The Riddler

Inflatable PFD and personal locator

46 posts in this topic

I was never a fan of it, but decided to pull the trigger.  While I was at it I decided to buy a personal locator beacon.  I’ve had some near misses over the years  kayak fishing, boating and surf casting  and personally I’m not happy with the type III PDFs and hybrids out there. Poor construction, not enough buoyancy.  I wanted something with more flotation and found a comfortable brand that will give me 40lbs.  This will be used on the kayak as well as the skiff.  For 400 bucks all in on a show special I’ll have a strobe light that will deploy automatically, a cartridge that will inflate the vest, and a personal locator. 

 

Anyone else here use inflatable PFD?

 

 

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The personal locator is nice. But I've heard from too many people about inflatable PFDs failing to inflate. When that happens, no bueno. Unfortunately you don't know ithat it will fail until it's too late. 

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Posted (edited)

That’s a legit concern. If you heard it from a lot of people than there must be folks here who have had issue with the 35 dollar catridge not open. I didn’t find anything with the brand I have.   It’s supposed to be Coast Guard approved and good for 6 years.  

 

Anyone own any brand inflatable PFD that has failed to open?  

Edited by The Riddler

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I have considered the manual only models. I know it wont work if one is ununconscious.I know my Stolly wedge side entry is always ready, and I dont have to worry if China Joe filled the Co2 cartridge or if there are any air leaks.

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Posted (edited)

Pretty negative comments from those that don’t own one. I use to feel the same way. 

 

Does anyone  own an inflatable? 

Edited by The Riddler

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I can't even find one case online where there is one report of any brand of Auto inflate where it didn't work. If someone finds something post it here. The brand I have takes a few seconds in the water before it bursts open. Taking a splash will not deploy the vest. The problem I could see is trying to get back into the kayak. I'll have to test that out and make a video this spring and see what happens. It's only 35 bucks. I'll even do some splash tests.

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I've been using one for several years and they are very comfortable.  I change the CO2 cartridge every 2 years just because.  Do they inflate?  My friend, 300 pound, 6'3" Louie was about to try my old Prowler 13 and I gave him the vest to put on.  The 'yak was in about 9" of water at Watchaug (Burlingame) Pond in Rhode Island.  Louie sat down awkwardly and immediately fell out of the kayak.  In a quick second the vest inflated, scaring the hell out of Louie and forcing me to nearly crap my pants from laughing so hard.  You should have seen him wallowing around in the 9" of water, unable to get up, and embarrassed beyond belief.  I'm still laughing years later!

I always have a "regular" PDF backup in my truck in case I do inflate my vest.  I don't want a day on the water cancelled because of that, and I will never spend a minute in a kayak without a vest.

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Posted (edited)

The only brand I have found online that had issues was the spinlock brand in 2013 but that appears the vests slipped off and road up near the head. We see people all the time in the kayak community leaving a type III pfd loose and it ends up riding near the head. Even the fatality last year in my home waters with that kayaker, his PFD was found in the surf near his body. I believe any pfd can get loose and ride up near the head.

 

 

 

 

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Edited by The Riddler

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1 min ago, jayp195 said:

I've been using one for several years and they are very comfortable.  I change the CO2 cartridge every 2 years just because.  Do they inflate?  My friend, 300 pound, 6'3" Louie was about to try my old Prowler 13 and I gave him the vest to put on.  The 'yak was in about 9" of water at Watchaug (Burlingame) Pond in Rhode Island.  Louie sat down awkwardly and immediately fell out of the kayak.  In a quick second the vest inflated, scaring the hell out of Louie and forcing me to nearly crap my pants from laughing so hard.  You should have seen him wallowing around in the 9" of water, unable to get up, and embarrassed beyond belief.  I'm still laughing years later!

I always have a "regular" PDF backup in my truck in case I do inflate my vest.  I don't want a day on the water cancelled because of that, and I will never spend a minute in a kayak without a vest.

lol...that would have been funny. Yes I agree, having an extra pfd in the truck or in the hull would be a good idea. I am also looking for comfort.

