Do Hunters and Anglers Really Need PFDs?

The attached article was in Sunday’s Pittsburgh Post Gazette. The state may be headed to a record number of polntless cold water paddler deaths.

Hypothermia seems like a tough way to go! You might want to mention this, when you are talking to some of your hunter and fishermen friends who don’t see a need for PFD’s.

Incidentally, the organization that is mentioned in the article, Venture Outdoors, is working with the state’s Fish and Boat Commission to develop a more ‘paddler oriented’ water safety education and certification program.

Only to stay afloat.
Some want to get up close and personal with the fish on the way out. Then there are the eels. Use your imagination if you’ve never seen a body extracted after being submerged for a couple of days.

not so long as they see themselves
… as hunters and anglers rather than paddlers. That’s why they don’t need to be prepared for immersion, they’re hunters and anglers. The biggest concern is over the gun getting wet or losing a pole.

The way I see it…
The way I see it, is that the only people who really need to wear PFD’s, are the ones who want to be sure to survive if they spill overboard.

I guess it is that simple in my mind. If you care to survive, wear a GOOD PFD. :slight_smile:

Stay safe!

Let me confess,
I paddle primarily to fish and I must admit that prior to visiting this board, I only wore a PFD while fishing moving water (rivers and streams). I never wore one on lakes as I figured I wasn’t moving around alot and the boat was usually still or drifting very slowly. I also bought relatively inexpensive Stearns PFDs.

After spending time reading posts here and articles like this one, I have now purchased a good Extrasport PFD that fits well and I wear it all the time regardless of the water. Now I won’t promose never to go out without wearing it - but I am much more aware of wearing it now. So thanks to you all for helping a “dumb” angler save himself from himself!

The way I see it…
“The way I see it, is that the only people who really need to wear PFD’s, are the ones who want to be sure to survive if they spill overboard.”

Here let me fix that. It should read:

The way I see it, is that the only people who really need to wear PFD’s, are the ones who want to be sure their body is found if they go overboard without wearing protection suitable for the water temp.


I agree with the addition.
A good PFD,and proper cold water gear/clothing.

Very important!

Personally, I would like to see
those cheap orange Mae West style PFD’s outlawed for use in personal watercraft 30ft or less in legnth. The are so cheap at most stores that they outsell the jacket types by about 10 to 1 and are so uncomfortable that no one wears them and we all know that not wearing is the same as not having.

You never know what might happen
I have a friend, Thank God I STILL have this friend, who is a paddler, a swimmer and a boxer. Yes, he is in superb physical condition. Also very safety oriented.

While on a paddling trip he walked to the river’s edge to get water for the morning coffee, slipped off the rock and into a large eddy. It happenned so quickly he had already done one complete rotation in the large river eddy before he realised what had happenned. He tried to calculate the edge of the eddy so he come swim out to it and grab the rocks as it brought him close to shore. The first attempt he drew up short and had to continue swimming to the outer edge of the eddy hoping to have it rotate him into the rocks but he missed again. He knew he was losing the battle with the eddy and figured he needed to make the fourth rotation because he didn’t know if he could survive the fifth.

No one heard him because of the loudness of the river itself. Luckily, someone else needed water and saw him and through him a throw bag. To this day he says he doesn’t know if he would have made it to the rocks without the throw bag.

The point obviously is not that you need to wear a pfd in order to make the morning coffee. Rather you simply cannot predict and account for all the variables and situations that may arise. As stated above, dressing for the water temp and wearing a pfd goes an awfully long way.

Flame me if you will
I worked for a few years as a Sheriffs deputy, Marine Enforcement. I did not wear a PFD while working, unless operating a small craft or jet ski. We ahd em next to us, but it was too warm and cumbersome for day to day activity.

granted the job was in 80 degree weather , and we would wear em if needed for rescue.

I also duck hunt in the fall. If in deep water I wear a PFD , but in 2 ft. of water don’t really see the need.

