Ever needed a pfd or a helmet?

Thinking of an earlier thread made me wonder why I should ever wear a pfd.

I have needed the helmet but only about three times in 43 years. I’ve needed a spare paddle twice I think. But I don’t ever think the pfd has been anything but a nuisance.

I don’t wear it rowing flat water. And I rarely wear is sailing larger boats, but I do wear it almost all the rest of the time. If I went by the logic of the spare paddle thread I could never wear it…Hmmmmm…

I have certainly needed a helmet
Many times. All I need to do is show you the crash marks. And I have taken a swim enough times on rivers to say the same thing about my pfd. But that is WW.

PFD saved my life
I fell through the ice while ice-boating (on a DN).

The big danger is not finding the hole where I went through.

Fortunately, the PFD slowed my fall enough that I didn’t go all the way under.

You shouldn’t plan on things going right.

Yes to both

– Last Updated: Dec-04-07 12:16 AM EST –

I have bounced my helmet on rocks a few times doing white water. I dislocated my shoulder doing whitewater last Feb and the one armed swim was pretty easy with the pfd. A few years back I got sucked out of my boat while surfing and had a wave throw me onto a jetty and the pfd took all that force. I had a couple of scratches on my feet.

no need to wear seat belts either?
I have been driving for 30 years and never needed that “stupid” seat belt. Right? so why is everybody wearing a seat belt? maybe because it saves lives? enough said!

I have needed both

– Last Updated: Dec-04-07 9:40 AM EST –

the helmet to protect me from other kayaks, rocks, and hard bottom. This past year I have hit my head on bottom while playing in surf and rough water.

I have needed a PFD a few times. It definitely helps when sorting out things during a rough water rescue - just floating as opposed to swimming.

The biggest benefit has been as 'body armor'. At least three times in the surf I have been speared in the ribs by other kayaks. A couple of times the spearing kayak was going rather fast. My PFD saved me at least bruised ribs - I had bruises under the PFD.

Do people really find a PFD to be a nuisance? I hardly ever notice mine.

In WW I have needed both countless times.

Yes to both

– Last Updated: Dec-04-07 12:00 AM EST –

Funny my worst adventure involved a jetty too.
I probably would have drowned without both.

Surfers and whitewater paddlers probably have too many close shaves to count.

Speared by other kayaks surfing …?
You should find some other friends .

its all in good fun :wink:
sometimes beginners don’t have good directional control and I guess I wasn’t quick enough to capsize before they got to me.

Anyway, I guess that is what happens (to me) when we go out and push the limits.

See you on the water :wink:

Appreciated the PFD last summer
when being swept down river in fast flowing water that was over my head deep while pursuing my upside down canoe. It kept my head above water nicely and allowed me to focus on reattaining my canoe rather than getting myself to shore ASAP.

Helmet? No. PFD? Yes
I got knocked over by a wave in cold water. Had a little gasp reflex going on. Don’t know that the pfd saved my life but it sure made the incident less scary.

Yes to the helmet and maybe yes to the

About 15 years ago I went over in a raging river in my Perception Corsica (WW boat).

Tried two times to roll up, but my head was bouncing so bad on the rocks that I couldn’t do one, and finally bailed.

I remember to this day how my head was banging off those rocks, and I kind of think that the PFD probably helped from banging up some more of my upper body.

If I am in anything above class II, I’ll wear both a helmet and PFD

I don’t want to start the PFD war, but I wear that depending on where I am paddling.

I enjoy swimming, but not bashing my head.



Helmet PFD
Helmet - no, but have one and wear it in the surf and rocks

PFD - yup, have had a few nasty swims over the years and I’m sure glad I had it.

Ever needed underwear?

Yes to both, but
I’m not sure why this question. I see from your profile that you don’t show WW, which would remove the helmet question right away and the PFD shortly after.

However, I do see surf. That’s an environment in which there is usually little question on these items either. What is your surf environment?

Wear the pfd always! If you dont like the way they fit then go out and get one that fits and is comfortable for you to wear and always wear it. I almost drowned one cool fall evening in my rec kayak. The wind came up, tipped me over and I almost didnt make it. That was my wake up call. I have one for canoeing and one for kayaking. Both fit differently and I dont mind wearing them.

Yes, absolutely on both counts
Paddling without a PFD is just plain stupid. I only wear a helmet in surf and rock gardens, and I’ve been glad for it a few times.

that’s an easy one
Do you paddle shallow slow creeks or open water? And why is it a nuisance?

My solution is the same as for my spray skirt. I wear them always. That way I get used to them and they are no longer a nuisance!

good point!
…and it’s conceivable that an absence of a pfd and helmet in the right conditions might necessitate the sudden need for a fresh pair.

lol - I forgot about skirts
I always wear one too, even in the heat of summer. Maybe I am too stupid to notice but they never bother me or cause me to over heat.

As you and others have pointed out - find one that fits well, wear it all the time, and forget that its on.