Inflatable life jacket

Several good points
An inflatable PFD for small craft like kayaks and canoes and Sunfish and the like, should definitely be the type that activates manually, not the automatic ones. Yes that is a compromise and if you are unconscious when you go under they won’t work. The probability for that to happen depends on the type of paddling you are doing. When paddling shallow water such as rivers, I use a conventional PFD for this reason. These things do require routine inspection and servicing, which must be done annually at the very least. It is something the owner can do. The replacement inflation cartridges cost $15 or $20 apiece. Practice is a good idea. I use mine once a year at cartridge replacement time and that gives me the confidence of knowing how my inflatable PFD works and what to expect. Most importantly, these things are comfortable and unobtrusive, therefore, they are much more likely to get worn. To each his own and thank God we have choices.

Noticing Bill is from the South
One reason I think that we rarely see inflatables here is that the water is cold. Whitewater runs are often with water temps in the 40’s and that insulation from a traditional PFD is very useful.

For about two months each year water temps sometimes go above 60…but often there is a severe thermocline.

Right now our water temp is 37. I’ll stick to traditional.

I agree 100%
I think that’s why they are best suited to SOTs and maybe rec boats with large open cockpits, where the chances of you being caught upside down in the water are extremely small.

On a hot summer day they are certainly comfortable though.