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Ufatz

Stearns Life vest alert!!!

25 posts in this topic

I'll make it short. Bought two $120 auto inflate

Stearns vests a month ago. The "yoke" style. Yesterday I found one of them blown up, laying in the bottom of the boat!! If it had gone off while I was wearing it it would have scared hell out of me!! Talked to Stearns. They said, more or less, "don't store them on a boat. Store in a climate controlled house.It's YOUR problem. Go buy a $20 re-arming kit and start over."

I don't know what you fellas think, but I KNOW what I think.I am going to TRY to get a refund from the retailer, because Stearns pretty much told me to take a hike. I used the original SOSpenders for years without a problem, but they were not auto-inflate either. I popped one of them that was TWENTY years old and BAM....instant full flotation vest.

Any comments? wink.gif

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I feel in today's market you have a variaty of choises on what to buy. Companies have one thing going for them and that's customer service. If you get poor service, I would go back to the SOS. Is it in writing somewhere not to store in the boat? Seems a pain to me to buy life jackets you have to take out of the boat all the time. Just my .02 cent.

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That's right...all of the self inflating vests need to be stored in a controlled environment. Can't really get around that. I know I use my life vest a a seat cushion from time to time, when I should've just use a typical throw (seat) floatation grin.gif

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I love my Minnkota non inflatable!

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I have had Stearns Type III manual inflation belt types for about 4 years. They count as a lifevest even when not being worn. Take up almost no storage space. Unlike the auto inflates, they will not go off unless you pull the cord. I highly recommend them.

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I had the same thing happen to mine. Going forward, I'll stick with the traditional life vests. Also, per the DNR, the inflatable life vests need to be warn at all times to count towards safty requirements.

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Can anyone confirm this issue either way I would sure like to know for sure.

Quote:

They count as a lifevest even when not being worn.


Quote:

Also, per the DNR, the inflatable life vests need to be warn at all times to count towards safty requirements.


This years boating Regs!

Inflatablelifejackets.jpg

Thanks Pier!

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I know the law states that there has to be one throwable (per boat) and one wearable life vest per person. Know the inflatables are reconized as certified PFD's, and there is no special regulations in the book noting inflatibles, They should be fine.

If your really concerned about it, call your CO and see what they say.

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I have the Stearns inflatables that are worn as a belt. Twice this summer I have been checked and the CO's have told me they have to be worn to count. Once I was checked and they said nothing (yes, been checked 3x this year so far)

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A CO in Four Mile Bay, LOW told me they need to be warn to count. The regs don't seem too clear though.

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I was given a warning earlier this year. I have an infatable.. And I did not have it on. Lucky I know the CO for my area and he informed me that inflatables need to be on for them to be legal.

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It's the new part in the regulations this year that is confusing to me also.

I know for sure last year you had to be wearing them to count.

So what does NEW Mean?

Thanks.

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My brother was just showing me the difference between two of his vests. One is listed as a III the other as a V. If you read the label inside his vests, the V says it has to be worn to be valid. Apparently it is harder to slip on, so it is not valid laying on the floor.

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Difference in type III and V have no bearing, it is the fact

that the lifejacket is a inflatable. The difference between

a III and V is that V will flip-over an unconscious person

in the water so they will not drown. A type III will not

perform such a duty.

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Just curious, but wouldn't it sink if not worn and boat flips and it couldn't be reached to inflate, or do they float uninflated.

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Quote:

Just curious, but wouldn't it sink if not worn and boat flips and it couldn't be reached to inflate, or do they float uninflated.


Don't get me wrong I think all Life jackets especially inflatables should be warn at all times its just the conflicting things I'm hearing and the NEW regulation that makes me want to know for sure.

All 3 of my inflatables open automatically when submerged, so I guess if they were in the water you may be able to get a hold of one after they inflate.

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We seriously need a DNR staffer on board here. Every new day brings a valid unanswered question.

Even though I know it would never happen due to liability and negligence..........lawyers smirk.gif

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Uhh...say fellas: we sorta got away from the subject here didn't we? I originally wanted to know if others had had the experience of having one of these Stearns vests deploy on its own, while stowed in the boat. Stearns seemst to take the position that it is MY fault. I maintain that their statement to me " that they should be stored in a controlled climate, like an airconditioned house" is just absolute nonsense. I guess I missed that in the instructions that came with it huh? Where do most people store PFD's? This thing is semi-inflated, with the CO2 cartridge firmly in place with the SAFETY (green) tab still in place!!! So.....I'm just out $120? Oh....I was told I could just buy a re-arming kit ($21.00) and re-arm it. I just happen to have re-arming kits, but I was expecting to use them when I tested the units at the beginning of next season. I maintina this is a useless product and I am NOT satisfied. Their replay to me was "so?" crazy.gif

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I have two stearns inflatables. But I have manual ones and that is what I wanted because I wasn't sure about the auto type. It sounds like I made a good choice. I really like the belt style that I have. You put it on and forget it is even there.

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I store my auto-inflatable in the boat but if it's even the slightest bit wet or damp in the storage compartments I leave the auto-inflatable laying out on the deck.

I wouldn't say you're out $120, I'd say you're out for the $21 rearming kit. If it were me I'd rearm it and make sure I didn't let it get wet, if it inflated again then I'd raise the issue with Stearns or the retailer. Good luck getting it resolved.

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Quote:

Uhh...say fellas: we sorta got away from the subject here didn't we?


Its was answered in the second post and now here again.

Quote:

I store my auto-inflatable in the boat but if it's even the slightest bit wet or damp in the storage compartments I leave the auto-inflatable laying out on the deck.

I wouldn't say you're out $120, I'd say you're out for the $21 rearming kit. If it were me I'd rearm it and make sure I didn't let it get wet,


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How wet do they need to get to inflate? Some of these post sound like 'rain' will inflate them. grin.gif

Thanks,

Nick

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Okay boys, here's what I've learned. These babies are SENSITIVE! If you are going to buy one be very certain you are aware of ALL the precationary languge, some of it obscure, regarding the storage. Leaving it out "on deck" could cause heat to pop it (premature inflation is the term Stearns uses.) A big splash over the bow could meant "too much spray or rain" might inflate it. If you are beginning to feel that they are TOO MUCH nonsense to deal with you'd probably join others with similar reactions. The "old" SOS were great units but of course they were not automatic. You might want to know that Stearns bought the old SOSPenders Co. last fall. The original fella ( I knew him) was a great guy and it was a fine company. First thing Stearns did was make a couple minor changes to the SOS design, thus instantly rendering the old units obsolete. Fortunately I still have the proper cartridges etc. to re-arm my old ones, so phooey on you Stearns grin.gif

IF you buy one, be prepared to pamper it like a newborn Lab puppy. And hope you never take a big one over the bow. Or pop the cap on a warm beer?? wink.gif

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Your problem is very rare they almost never go off prematurely I have 3 different Stearns auto inflate vest that have been rained on for hours at times they don't leave my boat ever.

I did have one go off while trying to arm it the first time and Stearns sent me a rearming kit within 4 days.

Would I have a different opinion if I was in your shoes...Yes!

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P'Bridge, you a lucky boy. I owned mine for less than a month. Find your old operating instructions and carefully read what they say about "premature inflation."

I'm happy you have not had problems and thus had to spend the time on the telephone being more or less told to "buzz off."

Okay. I'm done. grin.gif

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