Inflatable PFD Caution...

Discussion in 'Boat Safety' started by Mr.T, May 31, 2007.

  1. Mr.T

    Mr.T New Member

    Messages:
    2,553
    State:
    MO
    Had an interesting experience today...

    I keep my auto-inflating PFD in my boat's rod box. Apparently it got a little wet in there with all the recent rains, and I came home to find the (previously locked) rod box lid sitting wide open and the PFD fully inflated sticking up out of the box.

    The part I want to warn folks about is this:

    The force of the inflating PFD actually *broke* the latch on the rod box!![/:eek:oooh:

    Fortunately, it wasn't on top of any of my rods, or I'm sure it would have broken them like toothpicks.

    So if you store your inflatable PFD in your boat, be careful where you put it - if it goes off prematurely, things could really get torn up!
     
  2. theflyfisher

    theflyfisher New Member

    Messages:
    10
    State:
    CT
    Wow! That was a close one! I have one as well, good to keep in mind.
     

  3. pk_powell

    pk_powell New Member

    Messages:
    3,485
    State:
    Missouri
    If they inflate that forcefully what would it do to a person if it went off prematurely? Kinda sounds to me like the warning they give folks about their airbags in their cars.:eek:oooh:
     
  4. Mickey

    Mickey New Member Supporting Member

    Messages:
    14,592
    State:
    Illinois
    Also please note: Heat will set one off if left inside a closed vehicle. I don't know how hot it has to be to auto inflate. This happened to two of my friends. In each case they were in the rear seat of their trucks.
     
  5. GaryF

    GaryF New Member

    Messages:
    3,649
    State:
    O.P., KS
    I've watched a video of one inflating, and it does take a couple of seconds, so I don't think it would quite be as bad as an airbag... The thing this got me thinking about is the danger of putting a rain jacket on over the top of it.

    I got the manual version because of concerns about accidental inflation, but in hindsight having the pull handle hanging out all of the time is probably a greater risk, as it could easily get tangled in something and then pulled inadvertently.
     
  6. ShilohRed

    ShilohRed New Member

    Messages:
    4,339
    State:
    West Tn
    Pat if you have one like it should be used. It does not harm you one bit. Now it is cold when it inflates.
    Also I do not store mine in the boat. I keep in the back seat of the truck. Or hanging in the basement.
    Pete
     
  7. catfisherman60

    catfisherman60 New Member

    Messages:
    1,348
    State:
    Greenwood AR.
    Thank for the info.
     
  8. Kutter

    Kutter New Member

    Messages:
    5,379
    State:
    Arnold, MO
    I am under the impression that the auto inflating ones also have a pull tab that can be used manually.

    Another concern I found out recently (without getting a ticket). Those fannypack style inflatables do NOT count as a legal PFD UNLESS they are worn at all times in the boat! It's not like the regular or inflatable vest styles, that can be in easy reach, it actually has to be worn to count.
     
  9. GaryF

    GaryF New Member

    Messages:
    3,649
    State:
    O.P., KS
    Tom

    It's true that the auto ones have a manual pull handle, but you can seal it up in the velcro closure so that it's protected. I could do that with my manual one too, but I would probably drown before I could figure out how to pull it out.

    I really like my inflatable. I wear it all the time I'm on the water. I forget it's on, which was never the case with a conventional PFD.
     
  10. Mr.T

    Mr.T New Member

    Messages:
    2,553
    State:
    MO
    Nope.

    ALL inflatable PFDs are considered "legal" only when you're wearing them.

    Fanny pack, vest, whatever. They're all the same: If you're not wearing it, it's not a PFD as far as being a legal PFD.

    I always keep the right number of "traditional" PFDs in the boat so I won't have any issues should the water patrol come along while I'm not wearing the inflatable.

    But, like Gary, I wear mine all the time in the boat so it's not really an issue...
     
