Results 1 to 12 of 12

Thread: Auto or manual inflatable life preservers?

  1. #1
    Member
    Join Date
    May 2011
    Location
    North of the Lower 48
    Posts
    41

    Question Auto or manual inflatable life preservers?

    Does anyone here have any experience with inflatable life preservers? I've got a couple different styles of float coats, and a life jacket or two, but the coats are generally too warm, and the life jackets/work vests are bulky and cumbersome.

    I'd like to get something like this, but am curious how well the auto inflate feature works, and how well do they work in the rain and/or spray.

    Something like this.

  2. #2
    Member spoiled one's Avatar
    Join Date
    Apr 2006
    Location
    Anchorage
    Posts
    3,230

    Default

    I don't personally wear an inflatable, but my wife does. She has never tested it out. If the inflatable is the only one you are carrying for yourself, it must be worn at all times when you are out on deck for it to count.
    Spending my kids' inheritance with them, one adventure at a time.

  3. #3
    Member
    Join Date
    May 2011
    Location
    North of the Lower 48
    Posts
    41

    Default

    Has she ever worn it in heavy rain or rough water where the spray is coming over the bow?

  4. #4
    Member spoiled one's Avatar
    Join Date
    Apr 2006
    Location
    Anchorage
    Posts
    3,230

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by Donkey Hunter View Post
    Has she ever worn it in heavy rain or rough water where the spray is coming over the bow?
    She wears it in the rain all the time. The boat in my signature line is what she rolls in. When it is that rough, we anchor up in a protected cove and enjoy a hot drink. If you are using it as your dedicated "life saver" I would go with something that has a bit more flotation. These are designed to be worn either in warmer waters or here when the boat is at rest for those "oops'' moments. This is just my opinion and you can have it for free.
    Spending my kids' inheritance with them, one adventure at a time.

  5. #5

    Default

    I have two inflatable PDFs on my boat and unless it's cold outside and I'm wearing my float coat, I wear one most times when I'm on the deck unless I'm anchored for the evening. You never know when you might slip and go over while leaning over the gunwale to bring in a pot or big fish. I chose the auto inflate kind. Gives you the option of a manual inflation, but automatically inflates if you are submerged which would come in handy if you were unconscious or disoriented going into the water. Have worn it in the rain plenty with no problems. There's a tablet that dissolves quickly when submerged that allows the autoinflation. Never had it autoinflate in the rain, but after years of use it autoinflated in the back of my truck (cab) one time. Guess that tablet had slowly dissolved over time. Kind of expensive to re-arm it. And like someone said, they don't officially count as a PFD unless you are actually wearing them. So if you are boarded by the CG and nobody is wearing a PDF and you have two inflatables sitting around then you'd also better have at least one non-inflatable PFD for each person on your boat. I think I once heard the CG say that the best PFD that you have is the one that you will wear.

  6. #6
    Member
    Join Date
    Sep 2006
    Location
    Douglas Island
    Posts
    248

    Default

    There's a bit of misconception about inflatable PFD's out there from several years ago; some of the early inflatables were Type IV's..they did have to be worn to count...a vast majority of the current inflatables are now Type III's...and don't have to be worn to count; check the tag to be sure what you have. All inflatables require maintenance; more than your typical PFD and the "tablet-style" automatics need to have the tablet changed out according to manufacturer's specs...here in Southeast, I change mine out every spring as the high humidity causes the tablets to degrade and like Skydiver, I've had them inflate on their own when I didn't do the maintenance. There's a new hydrostatic release available on the top of the line inflatables that doesn't use a tablet and has (I think) a five-year maintenance interval.