Bottom line, each person needs to evaluate their situation, skill and percieved danger in activities. I do wear a PFD during river paddling, especially during cold weather(and dress for immersion).

PFD Always
99.9% of my trips are solo fishing /paddling trips.

Lakes, rivers ,winter, spring,summer,cold water,warm water. I never go out without a pfd on 100% of the time. I have no desire to be a statistic. You just get used to it. I want to be around for the next and the next fishing trip!

You want to do-in Mae West?
Before you try to outlaw the Mae Wests, you may want to remember that their value, WHEN THEY ARE WORN CORRECTLY, is that they keep unconscious people on their backs with their heads out of the water. If you have your little kids out in a boat or canoe, you probably want them in a USCG approved Type II aka Mae West.

The recreational style PFD (Type III) gives you flexibility for comfort and athletic movement; but it is not as life preserving as the bulkier MW’s.

Statistic and
I think people just make too damn big a deal of it. Put someone in the position of needing to take a long swim, or holding position for a long time (or in my case learning to re-enter a QCC-700) without it. It becomes something of a benefit rather than a safety device to me.

Those cheap orange horse collar PFDs
are the only kind I wore until last year because I think they are comfortable - especially in the summer because the back is open to let perspiration evaporate. I wear one every time I go out. I usually also wear one when taking the boat to and from the water’s edge, just in case I slip.

This winter I’ve been wearing a full jacket for the extra warmth.

I may go back to wearing the old orange horse collar after it gets hot again.

You can also thank Ocean Kayak…

– Last Updated: Mar-14-06 9:11 PM EST –

...for having a picture of a complete idiot in a SOT, offshore, while engaged in a Marlin fight (oh, and also no PFD.) This picture not only made it to a few high profile "elite outdoor" magazines, but also the Ocean Kayak glossy color sales brochure.

Thanks O.K.! Because of that moron, new paddlers think it's safe to be dragged around by a strong fish in a potentially upsetting scenario... all the while bereft any kind of personal flotation!

I agree with you if you are saying that a better quality PFD is more comfortable, and if it is more comfortable, those who generally eschew PFDs will be more likely to wear it, not stow it.

I have to shake my head at those who think only $90 PFDs are serviceable. I love my $90 Extrasport, I can wear it all day and barely notice it, but some people can’t afford them, and the $15 ones, as long as CG approved, will save their lives just as well.

Do you work for Extrasports?

– Last Updated: Mar-14-06 10:05 PM EST –

Give me a break. Volvos are a lot safer than Dodge Neons. Should we require everyone to buy an S60?

Anything less than 30 feet? Ignoreing the fact that personal watercraft is the term usually reserved for jetskis, which don't even approach 30 feet, there is no need for a 26 foot fishing boat with at least thigh-high gunwales for a person over 12 to wear a PFD except in heavy seas or emergency conditions.

Outlawing cheap PFDs won't do any good, it will likely only discourage more people from wearing them. Short of legal requirements, nothing is going to force someone who puts his comfort above his safety to wear one. I bought my $90 extrasport because I am willing to shell out to be comfortable AND safe, but not everyone is going to do that. You take away his cheap option,he's not going to wear anything at all.

And as powelljk pointed out, the Type II's (orange mae wests) are more effective in more conditions than Type IIIs (ski vests, paddling vests, etc).

It’s uncomfortable
But I’d rather be safe than dead. Accidents do happen, that’s why they are accidents. I carry a PFD all the time and wear it the majority of the time. Doesn’t bother me as much anymore as it did at first. I also always wear it when paddling with my son (8), and he wears one too. Now he’s so accustomed to it I don’t even have to tell him to put it on.

Look at the stats for boating deaths…
…then tell me it doesn’t makes sense for people in larger boats to wear PFD’s. What kind of boating do you think most boating deaths occur during? It’s not paddling.

one can’t be too careful
Last night my EMT stepson gave me this additional piece of safety equipment that I never knew existed: