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Flotation devices rant

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  • #16
    Originally posted by tjm View Post
    don't they have some that fire when submersed?....
    Yes, once the sensor goes underwater 4", there are cartridges that inflate the life rings around your neck.


    • #17
      i am also one of them guys that have all that are needed but i dont wear mine. for my kids its mandatory for guests i ask if they can swim and if they cant they have to wear one at all times. i have come into some seas that i did put it one but i try and stay out of them situations.

      on the inflatables my buddy has a boat as well as a 5 year old kid and he stated last year he was going to get his kid one of them inflatables cause he sure hated to see his kid all tied up with a flotation vest lookin like the michelin man. i told him i wouldnt trust it on my 5 year old, trusting it operated if he ever went over. would you put your youngster in one of these? if not why would you trust youself on one? they must come up with a backup blowup but that only works if you can swim and can stay calm enough to operate the backup.


      • #18
        The only time I take mine off is to take some layers off, or put layers on. I spent the extra money for one that was comfortable for me. As for the cable pull ones, if you are unconscious, how are you going to pull the string? I've also seen guys splash water on the dissolve ones and have them go off. I'll stick with my comfortable one that is guaranteed to make me float whether I'm unconsious or not without having to pull a string. No one gets on my boat without wearing one. They don't want to wear one, they don't go. Simple as that.


        • #19
          auto inflate vest & CG

          So last year at the sports show I stop at the Coast Gaurd booth and sign up for the boat inspection.. while talking to McKibbin Jackinski from CG, I asked her the very question many have had on whether we can trust these inflatable vests.?
          She told me that she would get back to me with the answer,
          I was treated to some pretty good information..
          When the Coast gaurd approves a device, it must perform 100% of the time to retain that approval.
          Many thousands of tests done on each CG approved vest with not one single failure. One failure would mean the Coast Gaurd will not put there approval on the device.
          She said ,, can you imagine the law suit you would have not only against the Manufacture of the product, but the Coast Guard also..
          They cannot absorb, or would ever entertain any level of failure..
          One thing that is most important is that you register yourself with the manufacture of the vest so you can be contacted and be reminded of such things as changing out your CO2 cartridges as they expire.
          she said that only a small percentage of those that purchase the devices do fill out and send in the registration.
          I am not saying that there will never be a failure, but so far they have never had a failure of the approved vests in either the testing or the consumer. The tests of course are done in all water temps etc.
          I bought one for my 80 year old father a few years ago, and he promised to wear it, last june he was heading out in his little 14 foot aluminun boat and suffered a severe stroke .. he was in a comma in just a few minutes, and lucky he did not fall from the boat,, but I am confident that the vest would have worked as it should have..
          those that suggest that these vest are not worthy of their rating, are of course intitled to their opinion and should always do as they feel best for them and there loved ones..
          here is a link to some information on the Mustang

          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.


          • #20
            Registering inflatable PFDs...

            PFDs on the water - a topic worth discussion for sure.
            Makes sense that learning about a "recall" on your PFD could be as important as a "recall" about your car or whatever.
            Max's post with input from the Coast Guard is good information. Thanks.
            No habitat, no hunter.


            • #21
              Originally posted by alaskachuck View Post
              My wife and I use those. We dont even know they are on and love them
              I second that. Several times I have been eating pizza and realize that I still have my inflateable vest on. My son was making fun of me and asking if I thought I might fall in the mud puddle and drown. For me the best vest is one that is CG or SOLAS approved and that you wear. Anything else is just decoration.


              • #22
                I think this is another strictly personal choice decision. If you want to wear one, go ahead. If someone doesn't, it is their choice. I am more disturbed that our gov't is taking personal decisions such as this (seat belts, etc) and forcing us to abide by others decisions. No disrespect to those of you who want to wear them, but what is the point of forcing others to do so. Is it a .... I know what is good for them mentality, so they should do it?
                Heck, pretty soon someone is gonna figure out that if we start wearing helmets while we drive our cars we would be more likely to survive a crash. Especially with fire proof suits on. (like helmets on bikes-good god-How'd we get by?)
                So, do I where one.....Answer... when I feel that the situation warrants. That is obviously a judgement call, mine.
                So this sounds like a rant. I just think people better start paying attention to how easy it is for others (gov't) to impose on you, how they want you to conduct yourself. Life is not how long you live, its HOW you live it.
                Is there anyone above who thinks we not only should be mandated to wear seat belts, but now we should be mandated to wear vests at all times, too? (If so, how but helmets in cars?-How far do we need to be protected from ourselves?):eek:
                Your sarcasm is way, waaaayyyyyyyy more sarcastic than mine! :whistle:
                WWG1WGA! QANON


