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post #8 of Old 12-04-2009
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Originally Posted by davidpm View Post
I can't find the Life Jacket I want. I wear a life jacket from the time I step foot on the dock to the time I leave the dock.

What I wear is a West Marine type 3 sport model with a couple of front pockets, not inflatable.

I know the inflatables are all the rage but I just can't bring myself to trust them. Every year I buy one, read the instructions and take it back. I read about how the cartridge has to be installed just so. The clip has to be installed right side up. It can't be too old etc. etc. I'm afraid I've been a software engineer too long using Microsoft products. If I bought one and maybe 10 rearm kits and tried it out 8 or 9 times I might start to get comfortable. But then I would start to worry that the firing pin was not meant to be used that many times so it starts all over again.

I'm blessed with a very vivid imagination. I see myself being tossed around the deck and falling against the binnacle or life line and damaging the cylinder. Then getting tossed overboard. Or taking green water over the cockpit and the jacket inflating and my getting tossed overboard while I'm trying to deal with it.
I even wear my non-inflatable when diving on a wrapped prop. It's not easy getting down there, but I'm pretty sure I'm coming back up fast. Try that with an inflatable.

I know I'm being a little paranoid but I'm pretty sure I know the reason why the inflatables were approved. The CC figured that from a statistical point of view if they could get a few percent more people to wear inflatables because they looked cooler, and were perceived as more comfortable, even if they failed some percent of the time, the overall death rate would be lower. Because after all a PDF has to be worn to be useful.

I've tried the foul weather jacket, life jacket then separate harness setup and it's challenging to get into. So what I want to buy is a non-inflatable life jacket with a couple of pockets in front and a integrated harness. But all I can find are inflatables with harness.

Have you seen such a thing?
You are also welcome to comment on my irrational fears etc. as if I could stop you.
I don't think your fears are necessarily irrational. You're just thinking through a bunch of what ifs, and applying your personal preferences.

I bought a Mustang Harness/PFD and have worn it most of the time we've been out over the past two seasons. Previously, I wore a Mustang non-inflatable vest anytime conditions were iffy, if I was wearing foul weather gear, if I was alone on board, etc.

Here's my take: The inflatable is nice, less bulky to wear, especially on hot summer days. I really don't have any qualms about the inflation mechanism -- they've been around a long time. But with the cartridge and integrated harness, it's actually a fairly heavy piece of equipment -- noticeably.

With the exception of hot summer days, most other times I actually prefer the non-inflatable. It provides warmth/insulation in the cooler months, and makes for a comfortable backrest when sitting/leaning in the cockpit.

I was pre-disposed towards the inflatables, and have ended up somewhat ambivalent. If you have a strong bias against them, just stick with your non-inflatable and you'll probably be happier.

Sorry, but I can't recommend one with the features you seek. That has always been our dilemma as we looked for pfd/harness arrangements for our kids -- they don't seem to exist.

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