Inflatable PFD

Sierra Trading Post has Yakima inflatable PFD’s on sale for $40.00. I really dislike wearing a PFD because of the bulk so this seems like a nice compromise. Does anyone know if there is any kind of problem/drawback to using the CO2 cartridge? Do you have to buy a new one every time after inflating the PFD? I looked this up in the archives, and couldn’t find anything, but I remember reading something about it - somewhere.

What do you think? Thanks!

this comes up time to time
With a regular PFD, there is nothing to do. It works.

With an inflateable, YOU have to do something while trying to hold onto your boat paddle, lunch, camera case, or what ever else is floating away. And then it “might” not work.

I pick the one that works. If you get hot, roll, splash a little water etc. If it is to bulky, get new PFD, it should not feel bulky. I can not tell when I have mine on.

Stearns inflatables…
…I noticed at Boater’s World that STearns nowmake an inflatable PFD for about $60.

Already out of stock on the Yakima
So others do not waste their time. For me, I would buy one only for racing, but that is my solution, for me. My daughter watches often when I paddle local lakes, when I am on the ocean I want one, and need it for hanging tow belt, radio, etc. off of any way.

The cartridge must be replaced…
…every time you use it, at a cost of ~$12.00. If you don’t have a solid roll, that could get expensive in a hurry!

According to your profile…
you’re a “beginner” who paddles calm water in lakes and slow rivers. I’d assume that you’re not trying to conquer the Ocoee or cross the Pacific.

If you’re a good to moderate swimmer and you have floatation in your kayak I wouldn’t see a problem with wearing an inflatable. Wearing a maybe is better than wearing nothing. Just remember… for it to count in a boating safety inspection the inflatable must be worn at all times (unless you carry a regular one also).

I fish from a rec-yak-sink on calm waters and I recently got a SOSpenders waistpack inflatable. There is a larger lake (Ponchartrain) I intend to fish one day soon. For that lake I might want to wear a regular PFD depending on boat traffic and weather/wave/wind conditions.

Don’t show up at…
a Derrick Hutchinson clinic wearing one (unless it’s inflated). The wrath of Derrick will be upon you :-).

If you must get an inflateable
get one with an oral inflation back up.

completely bogus

– Last Updated: Feb-10-04 10:48 AM EST –

the whole idea of the PFD is to save your life if you get into a difficult situation and are out of your boat. how did you get outta that boat and why did you get outta that boat? big rough water and have no roll? got slammed into a rocky shore line and got tossed out? got dumped by a big wave in surf? lot's more "unplanned for" situations i could theorize but the bottom line is the last thing you need to worry about when such a situation happens is to remember to blow up your PFD. and while you're trying to accomplish this in the surf while being carried out to sea on a rip, who's got your boat and paddle?

PFD's aren't necesssary on "calm", warm water .. a lake ... if you can swim to shore, right? my how often things turn sour when you're not expecting it though.

if you're gonna wear a PFD, wear a PFD and don't kid yourself that wearing a blow up one cuz it's more "comfortable" will suffice. your PFD not comfortable? then get one that is! it's all about fit. if you choose not to wear one (and i believe in your right to do so) then just don't wear one. cuz IMO, a blow up PFD is as good as not wearing one.

that's my opinion .. you're results may differ.

And I say bogus to your bogus
The caveats you raise are valid, but saying an inflatable is no better than no PFD at all is just BS. If I’m using an inflatable, I don’t expect to inflate it. It’s there as a backup to swimming, not as a first line of defense. But if I somehow lose my kayak a mile off shore, I’m going to be damn glad the inflatable is there.

oh yeah ?

– Last Updated: Feb-10-04 2:24 PM EST –

well bogus to your bogus to my bogus ..... you "don't expect to inflate it?" nobody expects to "need" their PFD in the first place but accidents happen. that's why they put erasors on pencils (or used to back when they still made pencils). who the heck "loses his kayak a mile off shore" unless something pretty severe happened to cause you to end up that way. if you're in need of a "back up" a mile off shore why not wear a 'real' PFD then? because accidents DO happen.

