 03-08-2020 15:28

Re: Automatic or Manual life vest?
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by Mike OReilly (Post 3200933)
In Canada inflatables are not considered lifejackets unless worn. You don't have to wear a lifejacket all the time on board, but you do have to have an appropriate lifejacket available for all crew.

An inflatable that is sitting in the cockpit doesn't count, but an old keyhole foamy jacket that is buried in the sail locker does -- to use a not-so-random-example :wink:.

I believe it has to be "readily accessible", so buried in a locker might not count.

chrisr 03-08-2020 15:29

Re: Automatic or Manual life vest?
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by Tillsbury (Post 3200928)
Here in NZ, like in many countries, inflatable lifejackets have a disadvantage of whether they're counted or not. My boat came with a ludicrous number of foam lifejackets stuffed behind various settees, I think the surveyor stopped counting at 15...

Obviously these are the best things to use when kayaking, on a sailing dinghy, or anywhere else there's a distinct likelihood (and little threat to life) of going in the water. The inflatable ones are for use when you really really don't want to go in the water at all.

fortunately they are counted here in Oz

but we also keep a whole bunch of solid foam (board of trade style) l/jackets for when we have extra visitors onboard for a lunch harbour cruise. would never seriously use such though !

cheers,

barnakiel 03-08-2020 15:30

Re: Automatic or Manual life vest?
 
I used to say automatic - until mine inflated while I was wearing it.


I have converted mine to manual then, but my crew's one is auto.


I think if we end up in the dip, these can be two different situations, and I am 100% certain I want to be able to swim.


My vest doubles as my harness, so different choices than when you have split kit.


My next step will be give away the auto vest and invest in a HQ neoprene one.



barnakiel

Mike OReilly 03-08-2020 16:37

Re: Automatic or Manual life vest?
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by Kelkara (Post 3200952)
I believe it has to be "readily accessible", so buried in a locker might not count.


It did in the example I'm thinking of.

Don C L 03-08-2020 17:08

Re: Automatic or Manual life vest?
 
I must be the odd one then again, but I come at it from my years as a commercial river guide where I had a good whitewater life jacket, paddling jacket in my case, on all the time and got pretty used to it, and I needed it from time to time. I can wear my harness underneath it and I have a knife and pockets for light, whistle, gloves and PLB too. It may look bulky, but it is comfy and I am used to it. If I need to get out from under something I can remove it quickly and I have a snap shackle on the harness for quick release if necessary there too. I can't think of a negative other than a line could get snagged on my knife, but it too is quick release of course. Oh, and I can generally swim pretty well with it on too. There must be something wrong with it though since I never see anyone else wearing them.:biggrin:

fxykty 03-08-2020 18:57

Re: Automatic or Manual life vest?
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by Don C L (Post 3201014)
I must be the odd one then again, but I come at it from my years as a commercial river guide where I had a good whitewater life jacket, paddling jacket in my case, on all the time and got pretty used to it, and I needed it from time to time. I can wear my harness underneath it and I have a knife and pockets for light, whistle, gloves and PLB too. It may look bulky, but it is comfy and I am used to it. If I need to get out from under something I can remove it quickly and I have a snap shackle on the harness for quick release if necessary there too. I can't think of a negative other than a line could get snagged on my knife, but it too is quick release of course. Oh, and I can generally swim pretty well with it on too. There must be something wrong with it though since I never see anyone else wearing them.:biggrin:


River life jackets for paddling sports do not turn the wearer onto their back. That action, which generally means a large solid or inflatable form behind the neck, is a required feature for a certified boating life jacket. Thatís why you donít see many (and?) sailors using them.

Don C L 03-08-2020 21:28

Re: Automatic or Manual life vest?
 
Well there are certified boating PFDs that come in Type I, III and V. At least in my case I cannot make myself float face down, and since I have used it in whitewater I am pretty confident with it. There are a few different "paddling" or whitewater jackets that are type V, special use, high flotation. Those used by guides and rescuers are typically in that category with over 22 lbs of flotation. And there are Type I whitewater jackets as well. But yes, a typical type III will not be as likely to hold you face up or hold your head up when on your back.


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