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Thread: PFD's

  1. #1
    Member ACBMAN's Avatar
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    Default PFD's

    I've been looking to up grade my type lll PFD's partly because of the statement on the inside of the cheap ones I bought when I first got my boat,USCG APPROVED WEARABLE DEVICE FOR UNINSPECTED COMMERCIAL VESSELS LESS THAN 40 FEET IN LENGTH NOT CARRYING PASSENGERS FOR HIRE AND FOR RECREATIONAL BOATS,I was surprised to read that inside all the PFD's at West Marine. What does it mean? What do you charter people use? Thanks for any answers.

  2. #2
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    if memmory serves me correctly we are required to have Type1 pfd's for passengers and crew. there are several types available, i chose the more blockish type that will supposedly roll over an unconsious person so there face is not floating in the water- please note I have NOT tested this. they are not the most comfy to wear on a regular basis. but they do store nuch easier.
    I also keep type 3 on board for anyone who wants to wear a vest for the day.

  3. #3
    Member chriso's Avatar
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    I've copied the descriptions of the various types of PFD's below for you. In general the Type 1 is the really old style horseshoe collar type. It's been the requirement for many many years, and still is for the larger commercial passenger vessels you mentioned. However, the rule for these is that they have to be on board the vessel, not that they be worn.

    Type 3 are commonly worn on rivers, especially if you may have to swim should you wind up in the water. They are used extensively by whitewater rafters, kayakers, canoists, and powerboaters. They are oftern more comfortable to wear and are so common that places like West Marine are full of them on the shelves. The only thing (in my opinion) they may lack, is if you get knocked unconscious, you may not float face up and out of the water. But (again in my opinion) the life vest that is worn, is far more valuable than the one stowed under the seat, in the locker, or in the bow. All of our drivers wear type 3's.

    All of our passengers wear Type 5's (special purpose) they have a collar designed and proven to float an unconscious person face up and out of the water, they have huge bouyancy (25#) lots of padded protection should a person wind up floating and bouncing off a boulder in whitewater, and are warm. AND are only legal in commercial use if they are worn at all times while on board. Therefor the Coast Guard allows us to use them since it's our policy that all passengers are wearing PFD's at all times. In our larger "inspected" boat, we have to store the old style, type 1's in the bow to meet Coast Guard requirements, and the pasengers still have to wear the type 5's to meet our company policy.

    We use the Americas Cup Ultra Floats with 27# of bouyancy FWIW

    No matter what.... get some that you and the folks with you will wear while on and near the water... you can drown just as fast from slipping while getting in and out of a boat, and from falling out in open water.

    Type I - offshore life jacket
    The model best-suited to open and rough waters, a type I PFD provides more buoyancy than any other type. The design of a type I PFD allows it to turn most unconscious wearers into a face-up position with their head out of the water. This type requires a minimum adult buoyancy of 22 pounds, and because of its bulk it is generally not comfortable to wear when not on the water. These PFDs are only used in an emergency. They are typically jacket-shaped but sleeveless, and usually have multiple ties and belts for closure.
    Type II - near shore buoyancy vest
    Familiar to anyone who has rented a canoe or other pleasure craft, these are the bright orange vests also seen on water taxis and the like. They are a reduced version of the type I PFD, and provide a minimum 15.5 pound buoyancy. They will usually turn the face of an unconscious person out of the water, but are not as dependable as type I PFDs for this task. Type II PFDs are used near shore where a quick rescue is likely. They usually have one belt and one tie.
    Type III - flotation aid
    Most popular with canoeists, small-boat sailboat racers and kayakers, a type III PFD is best for conscious wearers who can keep their own faces out of the water. The minimum buoyancy is 15.5 pounds, but some designs have higher buoyancy (frequently 17 pounds). Type III PFDs are usually jacket-style and may have pockets, lashing hooks, tow belts, and other functions that enhance their application. They typically fit the wearer closely, and many zip or have buckles to close.
    Type IV - throwable devices
    Throwable PFDs are designed for areas where there is constant boat traffic and rescue is immediate. They are commonly ring-shaped, but horseshoe and cushion type IV PFDs are also made. These are only a backup measure and should generally be thrown by someone with experience, as it is difficult to aim well, especially in rougher water. A cushion-style PFD has a buoyancy of 18 pounds, while a ring-style has a buoyancy of 16.5 pounds.
    Type V - special purpose
    These PFDs are intended for specific uses, such as whitewater activities or boardsailing. Their turning performance (keeping an unconscious person face-up) is rated according to PFD types I, II, and III; some may also require that they are worn in order to be effective. Type V PFDs come in a variety of styles, from full-body suits to work vests. Some have a safety harness and some provide protection against hypothermia (survival suits).
    According to the Coast Guard, all recreational boats must carry one wearable PFD (Type I, II, III or V) per person on board. Boats over sixteen feet in length are also required to carry a throwable (Type IV) PFD, but canoes and kayaks are exempt from this rule.

    PFDs must be approved by the Coast Guard (all PFDs will carry a label indicating they are USCG-approved; this label should never be removed) and they must also be in good condition, as well as being an appropriate size for the wearer. (Child-size PFDs have different buoyancy requirements than adult PFDs.) It is extremely important that wearable PFDs, if not actually on their designated person, be at least readily accessible. If an emergency arises, they must be situated in such a way that they can be easily put on.

