Inflatable life vest leak test - Page 2 - SailNet Community

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Go Back   SailNet Community > On Board > Gear & Maintenance
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  #11  
Old 02-24-2009
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I can't tell you for sure if it "passed" or "failed"; but I can say that these vests do have a rated lifetime to them; which usually is 10 years. I don't know if it is the MFR limiting it's liability for age or if there is a degradation of the vinyl; but it's possible that you won't be able to find the proper replacement cartridge now unless you have spares of your own. If you wish to test an inflatable PFD you should check the ripcord for proper function (without the cartridge installed) and then manually inflate the vest. The cartridge can be tested by weighing it on a gram scale; the cartridge has a net weight in grams printed on it. If it is below weight or empty you will know by the scale weight. Also give a jerk on all of the webbing attachments of the vest to see if the stitching has degraded.

Technically they are supposed to be sent to a testing company or MFR for certification yearly; but nobody ever does this because it would exceed the cost of the vest to have it tested so often.
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Old 02-24-2009
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I have 3 Mustang model 3184 inflatables with integrated harness. They are VERY comfortable to wear all the time.

One of these probably saved my life last fall, when due to a series of unlikely happenings I found myself in the water in a current and a chop moving quickly away from my boat. The Mustang performed perfectly. Only problem, of course, is that you are virtually immobililized after these things inflate. About all you can do is lie on your back and be real happy the thing keeps you afloat.

I bought a new inflator for the vest, but haven't installed it yet. Will do so before sailing in the spring. But I did do the manual inflation. The vest stayed inflated for more than a week; I haven't checked it in awhile, but I believe if you are losing air in just a day or two there's something amiss.

Bill
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  #13  
Old 02-24-2009
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josrulz, just rearm that life jacket and carry a bandaid to fix the leak if you go into the water. You'll have plenty of time to look for the leak!


Note that this is not a serious suggestion!
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  #14  
Old 02-24-2009
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Jos,

I send my SOSpenders to Stearns every year for inspection. It only costs about $40 and they do a thorough job. It might be worth paying the $40 for the peace of mind you'll get. They might even be able to repair any leaks at minimal or no cost.
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Old 02-24-2009
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Thanks everyone--all good info. If the Mustangs are really that comfortable, even with the harness, I might just buy a new one for this trip and use it regularly. That would solve the problem. I just didn't want to buy TWO of these things! I'll check them out in person.

Thanks as always for the good info.

Oh, and Allanbc, if I don't find a good one, I'll keep your bandaid idea in mind.
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Old 02-24-2009
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Josrulz,

I've two Mustangs w/harness that are very comfortable and two non-harness inflatables for guests.

I'd think the purchase of a new Mustang with harness would be a good idea. Check Sailnet and other online options for the best price possible.
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