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The first bad report I heard was on this site from Jon Shein (RIP). He had a failure on his kayak fishing out in Montauk. There have been lots of recalls of these vests for various problems, including vests from Mustang, Crewsaver, Spinlock, Mullion and others. Finding bad reports is not difficult.     
 
A couple from a sailing forum:
 
"I used my own Crewsaver 150N during a survival at sea course.
When I jumped in it did not automatically inflate. When I pulled the red chord it then inflated.
Having said that, I only jumped in from the side of the pool and the air in my foulies meant that I barely broke the surface tension. I doubt that I went more than 2' under he water.
Still - sobering.
Magic"
 
"I have an auto-inflating harness/lifejacket, bought 18 months ago and thought I'd see how it would cope if I really went into the water last week.
Inflate it did not. The Hammar trigger appeared to fire, but no inflation, even when the cord was pulled, after a few minutes in the water. 
I'm very glad the harness part worked over the last couple of seasons. I just wonder now whether it's failure was due to recent use, or whether it would always have failed.
Anybody else tried their auto-inflators?"
 
Good luck! 

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Posted (edited)

I have an inflatable. It deployed once on a failed surf launch. The auto feature worked flawlesssly. I may pick up the NRS Chinook as an offshore or big water option. The inflatable is hard to beat for back bay fluking in hot weather though.

Edited by Pma531

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Funny, I'd be less worried about an inflation failure and more about puncture, given that it might take years of fishing with sharp hooks and fish spines and getting tossed around the truck before you'll ever find out it was holed when you needed it most. I'll sweat it out my Chinook, thanks.

 

I bet there's somewhere in the instructions that tells you to manually inflate it weekly or something as a precaution. I'm not that disciplined, I can barely do my yearly boiler service.

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12 mins ago, kross57 said:
The first bad report I heard was on this site from Jon Shein (RIP). He had a failure on his kayak fishing out in Montauk. There have been lots of recalls of these vests for various problems, including vests from Mustang, Crewsaver, Spinlock, Mullion and others. Finding bad reports is not difficult.     
 
A couple from a sailing forum:
 
"I used my own Crewsaver 150N during a survival at sea course.
When I jumped in it did not automatically inflate. When I pulled the red chord it then inflated.
Having said that, I only jumped in from the side of the pool and the air in my foulies meant that I barely broke the surface tension. I doubt that I went more than 2' under he water.
Still - sobering.
Magic"
 
"I have an auto-inflating harness/lifejacket, bought 18 months ago and thought I'd see how it would cope if I really went into the water last week.
Inflate it did not. The Hammar trigger appeared to fire, but no inflation, even when the cord was pulled, after a few minutes in the water. 
I'm very glad the harness part worked over the last couple of seasons. I just wonder now whether it's failure was due to recent use, or whether it would always have failed.
Anybody else tried their auto-inflators?"
 
Good luck! 

 

I think I'll take my chances Kross. I'll wait and see how many kayak anglers come in here with first hand accounts, not reports from folks that are sadly beyond the grave. I don't need to worry about changing a cartridge out because it will be inflated on purpose once a year.

 

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2 mins ago, gellfex said:

Funny, I'd be less worried about an inflation failure and more about puncture, given that it might take years of fishing with sharp hooks and fish spines and getting tossed around the truck before you'll ever find out it was holed when you needed it most. I'll sweat it out my Chinook, thanks.

 

I bet there's somewhere in the instructions that tells you to manually inflate it weekly or something as a precaution. I'm not that disciplined, I can barely do my yearly boiler service.

I do self rescue once a year. No problems there and I don't see how a fishing hook would be a problem in an enclosed vest.

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I wear an auto inflate Onyx which I converted to manual. Good idea to pick up new cartridges, will do that this week!

 

I've blown it up with the tube in the pool to adjust for optimal fit. The one time I flipped my hand went to the pull tab but my feet touched bottom just before I deployed...would've been a hilarious sight 3 meters off the beach. Asides from being hot in the summer, my NRS Chinook is just so damned cumbersome to fish in, esp when I'm jigging with the rod in front of me. 

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