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  #1  
Old 12-16-2002
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Auto Inflatable PFD

My Sospenders PFD inflated while laying beneath a small drip from a porthole during
a rainy day last week. If I had it on while sailing during a storm, would it inflate when the rain hit it? That could scare the @#$#% out of you! Anyone ever have this happen?
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Old 12-16-2002
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Auto Inflatable PFD

M:

My wife and I each wear these units continuously when offshore or coastal/island sailing. We were gone 26 months and got wetter than wet while in storm weather while wearing them, yet they never auto-inflated. Finally, on the leg home from Isla Mujeres, Mexico and with a broken fresh water pump, we were afloat on a glass calm Gulf of Mexico, sitting in the cockpit chatting when suddenly one of the units inflates. There was about 1.5 seconds there, between when the Event Horizon began and when we knew what was going on, that it was pretty exciting!

The lesson I learned, at least when serious offshore work and/or lots of inclimate weather are involved, is to periodically change out the little wafer that makes auto-inflation function. These are inexpensive compared to the bottles.

Jack
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Old 12-31-2002
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Auto Inflatable PFD

Can''t help but wonder if what happened to you was more due the dampness created by the drip than the inflator mechanism getting wet. I''ve never has a "false" inflation while wearing my Mustang Crewsaver PFD, though the worst I''ve been in is a hard rain. The story that follows tells why I think that way.

My PFD inflated in the duffle bag that I keep my personal sailing gear in. The inflator bobbin was several years old, and the duffle was in a moderately damp location, but not actually wet (trunk of the car). I looked at the bobbin, and could see where the paper had come apart, but it didn''t look like it had gotten wet. My spare rearm kit was in the same duffle bag in a plastic bag and its bobbin had already triggered as well. It had definitely not gotten wet.

Talked to Mustang, and they indicated that these bobbins will deteriorate over time, have about an 18 month shelf life and should be replaced annually to avoid what had happened to me.

Because I like to carry a spare rearm kit or two me and have three auto inflating PFD''s on board, the cost of replacing these things annually would add up. I then asked about keeping the bobbins in an airtight container with a packet of silica gel during extended storage, and the Mustang rep thought it was a good idea.

Consequently, I''m going to get a Nalgene bottle from my local backpacking store, put a package or two of silica gel in it, and store my spare bobbins in it during the season. Also, I''m going to take the bobbins off the PFD''s during the off season and put them in there, too. Putting things back together will add an item to my spring commissioning checklist, but that''s life.

Hope this helps.

Mark
Lake St. Clair, MI
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Old 12-31-2002
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Auto Inflatable PFD

I agree. The bobbin hadn''t been replaced in over a year and was subjected to a lot of wet sailing over the past several months.
Thanks for the input.
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Old 08-01-2007
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Giulietta is just really nice Giulietta is just really nice Giulietta is just really nice Giulietta is just really nice Giulietta is just really nice
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Old 08-01-2007
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I don't think the PFD on TommyT has positive buoyancy. And what's up with the furry nipples and shaved belly?
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Old 08-01-2007
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WTF???

The new style hydrostatic inflatables are supposed to be good for 5 years instead of 1 to 2 years AND they won't go off from moisture, the yhave to be immersed by 4". But they are very expensive.
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Old 08-01-2007
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X,
I had the same thought. Looks like it prematurely deployed the moment it came in contact with the warm, wet, steaming ****.
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Old 08-01-2007
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Most of the older automatic inflatable PFDs depend on a salt tablet or wafer for the trigger mechanism. These tablets can wear away for various reasons, leading to the vest inflating without any apparent triggering event. Often, moisture/dampness can accellerate the erosion of the tablet, as can heavy rain conditions and age. Generally, the tablets should be inspected annually, and replaced as needed.

The new hydrostatic releases are designed to not release unless immersed in 4" of water. This makes them unlikely to trigger for conditions other than actual submersion, but as Xort has pointed out, the hydrostatic inflator-equipped vests are a bit more expensive, and the replacement mechanisms are more expensive as well.

Also, IMHO, the hydrostatic inflation triggers are a bit more delicate, since you do have the CO2 cartridge and trigger mechanism stored inside the bladder on most models that I've seen. If you damage the seals on the bladder, where the trigger mechanism fits in, the vest will leak air.

BTW, I generally recommend that you do a live test, and try out the automatic inflation PFDs, even though this means you need to replace the bobbin and cartridge, to find out how the PFD acts when it triggers. This is especially important if you've never used one before and never seen one work. If you wait until your first yearly inspection, it means that you can use a bobbin and cartridge that was probably in need of replacement anyways.
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Last edited by sailingdog; 08-01-2007 at 09:05 PM.
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