                • #23

                  you are absolutely right Cod ...
                  I went down to AZ to see the kids, and went to one of the 4H programs wth them.. The Kids are having to wear a helmet or they can't ride the Horses .. they cannot participate in the show unless they wear the helmet.... this is like western pleasure class.. and I have never in my life ever heard of someone in an arena doing western pleasure ever die or even get hurt before... .. I spent the first 35 years of my life riding horses on a daily or at least weekly basis... was the horse shoer for 15 years and served several of the arena groups and competed myself,, never in all those years did I ever hear of a death or injury in the arena during shows like that...
                  I just could not believe it..
                  They pass the law or make it a rule in 4H and the next thing you know some county will pass a law that you need to wear a helmet while on a horse,, then the state passes the law and then ,, the whole country..
                  Thats what happened with bikes.. one town did it and the next thing you know ..
                  Infact.... here is one for you... I rent bikes out at my place in sterling, and the outfit that insures me, told me that every bike that went out had to have a helmet that was fitted before they left, and the responsible person over 18 yrs old, had to sign a waiver stating that the helmets would be worn at all times while on the bikes......
                  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.


                  • #24
                    I'm glad u threw in your 2 cents, Akcanoe. If regular folks don't start showing some outrage we'll need a permit to take a whiz. Just tonite on the news we hear of the movie star wife who died in an accident on the bunny hill of a ski slope. Of course now they are again thinking of passing legislation to make helmets mandatory on slopes.
                    Its not how many days you lived your life, its how you lived the many days of your life. We need to speak up and be silent no more.
                    Your sarcasm is way, waaaayyyyyyyy more sarcastic than mine! :whistle:
                    WWG1WGA! QANON


                    • #25
                      Originally posted by gogoalie View Post
                      requiering everyone to wear a SOLAS immersion suit...
                      By the way, I'm not anti vest, but all too often someone says something offensive like the above quote and everyone stays quiet.
                      Most of the posts gave good and valuable information that all can appreciate, including myself. Thanks. Take a good look at where our brilliant lawmakers have taken this country.
                      Your sarcasm is way, waaaayyyyyyyy more sarcastic than mine! :whistle:
                      WWG1WGA! QANON


                      • #26
                        and my $0.02

                        Exactly cod, how far will it go. Before you know it, you'll have to wear a vest to ride the state ferries. Heck, we wear seatbelts on an airplane, why not lifejackets on a ship? One thing that is available out there are liferings and you can put a lanyard on those to throw to the people and tie off to the boat. I do require kids on my boat to wear PFDs (most of them are friends' kids under 10) and stop the boat if the behavior is not "boat safe." I also have a life ring to throw to people. If the current prevents dragging the person from swimming or being pulled in, depending on the situation if I'm drifting or anchored, let all the anchor line go attached to a buoy or even just cut it and buy a new one and manuever the boat to the person, careful of not running them over. (I've taken courses for fast rescue boat training and picking people out of the water.)
                        There are a lot of scenarios that can be played out, but the response of everyone on board in a MOB situation is just as important as the person that is in the water.
                        Can you imagine this one, you have a lifejacket on while dropping crab pots. You get tangled in the line on one hand. You have a knife on your belt or in your pocket on your right side since you're right handed, however your right hand/arm is tangled in the line. Your lifejacket would most likely prevent you from reaching your knife and then if you do, the buoyancy of the jacket may keep you from cutting the line below your hand, the entire time you're racing to the bottom with the crab pot.
                        Don't get me wrong, PFDs are a great lifesaving device, but they have their place in certain circumstances. They should be readily accessible and used accordingly.

                        To add a question - What do you all do when once you recover someone from the water? Drag them onboard and give them a pat on the back. Hypothermia is still a threat. Especially with the afternoon breeze that some areas get. Being 30+ miles away and being soaked in 40 something degree water (thinking summer time here) that breeze will drain a person. Can't start a fire. I don't know if everyone has a heater on their boat (I don't) but I DO carry TPAs (Thermal Protective Aids) that make you look like a baked potato. Typically I have a bag full of rags or an extra sweatshirt to strip the person down, dry, throw on any dry clothes I have around and put them in the TPA inside, out of the wind with the sun through the window.

