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Thread: PFD's

  1. #1
    Moderator Alaskacanoe's Avatar
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    Default PFD's

    In the Rafting forum, they are discussing PFD,s
    Canoeing is in a league of its own, and so I thought It would be a good thing to hear your thoughts on this subject.
    Do you wear a PFD at all times in a canoe?
    What kind of PFD works well for paddling?
    would you consider an inflatable PFD?
    When you come to a fork in the trail, take it!

    Rentals for Canoes, Kayaks, Rafts, boats serving the Kenai canoe trail system and the Kenai river for over 15 years. www.alaskacanoetrips.com

  2. #2

    Default From canoe to foredeck...

    AlaskaCanoe-
    I enjoy blue water sailboat racing, and have called the foredeck home for many a year...

    The inflatable vests can be great on maneuverability, but the simple foam can do more to protect one's chest from the ever popular rib fractures.

    I have been through the evolution of the inflatables - from manual to the disolving tablet when wet, but found the hydrostatic mechanism to be the most user friendly (for those of us inclined to get wet when out there!)

    I also recommend annual deployment (if not done sooner) to check vest for any leaks - especially in the folds or abraded areas.

    One more thing - check your CO2 cartridges in luggage when flying... IIRC - 35 gms or less is acceptable by the airline industry, HOWEVER we are ultimately inspected by the TSA employee... and it's a shot in the dark, even though, tucked neatly under each airline seat is a life vest bearing similar CO2 cartridges.

    I have actually opted to carry vest without cartridges and buy some at my destination, then leave behind. saves one hassle, but creates another.

    I forgot to mention one other perk of the 'water-ski' foam type - the insulation they provide!

    Happy Boating!
    Doc

  3. #3
    Moderator Alaskacanoe's Avatar
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    Default heres some video

    on the HIT vests and other choices
    http://www.mustangsurvival.com/inflatable-pfd/
    Sorry Doc for not posting that link right here first,, I just missed doing it earlier
    Max
    When you come to a fork in the trail, take it!

    Rentals for Canoes, Kayaks, Rafts, boats serving the Kenai canoe trail system and the Kenai river for over 15 years. www.alaskacanoetrips.com

  4. #4

    Default

    Hey guys,

    I'm new to the forum but an old hat to the auto inflatable PFD's. I work on these things for a living. There great but never trust it to perform! there are gaskets, wear marks, pin punctures, fabric separations, and the list can grow. Wear them but have a static PFD in the boat you can access as well. If you go over and it fails, your screwed in the cold water. Hopefully the static PFD will be floating near by.

    I use them but clip old trusty to the lanyard. It sure would suck if it worked and a tree branch punched a hole in it.

  5. #5
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    Default

    To answer your question on how often I wear; if I'm solo on flat water, I have it handy, but not always on. Any whitewater and it's on. Flat water with anyone in the boat, it's on, don't always have it zipped up, but it's there.

    I've looked at inflatables in the past, but personally prefer the trusty foam filled vests. I have one that is a full back and lower section of foam and has mesh around the chest and over the shoulders; works great for paddling.

    I never put anyone in a orange monstrosity, I feel they are more dangerous then not having one on!

  6. #6

    Default

    the only time it comes off when i'm in the canoe is when i need to put on raingear. other than that, always. if on the chena or gulkana or tazlina or yukon, rain or shine or dark of night.

    ALWAYS.

  7. #7

    Default

    I wear a foam vest, as does my wife. They are always on when in the canoe or the power boat with exception to being on anchor in the power boat, then off goes the vest. I have considered inflatable vests but, could never put enough trust in one to purchase it.

  8. #8
    Member mainer_in_ak's Avatar
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    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by gulkana99701 View Post
    the only time it comes off when i'm in the canoe is when i need to put on raingear. other than that, always. if on the chena or gulkana or tazlina or yukon, rain or shine or dark of night.

    ALWAYS.
    Gulkana,
    You mentioned that you take off your PFD to put on your raingear. One PROVEN technique when canoing is to buy a larger rain jacket that will fit over your PFD. I hope that you apply this to yourself and whoever you take with you on your trips. Taking off your PFD is the wrong answer when compared to the tried and true technique of sliping the raingear OVER your PFD.

