Anyone not wear a PDF here?

-- Last Updated: Aug-11-13 9:33 PM EST --

I don't want this to be a battle of why you should wear one because, duh, yeah, you should and we all know why you should, but today made me curious....

I'm just curious about that because I went up to the lake today to rent a kayak to paddle around a bit. I wanted to try a kayak out on my own and maybe take the kids up to the river and rent a canoe one of these weekends soon to see which I would like better. Ended up just riding my bike on the bike trail since there was a waiting list for kayaks. Should have known better than to try on a weekend.

Anyways, the quite a few folks that was ahead of me waiting to get launched in kayaks I noticed none of them went out with PDF's. It does seem that all they had was the old uncomfortable around the neck life preservers that I remember having to wear as a kid. Even as an adult and mature about the importance of safety, if I had to wear one of those, I would probably skip out on renting any kind of boat. I didn't see a single person in a kayak with a PDF other than young kids. I recall also a few years ago when we rented a pontoon boat that they only supplied our kids with one of those uncomfortable around the neck jobs.

Made me curious though if there were anyone who does not wear a PDF when paddling around just on a lake.

I'm still Jonesing, I can't seem to get out on the water to try this out. Had the very rare chance to have a day by myself today. Probably won't happen again until sometime next year.

Depending on conditions…

– Last Updated: Aug-11-13 10:03 PM EST –

I'm guilty of not wearing one. The air today was 95, the water was 72+, most of the stream you could walk in, if you had to swim it would be a few strokes to shore. Many branches to duck under. Under these and similar warm water, small river situations I feel better about not wearing one. On open water, or in the winter when the air and water are cooler, I do put it on. In the event I find myself with the opportunity to paddle in white water I certainly would or if I paddle with a club that really stress the point, just out of respect for their rules.

Under benign conditions, maybe not.
Though as I’m 70, and known to fibrillate now and then, I think it’s better to wear one.

I nearly always wore a helmet in my motorcycling career, but on rare occasions I skipped it for a short while. In one case, my transmission was making funny noises, and I simply needed to hear it better.

If people would wear life jackets or helmets when conditions dictated it, we wouldn’t need laws. As it is, there are helmet laws in many states, and there are ww rivers where wearing life jackets, and helmets, is required.

And by the way, this is better as a
topic for Paddlers Place Discussion Forum.

There is rarely a reason not to wear
This is a common situation. Wearing a life jacket protects you in part from an unlikely but potentially serious situation. Not wearing it protects you from a trivial problem (it is too hot or I am too lazy to put it on). Seems like an easy decision to me.

I have two reasons for wearing my PFD

– Last Updated: Aug-12-13 2:02 AM EST –

...... 1st , and it wasn't always this way , I feel it is my responsibility to set a good example . I know a PFD "can be" the difference between life and death .

If others who are not habbitual wearers see me wearing , it may provoke thoughts for them about why I do and hopefully open reasons enough to encourage them to do so as well . Any loss of a love one is a sad and difficult affair to go through , but when the love one has departed in a tradgic , violent unexpected way , the shock to the love ones left behind can be devastating , overwhelming beyond normal mourning grief , and leave a wounded heart that may never fully heal the rest of a lifetime . My best hope is that youth , teenagers and young adults may see me and perhaps aid in a whole new generation of wearers ... even if only to help stave off the aftermath of the type suffering just mentioned .

2nd , I cannot remember the last time I went swimming . I have no idea of what my endurance at the present may be should I find myself in a situation of literally sink or swim .

Although in years past I was a capable swimmer of long distances and great endurance , and would go swimming strickly for that reason ... I'm not very confident I have the ability survive a forced long distance swim w/o aid (PFD) , such as to shore from the middle of the river or reservoir . I might be able to w/o any problem , but then again I might not ... I just don't know due to lack of any recent experience , I'm not current ... matter a fact when it comes to distance swimming , endurance swimming in honesty I'd have to say I'm down right pre-historic . Hence my PFD just in case .

Sometimes I do and sometimes …
I don’t.

If you ever get a chance to get to a race that is insured by the USCA, take a look at how few are wearing PFD,s if the weather is calm.

I’ll be paddling a 20 miler here in another hour at a racing pace and the temperature is predicted to be 85. It would be absolutely stupid for me to be wearing a PFD.

If I couldn’t swim, I would bot be on the water without one.

If I am caught in rough conditions, I will put one on in a heart beat.

Jack L

I always wear a PFD, even when just tooling around close to home. It’s largely habit, and partly good modeling for my kids.