                        In conclusion, it is more than just wearing a PFD. All on board should play a role. Captain must direct people if they don't know what to do. A habit of mine from working charter boats before leaving the dock is to give a safety seminar on where safety stuff is and how it is used as well as how to use the radio on channel 16 and the local fishing chatter station (other boats could assist and should probably be warned of what you're doing.) Think about it, a few dozen boats in an area trolling for salmon or a fleet of boats anchored for halibut. By the time you chop off the anchor, chop off the fishing lines, bring up the down riggers, fire up the engine (not necessarily in the order) the person in the water may be clinging to the anchor line of another boat. The U.S. Coast Guard and the I.M.O. (International Maritime Organization) requires merchant vessels to run drills weekly. Do a drill yourself. Practice, practice, practice so if God forbid this ever happens, you hop into action and not just stand around going uh-uh-uh-uh-uh.
                        Boat safe and have a good season everyone.


                        • #27
                          Originally posted by akriverrat View Post
                          for guests i ask if they can swim and if they cant they have to wear one at all times.
                          Personally I don't think someone's ability to swim should be a factor in Alaska. If you hit the water here you will not be swimming very far.

                          Isn't this just like waring a seatbelt? I have only really needed one a couple of times in my life, and I am quite comfortable with my driving abilities, but when the unforeseen shows up, boy do they make a difference. I think the same can be said for PFD's.

                          Things can go bad quickly. A guy I met through another forum died this last winter when out fishing off the east coast. He was a very seasoned boater and fisherman with many hours under his belt offshore. It really shows how quickly things can get out of control. Here is a writeup of what happened from his 16 year old son that was on the boat with him:
                          i thank you all for your support and i went to the other links and that press release isn't totally correct
                          this i what really happened . . .

                          We went out fishing Sunday 11/30/08 we left the dock at 6:15AM after getting breakfast over at gaviolas with the other two guys that joined us on our trip.
                          We ran 17miles to Apple tree a wreck to try and find some bigger black fish and maybe some codfish. We pulled anchor3-4 times and never found the wreck or rough bottom.
                          we then moved 5 miles back to where we limited out on black fish the day before(Saturday) at South Western Ledge a big rock pile.We anchored up but fishing wasn't great, mostly begauls and only 1 black fish. so my dad wanted to pull the anchor and move up a little more because we were off the ledge. We started pulling the anchor but the anchor ball never popped up and this has happened before when we snagged something. We pulled rope in for about 15-20 min and finally got to the chain. My dad put the boat in neutral and came to the back of the boat to help us. We puled the anchor up and saw the lobster pot line, but he didn't want to cut it because it's the lobster guys lively hood and how he makes a living . then the anchor got pulled out of my dad hands because the boat was drifting so my dad let some rope out and told me to go to the helm.
                          he said "okay Cody put in reverse"i put in in reverse than he said "okay good, now neutral" so i did then he said"forward quick" and i put it in gear and added some throttle. . . and as i did he was standing on top of all the rope we had already brought in and the rope started going out as i started to circle around for another try.
                          My dad's leg got wrapped wth the rope and he went over i heard him yell and i put it in neutral. the other guy yelled man overboard as i watched my dad hold onto the gunnel trying to get it off his leg and got pulled over. I put the boat in neutral and went and got a throw ring and had the guys throw it to my dad as i went on the radio to call in a man overboard on channel 16.
                          i saw my dad floating with his head above the water next to the orange anchor ball and i started to head towards hima nd tiold the guys to get ready to grab him. . . they missed
                          i circl around this time my dad on my side
                          he was already under water but i pulled his head up and had both my arms under his arms trying to keep his head above the water
                          he was unconcious the boat was drifting and he got pulled out of my arms and was under again.
                          i circled around real quick and this time one of the guys got out a galf. they got his jacket and as they pulled to bring him in his jacket came off.
                          then i started backing down and got halfway to where i assumed my dad was and wrapped the prop with our anchor rope because the guys onboard didnt know to tell me where the line was so that didnt happen.
                          throughtout this i was on the radio with the coast guard and the other two gys onboard with us were shooting flares at the closest boat which we found out later was the viienne.
                          we finally got them to come over and by then he was already under a good ten minutes and unconcious. myself and the two otherguys on our boat were just yelling some many different things that i dont think the Vivienne new what we wanted them to do.
                          we finnaly got across to them that we were disabled and that my dad was still underwater straight out the back of our boat.
                          they grabbed the lin with a galf and followed it until they got to the bouy with my dad next to it .
                          they cut the anchor and brought my dad aboard and i am unsure of what they did after that.
                          I was now adrift and i pulled in all the anchor line and got two wraps off the prop but i couldnt get anymore off.
                          the reason for this was because the vivienne is a downeastern and cant go as fast as i could so i knew my dad would have a better chance if i coudl get hiom onto our boat and i didnt care how rough i wa sgoing to get him back.
                          the vivienne couldnt transfer my dad to a coast guard boat because it was to rough

                          i love my dad and i hope he lived happily and i know that he will still look out for me.
                          and all i wish is that the cold got to him before the more painful suffereing underwater

                          Cody A. McMillan
                          Sorry to pass along such a depressing story, hopefully it makes some act a bit safer. Here is the whole thread in case you are interested:


                          2009 Seawolf 31'
                          Fully Loaded


                          • #28
                            Originally posted by tjm View Post
                            don't they have some that fire when submersed?....

                            Yes they do and ours do. I change my CO2 out in the spring then in august for the fall just to be safe and carry extras on the boat. I would still rather see someone in any type of vest than not. Oh and ours have the emergency pull rope to pull if for some reason they dont fire. If that does not work they can be inflated but blowing in a tube. I guess if those options dont work it must be my time to go to the big river in the sky
                            Grandkids, Making big tough guys hearts melt at first sight


                            • #29
                              Good thread: Important and many worthwhile perspectives...

                              Originally posted by dandeo2003 View Post
                              Why is it that in too many of the posts lately people have been shown fishing and crabbing without any sight of PFDs? ...
                              1. What's apparent to me in a photo like that?
                              That individual elected to not have PFD on at that moment.
                              People wear/not wear safety devices for their own reasons - their choice. In broader scope, most people who choose not to wear PFDs (or wading belts, helmets, fireproof clothing etc) don't get hurt.

                              Probably if I'm on a commercial boat with Brian M, I won't wear my PFD either. By and by, I might understand the good reasons (BrianM being an intelligent guy) for his choice, and later maybe situations (high seas) where the equation changes. Brian M is happily still with us .

                              So personal choice - yes, which includes a personal assessment of risk for a given situation. There can be many factors that change the equation - learning about them is part of an informed choice.

                              It's useful to talk about different factors of responsible choice I guess. It could be educational or thought provoking. There often is a threshold beyond which most people would find a decision reckless (always easier to quarterback these after you end up in the paper!).

                              2. After seeing several similar photos, does this suggest a problem?
                              Maybe. Questions about safety are always worthwhile. Alaskans have many opportunities to educate - generally understand and support responsible practices. It's a topic worth mulling too these winter months especially. After all, we as a group set the tone day in and day out, for what passes muster or not. Again, just opinions.

                              As a general practice, a lot of us will figure out when/where to wear PFDs and encourage our families/rafting guests to do the same-to avoid wishing we had. If I don't wear PFD, I hope to have a good reason -

                              The cost can be high if you're unlucky. Many would begin by being underequipped in other ways too - who regularly inspects their gear for wear and function (inflatable PFD), or gives a safety talk for an afternoon family trip (I know outfitters, guides do, but maybe not most private individuals) or drill? If we go in without a PFD, the odds can be high against us.

                              How high? Discussing seatbelts with a friend years ago, he argued personal choice - basically to die, loss to family/friends - all part of his risk, his decision. Sad but true-I agree. But if you don't quite die, what then? Seat belts, wading belts, helmets, PFDs - the cost after you're unable to function is high, includes extended medical costs maybe... so the consequences can go on. How much insurance (health, disability, unemployment) do most people have? Then what? Some states pick up the bill (Medicaid, state university medical center). Other hospitals write off the expense...but still have operating costs to pay...

                              3. Is falling into cold water different than just falling into water? Falling into the Gulkana R is a lot different than falling into the Kenai R, or Copper R, or Prince William Sound, but categorically yes. I've heard or read stories, but here's a comment to consider from, http://www.

                              Cold Water + No PFD = NO CHANCE!

                              4. What are the risks/ benefits of PFD wear and what else do I need to know about PFDs? Enough information for AMSEA, the Alaska Marine Safety Education Association to make and loan several safety displays to certain individuals for class, community fairs, etc display - website, One is about PFDs:

                              Personal Flotation Devices . . . Alaskans Just Gotta Wear 'em
                              An interactive display. Discusses the importance of using a personal flotation device (PFD), the different types, the pros and cons of different PFDs, and how to choose the best PFD for you. Appropriate for age 8 (with assistance) through adult.
                              This presentation is mounted on a heavy, metal-framed display fixture. Approximate shipping weight is 45 pounds.

                              The downloadable, Commercial Fishing Vessel Safety Digest ( includes a detailed section on PFD types and care, esp for inflatable types.

                              AOD includes many other useful discussions about PFDs:

                              Broadly, we could all maybe support the use of PFDs and know a lot about why and how to do so, but why a certain individual wears/doesn't wear a PFD in a given photo is up to him/her.
                              No habitat, no hunter.


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