Take it easy friend

– Last Updated: Feb-10-04 2:27 PM EST –

If you want to pull the cord it is there. If everything is cool and you want some help and you are fit twenty seconds and you are there.

Note I did not advocate getting an inflateable, just said that if you must get one, get an oral inflation back up.

Training is key. I regularly swam 5 miles per day, spen two summers ocean swiming in heavy surf every day, took scuba lessons from my competetive swim coach who was a udt guy and believed in strerssing out his students while underwater. This gives me a little bit different relationship with water from most folks. I would still only use an inflateable in a race. Eric Soares advocates a bouyancy compensator, because he wants to be able to swim under realy nasty stuff, and float like a cork when he wants. He paddles whe I could not even imagine it. There is rooom for decent folks on both sides.

training is key?

– Last Updated: Feb-10-04 2:38 PM EST –

c'mon, get real. i don't care if you've swum the English channel in winter. that's not going to prepare you for what might happen in a kayak.

let me give you an example of what can happen off shore. i'm a damn good swimmer and a strong one. recently, while paddling in some pretty severe water a situation arose where i had to rescue another paddler who was out of his boat due to being flipped by an 8 foot wave and had no roll. during this rescue, i dislocated my shoulder. the pain was very intense. i had all i could do to keep hold of my boat with my good hand and try to maintain some semblance of a hold on my paddle with my dislocated arm. all the while we both were being carried out to sea on a helluva rip and a 30 knot off shore wind. blow up a PFD? not very damn likely!! swim to shore? impossible with two good arms let alone one essentially useless one and the other hanging on to a $4,000 kayak. we were both rescued by a returning fishing boat after shooting off some flares. blow up PFD indeed. i'd be dead now.

hey, remember what i said in the first place .. "i strongly believe in your right to choose". don't wanna wear a PFD? no argument from me. that's your choice and if you're willing to take full responsibility for the result, good on ya. but i don't think advocating a blow up PFD to others is the responsible thing to do.

Risk assessment
I recognize that you speak from experience as to the value of foolproof floatation, but I think you’re overstating your case. The only foolproof way to make sure we’re not going to drown while paddling is to stay off the water. Once we’ve chosen to be out there, we make decisions about how much risk we’re willing to live with and what we’re willing to do to reduce risk. Inflatable PFDs have a place in that thought process.

That’s it for me on this topic. We’re spiraling into PFD theology here.

gosh i hope not, i’m an agnostic. :wink:

Fair enough!

I don’t know…
The PFD I have has three means of inflating. (1)self inflating cartridge activated by water. (2) pull cord, and (3) inflation tube. I service mine regularly. If I pass out in the boat for some stange reason and topple over I can only rely on (1). But, if it works I feel pretty certain it will keep my head above water. I don’t know about my solid PFD. So, I only occassionaly use my inflatable and it is only when I paddle with others. I always where my solid when I am out alone.

Infallable PFD’s
No PFD is infallable! You may still drown! Oh wait…that was inflatable…Never mind.

Gilda (what was the name of her SNL character?)

self inflating?

so you never intend to roll or cannot? never intend to head out in the surf and get blasted by a big wave that gets you in the chest? (read, CO2 cartridge inflates, leaving you with a blown up vest to paddle in).

Wow I find it hard to believe…
that even the most safety minded paddlers just can’t step off into the new ways of doing things. even the U.S.Coast Guard uses the new inflatable vests. Beside being way more comfortable than the stupid old type III that will drown you head first in minutes, they are probably the most throughly tested flotation devices ever invented, And proven to keep your head above water even in 4 foot swells. Only sugestion I can make is if you haven’t ever used one…at least try to understand the pros and cons and do some homework before condeming something new ( been around since WWII )