Have you ever been in the water in an inflatable PFD and had it inflate while you were wearing it??? I doubt it.
It is one thing to swim with the PFDs in your arm and have the other arm unencumbered for swimming...and another to try and swim with an inflated inflatable PFD wrapped around your torso, hindering your movement. Also, most inflatable PFDs will provide 35 lbs. of flotation, compared to the 22 lbs. or so provided by non-inflatable PFDs.
Also, just because you can do something in a vest-type kayak PFD, doesn't mean that you could do the same thing in an inflatable, because of the way one interferes with your arm movement and is concentrated around the chest and neck, versus being spread out far more evenly. It can be difficult to swim at all in an inflatable, since the PFD wants to try and flip you over...
Finally, there's a big difference between doing something in a clear and open swimming pool and the same thing inside an inverted, possibly still rolling, pitching, yawing boat that may have lines and other obstacles blocking a relatively small exit. Most companionways aren't very wide or very tall.
I don't see how a PFD inflating in the cabin is a problem unless you are not a strong person, or a strong swimmer, I'm speculating here but maybe something else happened, maybe he was knocked out buy something in the boat when it turtled? I just don't see a PFD as the cause, I could grab every single one in my boat and swim with them to the bottom of a pool (I've tried as a teenager, taking every PFD we had and swimming to the bottom on a bet) I'm stronger now then I was then.
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You know what the first rule of sailing is? ...Love. You can learn all the math in the 'verse, but you take
a boat to the sea you don't love, she'll shake you off just as sure as the turning of the worlds. Love keeps
her going when she oughta fall down, tells you she's hurting 'fore she keens. Makes her a home.
—Cpt. Mal Reynolds, Serenity (edited)
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