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Life Jacket Question


JIvers

Question

I have seen and read about inflatable PDFs that can be worn in a small pack around the waist when they aren't in use--they are inflated by pulling a cord. They sound really great, but I was wondering if anyone has an opinion and/or experience with them. I've checked them out on-line, and they go for at least $60, based on what I have found.

I know I should wear a PDF when I'm in my boat, but I find vest-style life jackets bulky and irritating. So, I never wear one, even though I have come closer than I like to admit to being swamped or falling out of my boat on several occasions.

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I've also seen a type that is activated by immersion in water. Automatically inflate when soaked.

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First, make sure any device you buy is Coast Guard approved. Second, be sure to check out the inflatable vest type PFD's made by SOSspenders. They are the first to make such PFD's, they are approved and they work. They are expensive, but so what? You CAN wear them all day and they WILL save your life. There are automatic and manual models, in all sizes. They are the best of the inflatables. Please don't scrimp on PFD's for yourself or your family.

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Yes, Sospender is the brand I found for around $60.

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I picked up the Stearns brand this weekend at Scheels for $120. It's the automatic type. There are several styles to choose from. I wore it yesterday for the first time, and it was fairly comfortable. That's about all the input I can give you though.

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After the owner of the marina in Duluth fell out of his boat and drowned last fall I invested in two sospenders and have not been on the water without them on. "Familiarity breeds carlessness"

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Eye,

the waist type inflatable is not a bad product. You're right it inflates by pulling on a ripcord--the fanny pack rips open and the vest inflates and stays attached at the waist. You then slip your head into it once inflated and now you have a life vest. The drawback to this style is that if you hit your head, or can't (for whatever reason) pull the rip cord your gonna drown with a life vest on. The better alternative is the shoulder type inflatables by either sospenders or stearns. The auto release is nothing more than an aspirin in a catch between the firing mechanism and the pull lever. If you fall in, and don't, or cant pull the rip cord, the aspirin gets wet disintegrates and then it fires off the cylinder regardless. I thought I would not like this when I bought mine two years ago, but I have fished in many an all day rain and it has yet to go off prematurely. I almost lost my life in November due to a duck boat accident and I would have given my eye teeth to have had it on. I did manage to retrieve a life vest, and that is the only reason I am here today. I spent 41 minutes in 34 degree water waiting on a rescue boat. I too, don't like to use one when I'm in the bass boat, but the simple fact of the matter is that if something is going to happen it will happen when you least expect it. Be prepared. The other thing I would tell you is that I am a big boy and the stearns model is much more comfortable for someone of my uniquely oval stature. I can wear it all day if I choose and the interference that it creates is remarkably minimal.

Be Safe!

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