PFD Knife

-- Last Updated: May-18-07 8:12 AM EST --

Quick question from a newbie to these forums. I am looking for the "perfect" PFD knife, and I think I may have found it. It is called the Spinner, by Oceanic. It is made for SCUBA divers, but seems to have all of the features I am looking for:

- blunt tip
- serrated and straight edges
- line cutter
- fixed blade
- locking sheath with one-handed removal
- short / compact
- corrosion resistant
- reasonable price (about $40 online)

Does anyone have any experience with this knife? Has anyone used the included BCD mounting kit to mount the sheath to a PFD? What is your perfect PFD knife? Any insights will be greatly appreciated. And, just in case anyone wants to look at the knife, here is a link to the manufacturer's page.

Let me know what you think...thanks in advance!

Or Sea Snips
We have dive knives, not this particular one but yeah they are the best idea. And I have it tucked under my PFD flap so it’ll serve to slice oranges at lunch regardless of any other use.

However, for a get-out-of-entanglement problem, a lot of people have gone to Sea Snips. Easy to hang off your PFD and less risky re mistakes.

I’ve got this one
I’ve personally owned a River Shorty for years and have been completely happy with it…

Any knife can become a weapon
I had a good dive knife on my pfd with a nice locking/latch mechanism. It seem the perfect thing…until taking the BCU Canoe Safety Test and the knife was gone…

Someone being rescued may flail and grab onto anything, including your knife, and then have a sharp object in hand or loose that is a hazard.

I now have Sea Snips as my quick access cutting utensil, and a knife inside my pfd for other uses.

Yep, Gerber River Shortie for me too

Why attach knife to PFD
I haven’t figured out why I would need a knife attached to my PFD.

I always carry a pocketknife. When I go paddling, I stash one in the pocket of my PFD. So far the only thing I’ve needed it for is to peel/cut fruit, open packaging, cut rope, clean my fingernails, etc.; the usual things I use a pocketknife for if I’m not paddling. I could probably get away with putting it in my dry bag and fish it out when I need it.

I’m not sure what circumstances a paddler would need to have a knife attached to the PFD? Easy access? No pocket on PFD? Emergency? Does it get in the way?

Two good reasons
First, there are lots of things tied-in on your craft such as your water bottle, spare paddle, boat repair kit, first aid kit, food and other things. When you flip in fast moving water all these lines can become an entanglement. The quickest way to deal with them is to grab your fixed-blade knife, conviently attached to your vest. If you are holding onto your paddle with one hand you can cut away with your free hand.

Second, foot intrapment. A short, blunt-tip blade is just right to dig out around rocks that have your foot caught.

The Dangers Are Real
If you don’t wear a knife you’ll never kayak with me.

Watch and learn!

paddle open water, you probably don’t
… paddle creeks and moving water with fishing line, wire, and whatever else may wind up in there, you still PROBABLY don’t. Just remember what “probably” means.

I carry a knife and a Gerber multitool with a wire cutter. I probably won’t ever need either of them.

Yes, the dreaded Longfish! Maybe
Flipper can come to the rescue if you can’t find your knife.

Kayaking knives
I have a Wenoka squeeze titanium dive knife with the tanto tip (smaller size model). The locking mechanism requires pressure on both sides of the handle to release. About the same price, absolutely corrosion free, sharper edge blade.

There are multiple places/ways to attach to PFD but as an emergency tool, it must be accessible by either hand.

Careful wit a pointy knife

– Last Updated: May-18-07 11:46 AM EST –

Ya might put yer eye out.

Ta avoid dis coonditoon, ye might consider dis...

De knife ah' have be de Schrade WR1.


if you carry rope, carry something…
that will cut it. EMT shears are good as well (I have a couple pairs that I sometimes carry) but for me, I like the quick access of a knife on my PFDs. If i’m in whitewater and someone throws a rope at me and it wraps around me, I will be able to immediately cut it.

River Shorty
I also have the Gerber River Shorty.

Not just for my own protection and safety but also if I come across someone or a buddy needs help.

If you have to cut someone out of a spray skirt or dry top you don’t want to be using a sharp pointed knife.

swftwater rescue, etc.
If you end up swimming near a rope in moving water, you will get tangled in it. You can’t escape Murphy.

I carry a hook knife on the outside of my PFD and a blunt-tip folder in the pocket.

Lots of good (and quick) replies. I am glad to have found this web site and its message boards.

Thanks again!


or if you just want something to cut rope.

I own several Benchmade knives they are some of the best out there. You can usually get them new on ebay for a good price.

Go titanium
There are a lot of BC knives out there that have similar features and come in titanium, which is much more worry-free than stainless.

Had that one x 3 years so far
Salt water use, zero care, it’s holding up well.

It has survived many rescue practices, rolling sessions, etc. Never came loose. Shop around though, $40 is high.

It’s small and very low profile (relative to a lot of others) and I’ve had no hangups or interference. Pretty much it goes unnoticed (just the way I like most gear), no “Rambo” effect - and few even notice it. Small blades can limit effectiveness for certain things, but for me, that’s an OK compromise.

I have found others that look good, but their sheaths are often over complicated. Many have release buttons on front - a real no-no for re-entries. Others are just too big for my needs.

Ideal would be similar sort of blunt tip BCD knife with straight and serrated edges and line hook, but 1/2" more blade, an indexed handle so you can tell which side blind, low profile sheath with friction or squeeze release (natural panic movements work - but no accidental releases), and titanium blade.

The squeeze lock mentioned above looks decent. I’ve seen pictures of the newer version in pointed, tanto, and blunt (but couldn’t find blunts in stock). Might be my next, depending on what else comes out between now and then…

Folding knives
are very difficult to open and use when in an emergency, especially true if water is below 50F, and hands are wet. However, a traditional knife can be a liability, or a certain loss, as wilsoj2 pointed out. If you want a multi-tool, make sure the blades LOCK in place! Losing a finger will make a bad day worse. A non-folder I would keep under PFD secured to harness, and a folder in a front PFD pocket. Bottom line, you don’t want your gear to catch on anything, nor should it become lost/unusable, or a liability. And make sure they ARE sharp, and have some serrations. My two bits…