Join Date: Oct 2009
Location: Swarthmore, PA
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Re: Taking inflatable PFDs on airplanes?
Quick update here:
The Sunsail-provided PFDs are not great (although very new and clean). Although not stamped with a USCG type label (since we're not in the US), they are basically equivalent to a Type I PFD. And while I do not debate the necessity of having these aboard in these waters, they are so bulky (6" thick foam on the chest) and hot that they are basically unwearable in tropical weather unless extreme conditions compel you to do so.
Going on the theory that the best PFD is the one that actually gets worn, it would have been much better to also have more comfortable gear aboard. I will not hesitate to don these if we encounter a squall or other hazardous condition, but in general we are not wearing these in normal conditions. And after being so used to always having the inflatables on all the time, it feels a lot like driving without a seat belt. Next time I'll check a bag if I need to, and bring the inflatables along.
The dinghy situation is interesting. Over the last three evenings I have seen dozens of dinghies at the dinghy dock, and not a single one (except for ours) has life jackets aboard. I don't see any people carrying them around. I've seen people boarding and de-boarding, and none of them have them. People are dinghying to shore, including in darkness, without PFDs on the boat. It's surprising and disappointing. Maybe I'm just too idealistic. The Type I PFDs are way too big to fit into the mesh bag we brought, so we're leaving them on the dinghy and hoping nobody takes them.
Overall, the trip is going great, with a couple of interesting mishaps that I'll write about later. Our itinerary has been Road Town - Trellis Bay - Gorda Sound (Bitter End) - Marina Cay (where WiFi reaches the mooring balls). This morning my son has a rendezvous dive (and we have a service call to fix a bad starter wire - one of the mishaps), then we head through Camanoe Passage, quick stop at Monkey Point, and over to Great Harbour on Jost.
Rick S., Swarthmore, PA
USCG Certified Captain, 50 Ton Master and OUPV
ASA Certified 101/103/104/105/106
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2001 Catalina 34MkII Tall Rig Breakin' Away, Universal Diesel M35B, Mantus 35 lb. anchor, sailing out of Rock Hall Landing Marina