  9. #9
    Moderator Alaskacanoe's Avatar
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    Default PFD choices

    In florida last week they lost all but one fellow due to drowning.
    The fellow that lived said that one of the guys decided to swim for it, and said the life jacket restricted his ability to swim, so he took it off and away he went.. never to be found again..
    I would imagine that this fellows decission was based on how he felt at that time, and not really thinking the thing thru.
    If he had spent anytime in research before the accident, then it would have given him some knowledge about his chances of survival without one. given some knowledge about his chances without one, he may have made a different decission...
    The discussions here on this forum are an indication of proactive attitudes.

    We used to make jokes when we put on our full body float suits on prior to getting on the helicopters that would take us out to the off shore platforms in cook inlet..
    we would say stuff like,, " These bright orange suits are great body bags so at least they can find the us even if dead "...
    The fact is that yes they would help to find the body.... whether alive or dead, at least they would give chance of finding you..
    in the case of the fellow in Florida that removed his so he could swim better,, the chances of even body recovery are now almost nil...
    If one person is saved because they are convinced to wear a PFD, then its worth it..
    A few years ago, I bought my father an auto inflate vest,and purchased several extra CO2 cartridges , All because he refused to wear a standard life vest.. he was 80 years old, and fishing from a 14 foot aluminum boat,, going out at least 3 to 5 times a week... trolling usually... and for all of his years,, would not wear a jacket... He was a world war II vet and served in the south pacific Navy..Had a ship blow up and spent 28 hrs floating in a life jacket off the coast of the philipines.. His floatation device saved his life,,,,. and yet.. he just refuses to wear a standard life jacket while just riding in the boat...I begged him to wear this auto inflate.... and finally he said he would...
    So ,, Last June 22nd,, he was in his boat... the motor would not start,, so he kept pulling on it for like 10 minutes,,, finally it starts,, he heads out into the lake and 5 minutes later suffers a severe stroke,,,,,
    put him in a comma within a minute,, and could have easily fallen from the boat...
    He had his vest on,, and although it was not needed,,, he had it on....
    No way would he have been able to even help himself if he would have fallen from the boat,, but his vest would have uprighted himself and kept his head out of the water....
    You never know when something may happen to you that could render you unable to swim or stay conscious.
    We gotta Wear these things......
    Your family and loved ones depend on it..
    When you come to a fork in the trail, take it!

    Rentals for Canoes, Kayaks, Rafts, boats serving the Kenai canoe trail system and the Kenai river for over 15 years. www.alaskacanoetrips.com

  10. #10
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    Default

    Mariner, One way to get in trouble fast is to wear rain gear over the top of a PFD. You never want to do this. First off rescuers have nothing to grab to pull you into a boat. Normally they would latch onto your PFD shoulder straps. For another, loose fitting rain gear tends to float over your head, blinding you and making swimming impossible.

    If I need to add rain gear, I wait for a calm spot, do it quickly, and put the PFD back on right away.

  11. #11

    Default

    <<<<<One PROVEN technique when canoing is to buy a larger rain jacket that will fit over your PFD>>>>>

    i do that as well.

    but, as with most things, it depends. if its a local shower that will be over soon and if i'm not facing any serious whitewater i wear it over the pfd.

    on the other hand, if its a "going to rain for quite some time/all day" or if i'm about to enter some stretch of the river that requires fast paddle work it goes on under the pfd. obviously the change occurs only when its safe to do so.

    although i have not (yet) have had it happen to me i rather suspect that should one end up swimming a billowing (over a pfd) raincoat might proove to be dangerous.

    and, while on the subject, if wearing rainpaints, make sure that the bottoms are not closed around your ankles either by snaps or elastic. its amazing how nearly impossible it is to kick when one's rainpaints are filled with water and there is no place for that water to drain. if you have rainpants with elastic or snaps on the anklesócut that part off.

  12. #12

    Default

    i was composing when jim was sending!

    i think jim makes a good point on rescue with regard to raincoats. its something i have not really thought about. mostly because 99.9% of the time i'm only with other canoes. pulling someone onboard would rarely be an option, other than when crossing a large lake. but, even on large rivers, yukon or copper for example, it might come into play.

    i don't want to give the impression that i think wearing a raincoat over a pfd is best practice, i don't. as stated, i have done so. but, for everytime i have worn a raincoat over a pfd there have been 100+ times that i wear it under my pfd.

    i have friends who are excellent canoeists and have paddle for decades in some serious whitewater who almost always wear their raincoat over their pfd. maybe the fact that they are such good paddlers is a reason for this behavior on their part. they have seldom ended up in the wateróas a result familiarity can breed contempt.

    sometimes i think we can be too good for our own good.

    -gulk

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