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The only reason it takes longer to write why they sometimes don't wear the PFD is that they need to describe the benign conditions involved. If you wear it always, no matter what, there's nothing else to write. In any case, when you state that such an explanation indicates an agonizing decision-making process, it shows you are missing something.
As just one example, I've paddled for miles without a PFD on a creek that's only one foot deep. I may need to explain to you that walking the creek is as easy as walking on a sidewalk so that you'll have some chance of understanding why not wearing a PFD doesn't put me in grave danger, but that doesn't mean I needed to spend any time analyzing the situation to reach that conclusion for myself. The things other people write about this are just other examples of the same idea.
And for what it's worth, most people who know me have probably never seen me paddle without wearing a PFD.
The hallmark of a habit is that one (almost) automatically performs the action as an integral part of whatever larger activity is involved. So somebody with the habit of "always" wearing their seatbelt in a car just automatically begins to reach around and grapple for the belt and click it into place. Something just feels wrong if, for some reason, they've neglected to do this. Now we all know and understand (don't we?) that we need not attach our seatbelts while sitting in the driveway or garage washing the inside of the windows or fishing for something in the glove compartment. But if we're driving our vehicles, we wear our seatbelts.
The PFD situation is just the same for those who have developed the habit--the PFD goes on as an near-automatic response to getting ready to launch. It does not need to, nor does it usually, get worn while sitting in the kayak on the grass at home, say, while first testing out the latest backband or seat adjustment--we'll probably put in on later, though. But if we're paddling, on water yet, we wear our PFDs. This is what is meant by developing the PFD habit, the seatbelt habit, the tooth-brushing habit, etc., etc.
I offer this explanation for those who have difficulty understanding what habits are and how they work, and find that they must "decide" these simple things every time the situation presents itself. The safety and health statistics will easily demonstrate that good habits result in better outcomes for those who acquire good habits.
Hope this helps!
My wife and I are both beginners when it comes to kayaking but we are highly trained and experienced scuba divers and value safety. We do wear lightweight inflatable PFDs on flat water in hot weather (and full sized ones the rest of the time) but neither of us would get in a boat without wearing one.
Pikabike, your first post cements firmly into place exactly the nature of the "deciding" syndrome that developing a robust PFD habit can help you overcome. You will be free of needing to again and again travel the decision tree: Are we on a lake? How big or small is the lake? Is it small and/or sheltered? How big is "big"? How sheltered is "sheltered"? Or are we on a river? Are we on the ocean? If so, how warm is the air? the water? Am I in a sheltered bay? Will I stay in that bay? Faced with all those factors and variables, a caterpillar would have trouble figuring out how to walk, let alone whether or not it should wear a PFD.
you just throw on your pfd and go because thinking about water temps, conditions, size of the body of water are to time consuming or takes too much thought?
Your just a pfd covered accident waiting to happen!!!!
I can't understand how a choice that can be made in a moment's application of logic needs to be seen as such a crippling process for the person involved. Your escalation of this is pretty amazing.
You like that seatbelt analogy, so consider this. If I'm driving a big truck in a very low gear through a cornfield and I don't wear my seatbelt, does that mean my seatbelt habit isn't well enough established for me to be safe while driving? (in actual fact, I'd probably wear my seatbelt at least sometimes in that situation because "something doesn't feel right" when it's not buckled, but sometimes I wouldn't, because the thinking part of me knows perfectly well that there is NO way that not wearing it can be considered a safety issue right at that moment since a person can walk twice as fast as what the truck would go even if the gas pedal were accidentally floored). In this case, would you do the same as you did with Pikabike and say something that implies that surely I wasted unnecessary time and went through some degree of mental anguish deciding whether or not the belt was necessary at that moment? My point, which somehow you missed, is that you are making this much harder than it needs to be. No one agonizes over the decision in the way you say that they do.
Oh, and here's a perfect analogy that everyone here can relate to. When walking in the woods we wear shoes to protect our feet (not just a comfort issue but one of safety as well). If I wake up in my tent at 3:00 am and need to take a pee, I might not to put on my shoes. I won't be walking that far and need not worry about hurting myself, so why bother. To you, such a decision would be a "ritual" and habits are preferable to rituals. To me and anyone I know personally, not only is it not a ritual, it's not even something to dwell upon, much less turn into a major discussion.
An' yer reckon why? Cuz, ah's gots "heavy fat" an' sink like a lead bag full o' Kryptonite - dats why! Even a standard 16.5 lbs. lifevest ain't 'nuff ta keep dis varmint afloat.
Waan me carries a VHF radio (required fer National Canoe Safety Patrol duty on de Upper Delaware River) it's in me lifevest pocket.
Ah' poysonally dun't do much "open water" me'self. Mostly rivers an' kreks an' ah' dun'y care iffin' it be 1" or 100' deep, hot or cold, miserable or not - ah's always waars it an' zipped up.
Apparently, you have chosen to target my posts, perhaps because they are articulate?
You're repeating yourself, so I'll repeat myself: the decision to make an exception is not hard nor does it take "agonization."
Not everybody dithers over these kinds of decisions. If you do, you've found YOUR solution, so your continued harassment of other people's decisions reeks of an agenda tied to business interests.
If you truly find it so laborious and slow to make these kinds of decisions, I hate to think what you're like when something unexpected happens on the water. Yikes.
...because most of your posts have obsessed over people who make different decisions than you do, and ridiculed and misrepresented simple decision-making on the part of those who decide not to wear a PFD. Even after they tell you it's a simple decision.
I'd cite more needless mudslinging but despite your feigned indignation, I trust you can probably find it for yourself.
the rescue part - where flexibility is often the key. I just failed to say it earlier.
Pikabike, we've both failed miserably to address the really important part of this whole thread, don't you think?: Whether I misquoted when I used the term "PFD Industry" (I did), and then whether your own posting of "Industry" was a misquote (it was). We both know, or should know, or should have remembered, that your original accusation was that my posts "reek of an agenda tied to business interests." Yes, you actually posted that--go check. You are so cruel, so mean! And it hurts so much!!
I have no data to support it, but it makes sense to me that entrapment, unconsciousness, mouth immersions would be the critical risks once you get beyond not having a life jacket.
Based on my limited experience (fortunately), entrapment is probably the critical hazard. There have been a couple of entrapment fatalities in my area since I started paddling. While everyone I paddle with does wear a PFD, I do know a few people who don't wear a helmet, so they could easily be knocked unconscious. I've also been stuck in a hole, and have bobbed down some long rapids, so I can also see mouth immersions being an issue.
Unless an inexperienced paddler does something really stupid, though, these are risks that effect a limited number of paddlers (whitewater and advance sea kayakers). I would also add hypothermia to the list since there have been a number of cold water paddling deaths in my area recently.
With so many other things to worry about, putting on a PFD seems like a no brainer.