Originally Posted by Minnewaska
Crotch straps should be mandatory and its not clear whether they were wearing them. Any pfd can rise above your head without them, especially smaller people like kids....
Simply not universally true, and that points to the central problem: lack of good testing protecoles.
Why is it not true? Kayak PFDs do not ride up if worn properly. Ever. More than a few paddlers are maytaged every single day, and the jackets stay in place. Why? several reasons:
* They don't rely on a strap around the chest, which is ALL WRONG for a PFD; it will ride up and it restricts breathing. Instead, they are around the waist.
* Real world testing. These guys test PFDs by taking them out and using them. On the other hand, USCG approval is based on flotation pounds and strap strength, not whether they work in actual practice.
The current standards include many measures of sturdiness, and the result is PFDs that don't fall apart:
Table of Contents for UL 1191
But what we need are standards that involve actual use:
* Does is stay in place?
* Can the wearer swim?
* Can all pockets, accesories be reached when inflated?
* Can the harness quick release be reached by a swimmer?
While a leg strap requirement (forget crotch straps--most guys will cut them off) makes some sense, it side-stepps the isssue of performance testing. Spinlock is a good company, but they should find this utterly humiliating; they sold stuff to the public that they should have known didn't really work. If the public wants something that can't work, they should have the character not to sell it.
The Coast Guard should share in the embarasment. They don't require meaningfull use testing. I didn't hear the CG say "we now see that PFD standards are woefully incomplete and will be re-evaluating our standards." Instead, they point fingers at race organizers.