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Go Back   SailNet Community > On Board > Gear & Maintenance
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  #1  
Old 01-20-2002
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Auto PFD Choices

What, if any, are the differences between the Mustang and SOSPenders auto-inflating PFDs? Either more rugged, or more resistant to accidental inflations in wet conditions?
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Old 01-20-2002
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Auto PFD Choices

Can''t say as I know of any particular difference between the two of them, but I tried both on and I felt more comfortable in the SOSpenders, and the fact that sailnet gave me a really good price on them at their "warehouse clearance sale" didn''t hurt at all. We got the ones with the safety harness built in.
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Old 01-21-2002
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Auto PFD Choices

My wife thinks that the SOSpenders cut is more
comfortable for women. BTW, West version, made by SOSpenders doesn''t feel as comforatable to me as the real thing.

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Old 01-24-2002
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Auto PFD Choices

One of the issues I was told of when I bought mine, was how far down the chest the strap around the back is. It is important that the strap be on the ribs, not below the ribs, in order not to cut into the person as they are suspended in the water.

The SOS length is a bit shorter than the Mustang, and is what we choose for my early teenage daughter (5 foot height).

Be sure to get the Coast Guard Approved models, apparently the manufacturing QC is significantly higher.
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Old 05-29-2008
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Question auto pfd accidental inflation/ reviews

I've been researching the auto inflatable pfd market and am now somewhat confused- there seem to be few if any real reviews of them. Maybe comfort is addressed but never the accidental inflation issue- On the SOSpenders model of auto /man it clearly states splashes, high humidity, fog and rain may set it off. Does anyone have anything in the way of experience to share about that? -Apparently there are only two inflation systems for the vests. One kind, the pill/bobbin system uses a "pill" that upon contact with moisture dissolves and causes a pin to hit a bobbin to release the CO2. This kind of mechanism is used on three of the four manufacturers. Mustang has in addition to that mechanism one called hydrostatic- that means it works on the the principle of hydrostatic pressure, the weight of water, it fires off when the pressure is equivalent to four inches of water, therefore there is no "pill" to dissolve. Price not withholding which way is the way to go for a cruising sailboat liable to be in all sorts of weather? The navy and the coast guard use the pill kind why? Is there no real difference? Is this military intelligence? Can any one shed some light on the accidental inflation issue?
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Old 05-29-2008
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Generally speaking the hydrostatics are considered better in terms of:
a) going longer without maintenance intervals (5 years by the manufacturer)
b) not going off if they get splashed, or wet, or you go through high humidity

The salt one's however are both cheaper to buy and cheaper to re-arm when it comes time. If you're going to buy one and you don't care too much about price I'd get a hydrostatic one (in fact I did get one ). Mustang survival makes good stuff. If you're cruising don't forget to get a model with the harness built in
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Old 05-29-2008
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Audace, this was discussed in...

in a simialr thread just recently. My "no experience" answer to your question/statement
Quote:
clearly states splashes, high humidity, fog and rain may set it off. Does anyone have anything in the way of experience to share about that?
is that it is probably a very, very small probability that the pill one will "go off" unintentionally, else we would have heard more reports about this. If you keep your PFD stored dry and inspect it frequently, there shouldn't be any real issue. If your main use of it as a safety device in relatively benign weather with the occasional splash or rain shower, the pill one should work just fine.

However, if your heavy weather sailing a lot or working on a Crab Boat in Alaska, the hydrostatic model, maybe a better choice.

I have both. I use the hydrostatic model when it pouring rain or we are sailing and getting splashed a lot, and the "pill" version all other times. Needless to say the pill version is used 95% of the time. When we have guests, they get the "pill one" and I wear the hydrostatic.

DrB
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Old 05-29-2008
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I bought the SoSpenders World Class series. I have worn it all day without any discomfort.

The Salt Pill is about 3 inches up in the bladder, so it seems like it really needs to be dunked to go off.

I've read you should take the pill out during the off season and replace it yearly.

Chris
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Old 05-29-2008
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I agree with Merlin2375. Far as I'm concerned, after looking at all of the available models and reading everything I could find, the Mustang Model 3184 with hydrostatic release, 5-year no maintenance, and built in harness is the way to go. I bought one, loved it, and bought two more for my crew.

Best price I found last year was at Star Marine...I bought two for $472.85, including overnite shipping. I have two red ones and one black one.

Here's a pic of one in use by the off-watch: Gallery :: Born Free Maine Trip 2007 :: DSC_0265c

They're really comfortable, so we often leave them on during passages even when below.

Bill
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Old 05-29-2008
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I don't have any personal experience with auto pfds yet, but we're in the market for them.

Practical Sailor has a review of 10 inflatable pfds without harnesses in the June issue:
Practical Sailor June 2008 Unfortunately, this link will only bring you to a teaser paragraph if you're not logged in as a subscriber.

It was a limited test of 10, Crewsaver, Float-tech, Mustang (hydrostatic), 2 Revere, 3 Viking, and 2 West Marine by Stearns. SOSpenders was not included. There was another review in April 2006, but I don't know which were included that time. There is a promise of a test of those with harnesses soon.

Ranked "best choice" were the Revere Comfortmax 61018 (manual) and 61019 (auto/manual) for comfort, price, ease of repacking and water-activated light. The Mustang ranked lower due to initial cost, rearming kit cost, difficult repacking, and two side wings didn't inflate automatically during the test. There was no mention of the required maintenance frequency.

The Comfortmax are rated type III and II, so they count toward the total lifejackets aboard even when not worn. (It seems silly to me that one brand would count and others wouldn't, because I can't see any functional difference between them, but CG regulations are CG regulations.... Good for them for getting the certification.)
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