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  Topic Review (Newest First)
10-30-2004 03:44 AM

Despite having an inflatable, which is nice because of the integral harness, I prefer the standard zip-up vest-style lifejacket. It serves as a cushiion for your back against the lifelines or rail when you''re steering from the side. It''s also a much better windbreak than the inflatable, and a lot warmer for overnight watches. The inflatable is heavier, because of the cartridge, webbing and D-rings, and despite carefully inspectting it, I''m always a little worried that it will actually work when the time comes. I can put on my standard pfd and not have to think any more about it.,
10-29-2004 10:35 AM

I bought 2 Stearn''s auto inflatables with the integral harness. We liked their design, but only chose them over their competitors because my buddy works for an outfit that got the Stearn''s products at wholesale.

Using Jack''s advice, we did a wet run (can''t call it a dry run, can you?) in the pool and it has incredible buoyancy, at the price of mild discomfort. The re-arming process isn''t too difficult, and in the deflated mode, they are much more comfortable than the standard Type II or III. Frankly, they all seem to ride high up on the torso (a necessary thing) which isn''t comfortable to me.

Good luck on your choice.

10-29-2004 07:40 AM

i was thinking more of manual inflated pfd. i''m looking more for a brand name that is comfortable and works well. i know about the many ones offered and the options. and i understand how they all work. would like to hear from wearers who can give me the pros and cons of the ones they purchased. thx....
10-29-2004 07:35 AM

I strongly suggest buying one of the inflatables, they''re comfortable to wear, some have built-in harnesses which I would recommend. I''d opt for the manually inflated type with the yellow pull cord that reads, "jerk to inflate", but don''t take this personally.

I purchased a second one from Sailnet just this year, very competitive prices.
10-29-2004 07:31 AM


Are you buying the PFD for compliance reasons...or because you really want to improve your safety? The right answer is the latter, of course. And given that the only PFDs that work are the ones that are routinely worn AND provide adequate buoyancy, then the most likely choices will be inflatables. This still leaves you lots to pick from, but be sure to also look at the integral harness PFDs. They cost more but will last almost indefinitely and, by slippin on one piece of gear, you''ll add to your safety in two ways when also attaching yourself to the boat (e.g. to make a trip forward).

One suggestion: when you pick a product and purchase it, buy at least two extra bobbins and bottles. Yes, that will increase the price but it''s going to be well worth it because you''ll get six things for the add''l cost.

Before the weather turns colder, put on the PFD and hop in a pool or over the side. Everyone wearing (and depending on) an inflatable PFD should at least once experience USING an inflatable PFD. First, you''ll learn what its like to be wearing the thing when it inflates. Second, you''ll discover that it most likely will be VERY uncomfortable, restrict easy breathing and limit movement (when e.g. trying to scamper into a raft) unless you adjust the inflation pressure. And third, you''ll learn how to adjust it, in the water, by deflating it a bit. (Deflating the unit is something that, if your first use of a inflatable device is when you fell overboard and you really do need it, is NOT an intuitive action. Some people have suffered medical problems from sustained overinflation, but damn if their going to let go of some of that air!) Fourth, you''ll be able to better adjust the straps for actual use while in the water.

The 5th benefit is that you will now learn how to rearm the device. It''s easy but easier to do it a 2nd or 3rd time, which is why it''s nice to have unlimited time to do it a first time ashore. And the 6th benefit is that you''ll still have a spare bobbin and bottle to carry with you on the boat, should you need one when underway.

10-29-2004 07:01 AM

am going to purchase a pfd..any advice??

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