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  • Life preservers ideas

    I don't have a boat, but a friend of mine and I dip-net the Copper River several times each summer. I use his life preservers, and these are like the ones everyone else wears: Type-III PDF (the ones that have flotation foam).

    Today I was reading some recommendations relating to life preservers, and realized that most of them are designed to float a person in calm water. The Copper is more like rough water, however. Reading further, I noticed that some inflatable PFD's are recommended not only for calm water, but rough water as well, specially the 35-lb inflation ones. There are three kinds: one that automatically inflates on immersion, another that is both automatic/manual (pull a cord), and a manual one that requires pulling the cord for inflation.

    I have been thinking of buying a manual inflatable preserver, since they are available locally (Fairbanks), and the price, even though it's much higher than a foam life preserver, it's still not bad at $98.00 or so.

    What are your views on these devises?

  • #2
    I wouldn't wear an inflateable in the Copper, especially one that I'd have to manualy inflate.

    I'd want flotation the second I needed it, not when I was able to pull the cord. And lots of sharp rocks on the shore to pop your vest, if you do make it to the bank that is.

    But something would be better than nothing.

    I wear a foam one.

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    • #3
      Old Fashion The Way To Go

      If you are truly concerned with protection make sure that you get on that has a collar on it and it will ensure your head stays upright. The only issue is that it can restrict you as you dip net. But if you fall in who cares if you were restricted as long as you are alive!

      We use the standard Type III because inflatables are not designed for fast moving water. I guided rafts on the Salmon and Snake Rivers for many summers and always used Type III because they work! I want instant flotation. The water is cold and I won't react correctly if I have to inflate my life jacket.

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      • #4
        I'd consider not just a life preserver, but a float coat. The water is not just fast moving but cold! The cold sucks your strength and makes it harder to get to shore. The copper is also heavily silted which will quickly weigh down your clothing.
        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.

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        • #5
          Originally posted by Paul H
          I'd consider not just a life preserver, but a float coat. The water is not just fast moving but cold! The cold sucks your strength and makes it harder to get to shore. The copper is also heavily silted which will quickly weigh down your clothing.
          Well, that's true. The water is quite cold, so that's something for me to think about.

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          • #6
            Originally posted by GWHunter
            If you are truly concerned with protection make sure that you get on that has a collar on it and it will ensure your head stays upright. The only issue is that it can restrict you as you dip net. But if you fall in who cares if you were restricted as long as you are alive!

            We use the standard Type III because inflatables are not designed for fast moving water. I guided rafts on the Salmon and Snake Rivers for many summers and always used Type III because they work! I want instant flotation. The water is cold and I won't react correctly if I have to inflate my life jacket.
            GWHunter: The standard Type III (foam) are designed to float a person in calm water, while the inflatable ones are designed for both calm and rough water. The ones with a bladders that inflates around the upper chest inflate from 30 to 35 psi, thus offering more flotation than foam. The survival inflatable types (full suit, and jacket) are the best, but out of my price range.

            But after listening to what you and others had to say, if I get an inflatable life preserver, I will probably buy an automatic/manual one. The fully automatic one costs at least three times more.

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            • #7
              check eBay

              actually no, check out eBay, Stearns manual/auto, generally go for around $100, I purchased two Mustang manual/autos last year for about $240 incl shipping.

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              • #8
                Originally posted by AkRascal
                actually no, check out eBay, Stearns manual/auto, generally go for around $100, I purchased two Mustang manual/autos last year for about $240 incl shipping.
                I just found out that the Sportsman Warehouse has them for around $125.00.

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                • #9
                  One thing about those inflateables. Try it out before you have to count on it. Make sure after it is fully inflated that you can still move.

                  I read that somewhere, forget where, thought I'd pass it on.

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                  • #10
                    Buy a white water rafting life jacket....

                    I use them on my raft and canoes....just my thoughts.

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                    • #11
                      Thanks to all of you for your responses. I will consider avery one of your comments.

                      Thanks again.

                      Ray

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