    Inflatable PFDs are sometimes considered more comfortable to wear, but they require proper care. They must have a full cylinder and indicators must read green. There are no Type IV inflatable PFDs, and they are sized only for adults. Type I and II inflatables have a buoyancy of 34 pounds, and type IIIs have a buoyancy of 22.5 pounds. There are also type V inflatable models, but their buoyancy ranges from 22.5 to 34 pounds.

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    Default PFD's

    Just as a 'disclaimer', I did not coach CHRISO to post his outstanding "PFD 101"! (Awesome post! Thanks Chris!)

    ACBMAN:
    You might also consider inflatable PFD's...this is the latest in PFD technology and there are some out there with 35# bouyancy ratings! Talk about keeping your head out of the water! I've used a couple of these and am very impressed with their performance and ease of use. They do require some annual maintenance (except for the new hydrostatic release type, I think they have 5 year maintenance requirements.) They're not cheap, but as I told my family, I'm worth it and so are they! If you have more questions, please post! Mike

  5. #5
    Member ACBMAN's Avatar
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    So type l and ll PFD's are the ones without the USCG APPROVED WEARABLE DEVICE FOR UNINSPECTED COMMERCIAL VESSELS LESS THAN 40 FEET IN LENGTH NOT CARRYING PASSENGERS FOR HIRE AND FOR RECREATIONAL BOATS on the inside and can be used in a business? Any thoughts on the best place to buy some? Thanks.

  6. #6
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    Been using Mustang inflatables for the last couple of years. Haven't put them to a field test, fortunately. But they certainly are more comfortable than almost anything else other than a float coat. Maintenance is pretty easy.

  7. #7

    Default PFD stats & Reg requirements Info

    When considering a Type I, II or III - remember that, generally, the lower the number the better the performance. (A Type I is better than a Type II.)
    Types I, II or III may be inherently buoyant, that is, they will float without action by the wearer, or they may be inflatable (oral and manual inflation at a minimum), or a combination of both (hybrid). Currently, all USCG approved inflatable PFDs are Type IIIs with manual inflation.
    Select a PFD based upon your planned activities and the water conditions you expect to encounter.
    Type I
    Offshore Life Jacket
    Type II
    Near-shore Buoyant Vest
    Type III
    Flotation Aid
    Best for open, rough or remote water, where rescue may be slow-coming.Good for calm or inland water, or where there is a good chance of fast rescueGood for conscious users in inland water and where there is good chance of fast rescue.AdvantagesFloats you the best Turns most unconscious wearers face-up in water
    Highly visible color
    Turns some unconscious wearers face-up in the water Less bulky, more comfortable than Type I
    Generally the most comfortable type for continuous wear Designed for general boating or the activity that is marked on the device
    Available in many styles, including vests and flotation coats
    DisadvantagesBulkyNot for long hours in rough water Will not turn some unconscious wearers face-up
    Wearer may have to tilt head back to avoid going face down Not for extended survival in rough water; a wearer's face may often be covered by waves
    All wearers need to try it in water prior to going boating
    Inflatables:Inflatables: Some brands are now approved. Be sure to check for USCG approval. Type III Inflatables: Will keep many unconscious wearers face-up after inflation, but must be regularly inspected and re-armed to be reliable. Inflatables are not for non-swimmers, or for long hours in rough water. Inflatables are not for use where high speed impact is likely to occur.
    Last edited by alaskapiranha; 11-29-2008 at 12:56.

  8. #8
    Member propgrinder's Avatar
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    I used to wear a Nomex inflatable PFD/survival vest made by Stearns. It was very comfortable to wear all day long while flying in helicopters, airplanes, etc. I had a chance to test it once when I took the helicopter underwater egress training. I got out of the training frame underwater and pulled the lanyard and shot up to the surface of the pool. Buoyancy was great and I was impressed. All I had to do to reset everything was to dry it, put on a new CO2 cartridge, and repack the bladder using talcum powder.

    However, I always wondered if an inflatable PFD was the thing to have. Imagine being in your boat, hitting a rock or whatever, and being thrown into the cold, cold water. Lemmee see now, where's that lanyard.....? Worse, imagine you whack your head going into the water. Lemmee see now, which way is up.....?

    With a standard "hard" PFD, I think your survival chances would be a lot higher.

    ??

  9. #9
    Member chriso's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by ACBMAN View Post
    So type l and ll PFD's are the ones without the USCG APPROVED WEARABLE DEVICE FOR UNINSPECTED COMMERCIAL VESSELS LESS THAN 40 FEET IN LENGTH NOT CARRYING PASSENGERS FOR HIRE AND FOR RECREATIONAL BOATS on the inside and can be used in a business? Any thoughts on the best place to buy some? Thanks.
    We've been buying ours from Northwest River Supply out of Idaho. They are at www.nrsweb.com if you care to check them out. If you want to deal locally, West Marine can order you up anything from the Northwest River Supply catalogue.

  10. #10
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    Ours are self inflatable. There is basically a biscuit that when wet releases the spring that releases the pin that punctures the cartridge. All of this is supposed to happen in seconds.

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