Do you wear a life jacket? - SailNet Community
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post #1 of 215 Old 06-22-2013 Thread Starter
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Do you wear a life jacket?

I was thinking about getting a life jacket and I wondered how many people wear them and when. Please discuss other safety devices you find essential.

I have never worn a life jacket sailing but with the new(to me at least) auto inflatable kinds I'm interested. I'm sure most of you have one. Do you like it?

Do you wear your pfd at all times or only in rough conditions. Do you tether yourself to the boat?

Keep in mind I have never been more than 10-20 miles from land so alot of you will have more experience than I. I'm also now sailing in a cold place and I single hand so I could see great value in a confortable inflatable with tether. If I fell off on rough water I could die. Could. Depends on what the boat decided to do and other factors.
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post #2 of 215 Old 06-22-2013
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Re: Do you wear a life jacket?

I ALWAYS wear my old SOSpender auto inflate jacket. It also has a built in connection for a tether. It still works very well after many years and I re-arm it every 3 years. Today, I proved it works as I had forgotten I was wearing it and bent down to make sure my powerboat was on its trailer while I was standing in waist deep water. Suddenly, "SHOOOOOOOOOOOOOSH" and I felt silly standing there with an inflated jacket. They really work. The small ones for kids were worn without complaint by my kids for years.
On my auto-inflate jacket I have a strobe and my personal EPIRB.
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post #3 of 215 Old 06-22-2013
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Re: Do you wear a life jacket?

I put my life jacket on when I leave the car and take it off when I get back to the car.
I have a good auto inflatable mustang with integrated harness but usually just wear a standard type two near coastal.

I am in the extreme minority as far as I can tell.

The fact that I'm not a good swimmer is only a small factor. I doubt if many people can swim effectively fully clothed for more than a few minutes. I doubt if even ten percent of boaters could even tread water in a pool for an hour.

I sail in long island sound. The water temperature is usually too cool for someone to last very long.

If I end up in the water it is probably the end result of more than one thing going wrong. The amount of energy someone expends in just a minute or two during an event would also probably affect their ability to effectively swim.

Swimming in a pool and in open water is not even remotely the same.

Falling off a boat often entails some injury.

I am almost always alone or the only boat handler on board. If I go over I may be on my own for a long time.

Coast guard personnel wear life jackets and they are smarter than me.

ASA schools require everyone to wear life jackets, they are smarter than me.

I want to sent a good example.

The most important reason however is Soundings Magazine.
Soundings is a Long Island Sound boating magazine. At least twice a year for as long as I have been getting it they print the same story with names changed.

It goes something like this:

Carl was 59 years old and a life long boater. He was a member of the fire department until he retired after 20 years service. He was devoted to he boat Summer Sun which he sailed for the last 40 years. Yesterday his boat was found washed up on the noname beach. His body has not been recovered. Carl was not wearing a life vest.

This story runs almost every summer month every year.

Off-shore I wear the mustang and use the harness at night or in gusty conditions.

The lesson from the Icarus story is not about human failing.
It is a lesson about the limitations of wax as an adhesive.
If you have an engineering problem solve it.

Last edited by davidpm; 06-22-2013 at 10:37 PM.
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post #4 of 215 Old 06-22-2013
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Re: Do you wear a life jacket?

Yup! Auto Mustang with harness. Dock to dock. In the canoes, too. Why add needing to swim to survive dealing with whatever put you in the drink. I am a good swimmer but our water is cold. It is terribly inconsiderate to leave your loved ones to deal with your demise because it was too inconvenient to put on your life vest. Is there anyone you care enough about to make the effort to spare them that misery? That is my question to myself.


Islander-28, Marshall Sandpiper

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post #5 of 215 Old 06-22-2013
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Re: Do you wear a life jacket?

I try to wear my automatic vest when I sail alone. Especially if I leave our river for the open bay.

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post #6 of 215 Old 06-22-2013
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Re: Do you wear a life jacket?

When I am on the pier walking down to the boat, I will make sure it is secure (auto Mustang) It has the tether ring built in to the staps. Take it off only when I'm changing clothes.
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post #7 of 215 Old 06-22-2013
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Do you wear a life jacket?

I wear my Mustang auto with harness, always. First thing I do when I get on the boat. Last thing I do before closing up to go home.
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post #8 of 215 Old 06-22-2013
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Re: Do you wear a life jacket?

The inflatables are super comfy. We ALWAYS wear ours when not below. It really doesn't make sense not to.

(PS - If you can comfortably swim 10-20 miles in your waters, you should be fine.)

Last edited by smackdaddy; 06-22-2013 at 11:34 PM.
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post #9 of 215 Old 06-22-2013
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Re: Do you wear a life jacket?

ummmmmm, You do not wear one! WTF! oh well, you have maybe 5-10 min before you might be unconscious in the salish sea waters, so PFD's are there to help the rescuers find you that much quicker! So YES, you should wear one per say. Most of us probably do 110% of the time.

Time to make a trip to WM a block away, assuming you are still in PT, get one of the offshore mustang or equal with a built in safety harness. Then if really rough in the straights or equal, you can tether yourself in.

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post #10 of 215 Old 06-22-2013
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Re: Do you wear a life jacket?


When I sail along I wear a PFD. When I race I wear one. If I am out with others, and the weather is nice I don't wear one. If the weather gets bad I will put mine on.

I don't have a harness.

BTW it is rare for me to see another boater (sail or power) wearing a PFD. I don't think I have ever seen someone use a tether. I'm mostly a fair weather sailor, so that might explain it.


Barry Lenoble
Deep Blue C, 2002 C&C 110
Mt. Sinai, NY

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