    I've been in the water with almost every type of lifejacket there is and for most of my boating, my personal choice is the inflatables; they're comfortable, don't get in the way very much and I find that I'm much more inclined to wear them! Having been in the water with inflatables, I find they generally provide quite a bit more bouyancy than the average Type III and have always turned me face up (in case I got knocked on the head!) Much easier to stay afloat although there's precious little thermal protection with inflatables...life jackets are most definitely 'compromises'; the best in the water are usually the worst to wear on the boat! Pick the jackets that work best for you and choose your compromises! Mike

  7. #7
    Member akblackdawg's Avatar
    Join Date
    Aug 2009
    Location
    Wasilla
    Posts
    1,456

    Default

    I run a airboat which are knowh for having more problems sinking, getting wet, etc then your other types of boats. Have two mustang auto inflatable, I think the hydrostatic type mentioned that don't requrie maint for 5 yrs. Lov them, we put them on anytime on the boat over our jackets or whatever. Very comfortable. Once on, don't even realize they are there, not at all bulky or in the way. While I would wear a float coat when cool or cold, I would not wear a PFD when warm out or moving around a lot even in rough weather. These we wear all the time, and its like they don't exist. Thats the beauty of them. I wear them hunting, they do not interfear with shooting, etc. The only PFD that is worth having is the one you will wear. Those that are tucked away under the boat seat will never be warn, they are only there for CG compliance, and if in trouble, would take a lot of luck for you to find them and put them on if needed. The ones I have are also rated for 35lb floatation, which is a bit more then the standard ones. Us fat guys need the extra flotation I expect. Sorry I don't have pictures. Bud

  8. #8
    Moderator Paul H's Avatar
    Join Date
    Apr 2006
    Location
    Anchorage
    Posts
    5,594

    Default

    My only experience is with a former boss who I took fishing. He had his own inflatable vest. For some reason, while we were fishing in Resserection Bay it decided to inflate itself. I was a bit underwelmed at how long it took to infate, and that it didn't seem to fully inflate.

    I look at life vests like insurance, you better get a good one, because when you need one, you really need one. That and the inflation feature is just one more thing to go wrong, when you've already had other things that went wrong which lead you into an unplanned swim. My opinion is get a good vest, wear it all the time, learn to deal with it.
    Those that are successful in Alaska are those who are flexible, and allow the reality of life in Alaska to shape their dreams, vs. trying to force their dreams on the reality of Alaska.

    If you have a tenuous grasp of reality, Alaska is not for you.

  9. #9

    Default

    i have one that is auto/manual i think it isa reeve brand there higher end one and i have worn it commerical fishing and never had a problem with the only thing that has happen and is my faul is i broke off the indicator that says it good or not. it would still work just fine i just broke it off leaning of the the side of the boat pulling in a gillnet.

  10. #10
    Member Alaskanmutt's Avatar
    Join Date
    Apr 2006
    Location
    Anchorage Alaska
    Posts
    947

    Default

    I have a Stearns model http://www.stearnsflotation.com/33-G...-P1407C17.aspx that I have for when I am running and it is warm (my idea of warm is way different than most, I like it around 50, it is a fat guy thing). I also have a Mustang Float Coat (and a half dozen or so other spares vests). I like the inflatable, it does say to remove the pill before washing (umm duh?)

    Of course it is all a moot point if the wife wraps the anchor line around your neck and "sets the hook" for the night........
    2000 Bayliner Ciera Express 2452
    5.0 Mercruiser Alpha 1

  11. #11
    Member polardds's Avatar
    Join Date
    Dec 2007
    Location
    Wasilla
    Posts
    801

    Default

    Just got me and the girlfriend two hydrostatic inflateable life vests. They need to have the hydro changed every five years. There is a date stamp you can see in the window on the vest. Supposedly will inflate when submergedfour inches therefore getting them wet from rain will not set them off.

  12. #12
    Member Gerberman's Avatar
    Join Date
    Feb 2008
    Location
    Soldotna AK, Eugene, OR
    Posts
    612

    Default

    I have a rule on all my boats, you wear the life jacket or do not go. period, I provide the expensive Mustang Hydra activated vest to everone that comes aboard. The hydro's have never inflated with rain fall. Mustang also has a High Float vest that will keep your head about 6 inches higher than a standard vest. It has float bladders that come out under your arms about waist height. They work great, I also wear an inflatable while red fishing from the bank, I have inflated twice when I have fallen into the water after tripping on rocks unseen. Last year someone drown while red fishing near the Pillers on the Kenai. How much is a friends life worth, I never want to have to call the wife of a friend and say, your husband did not make it.

Bookmarks

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •