Life Preservers, Which Type?

Discussion in 'Boat Safety' started by blackwaterkatz, Jan 21, 2006.

  1. blackwaterkatz

    blackwaterkatz Active Member

    Messages:
    3,659
    State:
    Andrews, SC
    I have a lung disease, and get winded easily, probably couldn't swim very far at all without giving out of breath. I have been in the habit of wearing a life vest (and using a kill switch) for many years, but with my lung condition, I have made a habit of wearing my vest at all times when I'm alone, except sometimes when anchored in calm waters, and even then I keep one within easy reach (they likely would not be much use stored in a compartment). The vests can be hot and uncomfortable at times, and even a good one is bulkier than I like, especially in cold weather when I wear heavier clothing. I have a float jacket, but on really cold days, it feels too stiff for me, other than when underway.
    I've been considering buying one of the inflatable preservers, but don't know which one is better for me. I have a friend who had to use one when their bass boat flipped in a storm on Lake Moultrie a couple of years back, and although it inflated, it actually restricted arm movement to the point that he couldn't swim back to the boat, and was drifting away. Fortunately his fishing partner swam to him and tied a rope to keep both of them with the boat until another boat spotted them and came to their aid.
    Of course I don't want to end up in this predicament, and I don't know what kind he was wearing. My question is: what experience or knowledge do some of you have on these life preservers that might help me decide?
     
  2. olefin

    olefin New Member

    Messages:
    3,908
    State:
    Texas
    Tommy, I fish alone a lot and wife has always wanted me to wear a vest. I didn't for they are uncomfortable and hot in the summer. So last year I bought me a Inflatable PFD. It's auto, if you fall in the water it inflates or you can inflate manually. So much more comfortable than a vest. I've never inflated mine so I don't know how it would work in the water. The instructions say to keep it adjusted pretty tight. I wonder if the PFD wasn't adjusted tight if that might restrict arm movement in the water?
    Mine is a Sospenders High-Performance Inflatable.
     

  3. Mark J

    Mark J New Member

    Messages:
    9,407
    State:
    Four Oaks, NC
    I just wish they would make one that didnt mess up my beautiful even tan.
    I like those SOSpenders olefin.
     
  4. Bobpaul

    Bobpaul New Member

    Messages:
    3,039
    State:
    Supply NC
    Why do I feel a smart ass answer coming on?

    I'd vote on the SoSuspenders also.
     
  5. zappaf19

    zappaf19 New Member

    Messages:
    1,574
    State:
    Monticello,IN
    A suggestion. With you having breathing problems make sure you get a vest that will flost you face up! It will allow you to rest if you have to swim. If you do wear heavy clothes check the lable to see what the wieght is it will hold up. When my outboard is running I wear a vest and take it off when I get to where I am going. In cold weather I to wear alot of clothes. It does worry me about falling over board with a vest and heavy clothes on.
    Bill
     
  6. Bubbakat

    Bubbakat New Member

    Messages:
    4,532
    State:
    McMinnvill
    I am in the same situation as Olefin here. I to have to fish alone alot and my two daughters got me the same vest and it is more easy to wear.

    My wife has a lung problem to and I got her one to wear when she fishes with me.
    I also keep a flotation cushion on board with about 50 feet of line tied to it to help use older folks to get back to the boat if necessary.:)
     
  7. ShilohRed

    ShilohRed New Member

    Messages:
    4,339
    State:
    West Tn
    SoSuspenders I have 2 of them. The Autos and 35lb of floatation. Easy to wear and not hot.
    I have had these for 4 years this spring.
    Best buy and will replace them with new ones when these tear up. Replace the firing piece once per year and your set. Here is a link to them.
    http://www.cabelas.com/
    Place this in the Search box. Item: IG-942258

    PEte
     
  8. nosnag

    nosnag New Member

    Messages:
    284
    State:
    Florida
    I agree with zappaf19 completely,
    It is a #1 priority that the preserver turns you face up after going in the water.Also the added weight of wet clothing along with your own weight has to be taken into consideration.You have to see what the boyancy weight max. is.A lot of adult sizes only have boyancy to 150# to 200#.Heavy duty Coast Guard Approved vests are in order here even if they cause restrictions.That is why commercial fishermen use extreme weather floatation suits.The cost of these is too high for the adverage fishermen,so you just have to go with the best you can afford.The foremost question is what your life is worth.Best of luck finding what you need and can afford.

    BILL
     
  9. blackwaterkatz

    blackwaterkatz Active Member

    Messages:
    3,659
    State:
    Andrews, SC
    I'll check out the sospenders a little closer. I usually wear a Stern's fishing vest, but for some reason, the style I have is getting harder to find. I've tested it with heavy clothing and it will float me ok. In cold weather, I wear it over my clothing, and my outer jacket is sized to allow me to wear that over the vest, which would allow me to remove the jacket for added mobility if needed, if I am thrown overboard. I've been thrown out in freezing weather with heavy clothing, and for a short time, the added clothing will help, but once it becomes saturated, without a life preserver, you're in serious trouble. I've made a habit to wear one ever since the first time it happened many years ago, back in the mid 70's. On that day, the boat ran in a tight circle, striking me once after I went overboard (I stayed submerged as long as I could), but the flotation cushion got caught in front of the motor, causing it to cavitate and I was able to swim to the boat and get back in pretty fast. By the time I got back to the boat landing 1/2 mile away, I was so cold I could barely move. I went the next day and bought a vest and installed a kill switch on the motor, and I've used both of them ever since. I used to leave the kill lanyard attached to my vest, so I couldn't start the motor without the vest.
    Thanks for the info, guys.
     
  10. WishinIwasFishin

    WishinIwasFishin New Member

    Messages:
    23
    State:
    Georgia
    I have tried swimming with a life jacket on and found it very difficult. So I have short piece of cord rolled up and tied to my life jacket so that if I go overboard and am able to swim, I can take the life jacket off and tow it behind me. That way, if I can't get all the way to the boat or to land, I can retrieve the jacket and put it back on. I also wear oversized slip on (off) insulated boots in the winter. I can't swim with heavy footgear. Fortunately, I have never had to do this.
     
  11. wpsatisfide

    wpsatisfide New Member

    Messages:
    305
    State:
    Pawleys Island, SC
    God ive never even tried my life jackets, I just know that i have 4 of them still wrapped together in the plastic wrap. Of course I have 2 ski typle lifejackets and the one which fits me is pretty comfortable when im in the water. Aggravating as heck when im not though.
     
  12. blackwaterkatz

    blackwaterkatz Active Member

    Messages:
    3,659
    State:
    Andrews, SC
    Kevin, that's an automatic fine if you get stopped, friend. The law says they have to be easily accessible, specifically cannot be in the wrapper. Better take em out and have them available.;)
     
  13. wpsatisfide

    wpsatisfide New Member

    Messages:
    305
    State:
    Pawleys Island, SC
    Yeah I plan on doing that but I have to clean out my dry storage first and would like to seperate it into 2 seperate halves. That way I can keep anchor, buoys, etc in one side and jackets in other. I should be fine for now with law as I have the 2 ski jackets and a square float cushion and have only had 3 people on the boat.

    Oh ya forgot to tell you thanks as i didnt know about life jackets not being able to be in the zipped up thing. Dunno why id need 5 life jackets as i only got room for 3 people if im fishing.
     
  14. sal_jr

    sal_jr New Member

    Messages:
    1,390
    State:
    Ithaca, MI
    SOSpenders have saved me once.... so far.

    I love em. I got one for my wife as well, cause I want her to float right side up too, and though she'd be fine according to her physical design and the punchline of some old Dolly Parton jokes, I dont wanna take any chances.

    Theyre worth the extra $ in exchange for movement and not crapping up your vicious catfisherman's tan.

    -sal
     
  15. blackwaterkatz

    blackwaterkatz Active Member

    Messages:
    3,659
    State:
    Andrews, SC
    OK, now for the next question - where's the best place to buy them at a reasonable price. I think I've seen them from about $100 - $180, depending on style.
     
  16. jtrew

    jtrew New Member

    Messages:
    4,404
    State:
    Little Rock, AR
    A year ago this past Christmas, I got a Sospenders life vest. The first trip or two, I attempted to use it more like a regular vest, putting it on when the boat was moving, and removing it while sitting still. But, I quickly found myself forgetting to take it off when the boat stopped. I even forgot to take it off immediately when we got back to the launching ramp. So now, I put it on when we're launching the boat, and don't think about it again till we're back on shore. I've seen a boat turn over, dumping the guys in the water in a situation where they would almost certainly have drowned had they not been wearing their life jackets. And I've had a boat turn over and dump me in the water; because it was in protected water, I wasn't wearing my life jacket. I wasn't in any danger of drowning...at least, not after I ripped the trotline hooks out of my hands. Had I gone into the water still hung up on that trotline, I would have been dragged about 10' below the surface, among thick standing timber, with a 2-3mph current.
     
  17. olefin

    olefin New Member

    Messages:
    3,908
    State:
    Texas
    Tommy, I bought mine online from Cabela's. I think it was $140. I like Cabela's, may pay a little more but 100% satisfaction guarantee.
     
  18. Koda

    Koda New Member

    Messages:
    39
    State:
    Tombstone,AZ
    you can purchase the cabela's guardian angler 3500 manual pfd for $89.95 colors or $99.95 camo buy two and get $10.00 each off, item # WT-943057 35#s floatation, the auto/manual version is $149.95.
    they also have a real good buy now on their ultra manual pfd 22#s floatation vest marked down from $99.95 to $19.95 item # XF-942980, it is only available in camo.
    the first one not listed in the catalog but the item # will get you one thru the 1-800-237-4444 #
    I prefer manual as have slipped a time or two on slick launching ramps and don't want one to inflate while I am in a foot or two of water.
    Luck Koda
     
  19. blackwaterkatz

    blackwaterkatz Active Member

    Messages:
    3,659
    State:
    Andrews, SC
    Thanks, Koda and Sal. I noticed the cabela's brand - wonder who makes them and how they compare to stern's sospenders. They may be just as good, at a pretty good savings. I'm not sure that I want a manual, just on the off chance that if someone is thrown overboard, they could sustain a head injury or something to where they couldn't activate the thing. Probably not a big concern, though. I need one just in case I fall over, especially when I'm in my little 14' jon boat.
    Has anyone had any experience with the mustang brand? I looked at some of them online, couldn't see any real difference except the price is a little higher, but I think it comes with a spare recharge kit. One review I read said that it helped hold the wearer's head up pretty high (9") out of the water.
     
  20. catfishcentral

    catfishcentral New Member

    Messages:
    1,497
    State:
    OK
    Blackwaterkatz,

    I own one of those 99.00 camo cabela's life jackets and there are made by stearns. I never have inflated it yet, but I wear it all the time. I also found myself out on the water too many times by myeslf and not wearing a life jacket. I thought a 100.00 was pretty expensive for a life jacket but that 's dirt cheap if it saves a life.