What life jacket do you recomend... - Page 2 - SailNet Community
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post #11 of 29 Old 08-17-2007
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I have four Stearns Merchant Mate type I vests on the boat, as well as four Type III vests for use on the dinghy, along with two Type V automatic inflatable PFDs with harnesses. The two Type V's are for me and my primary crew to wear while working on-deck. If the worst happens, I have the four Type I's for that...

Type I PFDs, while very safe, are very uncomfortable to wear for any period of time, especially in the humid and hot summer conditions prevalent where I sail. I see no need to inflict that kind of discomfort on my family and friends unless absolutely necessary.

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post #12 of 29 Old 08-17-2007 Thread Starter
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Thanks for all the replies guys, very helpful! I really just want to have one of these vests to add to my "arsenal" of vests. I think for being out on the dinghy, you guys couldn't be more right...it's not worth having. I might also need to replace my current "full" vest as it has a lot of straps and getting caught on something on the way over worries me greatly.

But as my plan goes, I'm trying to spend as much time on bigger vessels and therefore want to have the option of the off-shore vest. Thanks for all the help...

Have people had good experience with the WM 4000 version? Thanks to NOLAsailing for mentioning it!
http://www.westmarine.com/webapp/wcs...&classNum=null

Also, when you buy one of the off-shore jackets, with the "integral harness" is the harness PART of the jacket or could it be removed when it's not necessary/you don't want to use it?

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post #13 of 29 Old 08-17-2007
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When a harness is integrated into a lifejacket they usually strengthen the webbing, move where the belt clips together to be mid-abdomen and add D-Rings to support being tethered in. When wearing them they are little different from lifejackets without the integrated harness - just slightly heavier (and more costly). You cannot remove the harness - it's integrated. With regards to picking an auto-inflate lifevest, I would definitely prefer a pressure release unit. I couldn't tell whether the WM4000 is of that type - it just says "newest inflator and indicator system". If it is a pressure release unit, it looks nice - pocket to store items, whistle, SOLAS tape (never think that your tiny head could be seen against waves in a storm - being able to pan over an area with a searchlight and get a reflection back is very helpful - even more helpful would be a strobe).

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Last edited by labatt; 08-17-2007 at 10:22 AM.
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post #14 of 29 Old 08-17-2007 Thread Starter
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thanks labatt, that's very good information. If I find out the type of inflation on the 4000 I will report back!

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post #15 of 29 Old 08-17-2007
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The West Marine will auto inflate and it has a lanyard for manual inflation. For super manual inflation there is also tube to blow air into the vest. If you go overboard, don't wait for the auto-inflate, just pull the lanyard.

**As an aside, we recently did a rough race in fairly heavy weather and got soaked. One of the crew was wearing a vest that auto inflated (not sure of the brand). It didn't go off until he was in the car and on his way home. Scared the hell out of him.

I added a strobe to both vests, something that is absolutely critical at night. I also deployed the vest to see how fast it inflates and how full it gets; I was impressed.

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post #16 of 29 Old 08-17-2007
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Quote:
Originally Posted by merlin2375 View Post
Also, when you buy one of the off-shore jackets, with the "integral harness" is the harness PART of the jacket or could it be removed when it's not necessary/you don't want to use it?
Integral means just that: the D-rings are heavily sewn into the webbing and cannot be removed. They add about 500 grams to the total weight...no big deal.
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post #17 of 29 Old 08-17-2007
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The WM 4000 uses a salt-tablet based Secumar auto inflator mechanism, not the hydrostatic pressure-based inflator. Be aware that they have a very small fine print caveat on them that they are not designed for people shorter than 5' 8" or so. I believe this is because the harness is not height adjustable... so if you're short, like me, don't get it.

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post #18 of 29 Old 08-17-2007
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I would not get too comfortable thinking about the Auto inflate units assisting you if you are knocked out... They WILL NOT keep you face up... you would probably still drown but your body would be easier to recover. Also you would need the crouch strap to keep the jacket from popping off your limp body. Each person needs to determine which type jacket to use in in specific circumstances.. they will vary depending on what your doing and the conditions. Generally the auto inflates cost more but generally do not provide a significant additional protection... maybe if both arms are broken and you can't pull the manual inflate or reach the mouth inflate tube... but if your knocked out... the auto-inflate will probably not help you survive at all as you face will be in the water.
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post #19 of 29 Old 08-17-2007
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Actually, it really depends on which auto-inflating PFD you have. Some are designed to flip you back over, some are not. The Mustang LIFT series are probably going to do a better job of getting your head out of the water than one with less buoyancy. Some of the better inflatable PFDs, like the Spinlock Deckware Pro Harness with integrated PFD have thigh straps as standard gear.

Finally, a small chance of an auto-inflating PFD flipping you over is far better than no chance that would be the case if you hit the water with a purely manual inflation PFD and are injured or unconscious.

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her going when she oughta fall down, tells you she's hurting 'fore she keens. Makes her a home.

—Cpt. Mal Reynolds, Serenity (edited)

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post #20 of 29 Old 08-17-2007
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I swim like a rock. But I do swim well under water. So I wear a Stearns Merchant Mate type I vest. I also have a PFD belt that I bought a long, long time ago, that has saved my butt, a couple of times.

S/V Scheherazade
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I had a dream, I was sailing, I was happy, I was even smiling. Then I looked down and saw that I was on a multi-hull and woke up suddenly in a cold sweat.
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