  11. ShilohRed

    ShilohRed New Member

    Messages:
    4,339
    State:
    West Tn
    Yes your so right. but shoot there easy to wear. and its like you have not got one on. so mine is on as soon as I put the boat in. And take it off when I get off the water.
    But I also keep 2 extras under the seat. As theres some people that do not like wearing them.
    Pete
     
  12. Catfish_Commando

    Catfish_Commando TF Staff Member

    Messages:
    7,005
    State:
    Georgia
    Mr.T,

    I had one of the two I got deploy in the storage compartment of the boat due to heat.

    Luckily I didnt have the lid secured and no lock mechanisim damage occured.

    Thanks for the info about the legal status!
     
  13. Cheez

    Cheez New Member

    Messages:
    522
    State:
    Trion,GA
    Thanks for all the info guys. I just wish I could find one that would fit me:sad2:

    Cheez
     
  14. zappaf19

    zappaf19 New Member

    Messages:
    1,574
    State:
    Monticello,IN
    If they go off like that will they inflate when fishing in the rain?
    Bill
     
  15. Mr.T

    Mr.T New Member

    Messages:
    2,553
    State:
    MO
    I rode 15 miles in a mean thunderstorm 2 weeks ago with mine on, no problems. But I was ready for it to go off at any minute. :eek:oooh:

    The one in my storage box inflated I think because it was laying flat and got a lot of water on it, which seeped in and got the "bobbin" wet that controls the auto inflation.

    I checked the bobbin after I got home from the thunderstorm run and it was in perfect condition, not damp at all anywhere around it. So while I'm sure they could inflate in a rainstorm, I don't think it's likely or common.

    There's a newer series of auto-inflating PFDs out now that use hydrostatic pressure to inflate -- they won't go off until the jacket is under a few inches of water. But they're pretty high-dollar...
     
  16. ShilohRed

    ShilohRed New Member

    Messages:
    4,339
    State:
    West Tn
    Not going to happen..
    As it would have to rain hard while you stand on your head. As the bobbin is up in the unit. And water has to get up in it to set one off.
    So unless you stand on your head that is not a problem.

    Cheez Also I bet mine would fit you. As I have had a guy that weights 300 bls and 6ft 7" tall wearing one. And it still had room to adjust.

    Pete
     
  17. WylieCat

    WylieCat Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    7,170
    State:
    NC
    "...If they go off like that will they inflate when fishing in the rain?..."

    Like Shiloh said, it is difficult for them to activate, but it happens. I have seen a couple go off when someone wears it while running in the rain and then takes if off to fish and throws it down on a seat or the floor. :angry:
     
  18. dudlbugr

    dudlbugr New Member

    Messages:
    176
    State:
    Cleveland, AL
    Cheez, Get you a Crewsaver 275N. These are dual chambered, which means that there are 2 bladders to inflate, so if you have to cut one to get out from under a capsized boat, you can air inflate (with the blow tube) the other bladder. The 275N fits me. The website is: http://www.crew-safe.co.uk/acatalog/crewsaver_lifejackets.html

    Yes, they're in the UK. There's probably a place to buy them in the states somewhere. I usually just order them (for work) from the UK. And they're not cheap, but it's lifesaving equipment....

    For safety sake, everyone using the inflatables should keep a knife with a blunt tip on their person to puncture the bladder should the need arrive. The blunt tip is to keep from stabbing yourself.
     
  19. jeremiad

    jeremiad Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    2,207
    Name:
    Unspecified
    I'll add another option for those shopping around for a PFD, the Extrasport Osprey Fishing PFD. Out of respect to the BOC, I won't link to the website, but you can find it for $69 at KayakFishingStuff.com. This is not an inflatable, but it is the most comfortable non-inflatable that I have seen. Not only this, the quality of the vest far surpasses the price, and the vest even includes some features not listed in the product description, such as an emergency whistle.

    This vest is a Type III, and is designed so that the flotation is high in the back for comfort.

    I know that inflatables are cooler, but a lot of folks are forgetting to wear them correctly and drowning in the process. I would rather be safe than sorry.