Inflatable PFDs in the south: Manual or Automatic? - Page 3 - SailNet Community
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post #21 of 32 Old 05-18-2012
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Re: Inflatable PFDs in the south: Manual or Automatic?

My auto inflate pfd has only gone off once, accidentally, when it fell into the dogs water bowl!
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post #22 of 32 Old 05-18-2012
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Re: Inflatable PFDs in the south: Manual or Automatic?

I have used the original auto-inflate SOSpenders for 20 years with no accidental inflation. We do test the auto-inflate every 3 years and then we have to replace the cylinder and salt tab trigger thing. I live in the humidity capital of the world, the Gulf coast of FL.
I think the auto-inflate is a great feature for the most likely scenario of going overboard where it will inflate when you are too disoriented to do it quickly. When we have tried them, they tend to keep us upright very well.
I especially like the built in harness on the SOSpenders whereas a newer Mustang does not have a built in harness. In the summer here, the inflatables are the only life jackets that can be worn as anything else is simply too hot. My inflatable is such a part of me that I always forget to take it off when I get ashore and often myself walking into a restaurant wearing it. I have also attached a water activated light to each one. Mine has my personal EPIRB on it too,
I currently have two child auto-inflate SOSpenders but my kids are now grown. If anybody needs them, let me know.
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post #23 of 32 Old 05-18-2012
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Re: Inflatable PFDs in the south: Manual or Automatic?

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Originally Posted by MedSailor View Post
Type III, and V PFDs will NOT hold an unconscious person's head above water. All inflatables (that I know of) are USCG certified as Type V PFDs.
I wonder how much of this has to do with proper fit (tensioning of straps) and use of crotch straps. From what I understand, most PFDs, of any type, won't keep you from drowning indefinitely without proper fit and crotch strap. I paid the extra money for the option crotch strap on my Mustang auto inflate.
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post #24 of 32 Old 05-18-2012
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Re: Inflatable PFDs in the south: Manual or Automatic?

itsa-
The most popular vests all use an "aspirin" tablet that dissolves on immersion, alloing a spring-loaded firing pin to puncture the cartridge. Yes, under long exposure to high humidity those are infmaous for getting soggy and letting go, the same way that a real aspirin tablet degrades in a damp place.

The alternatives are the paper-mache wound bobbins used by only a few makers (like Crewfit) and the so-called hydrostatic release vests, which use a spring-loaded flapper valve to seal off the activator. This means the activator should not be exposed to ANY ambient moisture, until the vest is actually submerged, and the flapper valve opens, admits water, and inflates the vest.

In a USCG approved vest I think you'd only find the "hydrostatic" vests, Crewfit are in the UK and seem to have ignored the US market.
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post #25 of 32 Old 05-19-2012
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Re: Inflatable PFDs in the south: Manual or Automatic?

I hung my auto PFD in my boat. Had them inflat several times. Now I remove the gas bottle each time I store them onboard. If I were to buy another I go for manual.

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post #26 of 32 Old 05-19-2012
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Re: Inflatable PFDs in the south: Manual or Automatic?

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I hung my auto PFD in my boat. Had them inflat several times. Now I remove the gas bottle each time I store them onboard. If I were to buy another I go for manual.
You can go to automatic plus manual with hydrostaic system and you will not have a problem with inflating PDFs. I bet your's use salt tablets. Even if you change for ones with cellulose pills and change them each 2 years I think you will not have that problem (those pills are inexpensive).

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post #27 of 32 Old 05-19-2012
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Re: Inflatable PFDs in the south: Manual or Automatic?

My concerns with inflatables are not so much in the premature activation category as in the premature puncture category. I just have a problem with trusting ability to stay afloat to a balloon. There are just too many situations whereby one of these gets punctured or leaks from being punctured before or after deployment. I still wear a standard life jacket which is really not all that more uncomfortable than an inflatable. I have inflatables for guests but would give them regular jackets if time permitted in any abandon-ship situation.

Of course, being knocked overboard while single-handing is an entirely different situation than when there is someone else to steer the boat back. If offshore, I rely on being tethered 100% of the time, thus making a life jacket unnecessary. I mean what would be the point of floating and watching the boat disappear over the horizon? It would only prolong the inevitable.

Maybe someone should invent a little motorized life preserver/surfboard for us single-handers.
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post #28 of 32 Old 05-19-2012
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Re: Inflatable PFDs in the south: Manual or Automatic?

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...

Maybe someone should invent a little motorized life preserver/surfboard for us single-handers.
Somene had invented a system that pull you back to the boat I had saw a video about that somewhere

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post #29 of 32 Old 05-19-2012
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Re: Inflatable PFDs in the south: Manual or Automatic?

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You can go to automatic plus manual with hydrostaic system and you will not have a problem with inflating PDFs. I bet your's use salt tablets. Even if you change for ones with cellulose pills and change them each 2 years I think you will not have that problem (those pills are inexpensive).

Regards

Paulo
Yes, you're right. Mine uses tablets. Really a nuisance this tablet. Risk of breaking it while loading it into its slot. Thanks for heads up on cellulose pill.

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post #30 of 32 Old 05-19-2012
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Re: Inflatable PFDs in the south: Manual or Automatic?

I invite Smnurphy from NY to wear his type 1 jacket during a summer here on the upper Gulf coast when it is 100 degrees and 99% humidity with no wind and predict he'd become a convert to inflatables. Either that or we'd finally open his jacket to find him melted.
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