But if the only options were Type 2 horse collar PFDs I would not wear one. Those are not really meant for wearing, they’re made for fulfilling the USCG carriage requirements.

About 90% of the time
But I take it off occasionally.

most of the time
Most of the time I do. If I am racing, depends on temperature and conditions.

What possible reason for not wearing

– Last Updated: Aug-12-13 8:34 AM EST –

a PFD when on the water in a kayak or canoe, whether it is a calm paddle in a small body of water or seakayaking miles off shore, is acceptable?

I can't think of one, unless one was paddling in the kiddie pool in their own back yard.

Moreover, what kind of a rental business would let people out without specifying that they wear one as a condition of rental? I would think their liability insurance would be sky high in that case.

Always. I always wear one.

Here’s a reason. It feels good.
This hinges on value judgements, not on objective facts. Without value judgements, objective facts never can tell us what to do. Is never equals ought.

I think you may have oughtism.

Acrobat reader has been acting up lately


– Last Updated: Aug-12-13 9:49 AM EST –

I'm a good swimmer, and personally I think that is a totally moot point when it comes to whether you should wear one or not. You might be more exhausted than you think if the unexpected happens(such as if you have already been paddling for a long time) and be unable to swim as far as you know you should be able to. The water may be colder than you thought and also lead to exhaustion. If someone has to rescue you because you had a health emergency, it is FAR easier to put someone with a PFD on their back and drag them in, than have to dive to find them in the first place, and then drag them in with them constantly sinking.

The whole point of a PFD is to protect you when the UNEXPECTED happens. You can't think of every possible reason why you might need one, so I think it is unsafe not to.

And I also wouldn't go without one because I think it is a very good example to others. Laws may not make everyone wear them, but sometimes social acceptability or unacceptability will.

Whoops. I WAS making an argument for why you should wear one(this topic will always bring that up!)..bottom line is I always do.

That’s easy
I have done a lot of swimming in lakes and some in rivers and oceans and I don’t wear a PFD then.

So if conditions are such that in my judgement it would be safe to jump in the water and swim, I might choose to take off my PFD for comfort.

Maybe yes, maybe no.
Those are reasons that you value enough to make your decision. Nearly all of the time, I arrive at the same decision. But I have no objective basis to say that someone is “wrong” who weighs values differently and often goes without a life jacket. I don’t like their decision, but I can’t show them to be wrong.

I despise the USCG “PFD” which is a stupid euphemism. The reason the USCG wants us to wear them is to save our lives, not to provide personal flotation. That’s like saying seat belts are tummy slimmers.

But I wear a life jacket when in heavy
ocean surf. I think young kids might be encouraged to wear them even in ordinary surf, unless adults are watching them closely.

I remember a day on Lake Michigan when a preteen girl got thumped in the surf, and we were searching for her all up and down the beach. My daughter happened to see the girl’s body brought out of the water. A life jacket might have prevented her death, and sped her rescue.

I don’t wear one unless I’m going out on the open ocean.

I am, however, a trained survival swimmer (ex-Navy)

In my observations over the weekend at a local nature preserve (Weedon Island FL) I saw 2 adults wearing one out of maybe 100+ folks I saw on the water that day.

People who wear bike helmets at the local park are the same people who wear PFD’s in 3 feet of water.

What’s a PDF?
Okay, I get it, but I agree with the OP that some life jackets are not very comfortable and can be very irritating. There were times when I absolutely would not wear a pfd when I was in one of my rec boats, but I have always worn a pfd while in a sea kayak. What’s the difference? Well, it used to be where I was paddling. The rec boats usually didn’t get paddled in the same water and same conditions as the sea kayaks. And the rec boats are nearly impossible to get upside down.

However, I have had an epiphany in the last few years; now that I have entered my seventh decade on this orb, I am no longer convinced that I am invincible and I finally got some very comfortable and proper pfd’s.


– Last Updated: Aug-12-13 10:12 AM EST –

So... what happens when I capsize and the kayak knocks me unconscious or (God forbid) a powerboat or jetski strikes me and either knocks me unconscious or breaks some of my limbs? Swimming is no longer an option. My only real hope for survival is something keeping me afloat until somebody comes along and decides to haul my soggy limp body out of the water.

The only time and place I can see this being even marginally acceptable would be in a situation like my class this past weekend: Glassy river, no real current, bank to bank width 40-50 feet, max water depth: 10 feet?, and surrounded by 5-10 other paddlers including a rescue instructor... but how often are we in those situations?