PFD question

I am new to the forum. After years of renting kayaks, I recently bought my first sit-on kayak. My intent is to paddle along an area lake with my dog.

When renting, I never wore the PFD and I do not intend to wear one now. Because of this, I really don’t want to spend $50 on a PFD. My local sporting goods store sells an orange life vest for $5.

Is there any disadvantage of buying this type of PFD? (They are not required to be worn in TX but you are required to have one available on the watercraft.)

If you fell off your SOT, a $50 Class 3
PFD would be more help to you in recovering your stuff and reboarding than a $5 horse collar. And if your paddling interests broaden, wearing a quality PFD will become important to you.

Before you start paddling your own boat
why not look into why most paddlers - even those of us who are excellent swimmers - wear PFDs. At least do some research online.

For example, things can happen suddenly that you don’t see coming. A power boater or jet skier might not see you and such an encounter can leave you unconscious and/or unable to swim. Even if you fell in and got separated from your boat drifting away in the wind (don’t plan on being able to swim fast-enough to catch it), will you always be able to swim to shore? You could slip docking your boat and hit your head.

So much can go wrong on the water. I hope you don’t have to learn the hard way. There are light weight/low volume options - inflatable - out there, though they cost more.

If you care enough for yourself and those who love you to wear your seat-belt when driving, and your helmet when biking, you should have the same regard to wear a PFD when paddling.

I decided to not read the other
… responses to your post before giving mine , but to read them afterwards this time .

My answer to your question regarding any disadvantages to that type PFD and how you intend to use it is …

the only disadvantage I can think of is “you can and may drown” ,

the only way a PFD can be of any aid to you is if you are wearing it , so if you believe you are beyond drowning happening to you , by all go for it , be an example for others to see … those who drowned because they were not wearing a PFD help reinforce others to wear a PFD .

I guess…
…I need to re-think my stance on wearing a PFD. While renting kayaks, I hardly ever saw adults wearing them so I assumed that was the norm on calm water.

LOL…shopping for a PFD now!

Thanks, everyone!

good choice Texas grrl …
… the way in which you mentioned adults I’m assuming you still aren’t considering yourself one yet … but by making the better and smarter choice to wear a PFD when paddling you have shown wisdom and maturity .

You are correct that many adults (age wise at least) don’t wear a PFD , I used to be one of them … then I decided that I should be a better example for younger folks , and it didn’t hurt me nearly as much as I thought it would … that is , practice what you preach .

I don’t ALWAYS wear a PFD, but …
…I normally do if an unexpected dunking would be inconvenient, and I ALWAYS do if something unexpected might be dangerous. Thus, even though I’m a very good swimmer, I wear it a QUITE A LOT. You will be a lot more willing to play it safe if your PFD is comfortable, and you need at least a fairly good one to get that kind of comfort. It’s your money, and only you know the water conditions you’ll be in, but that’s my two cents.

If you are a decent swimmer,
and if you don’t go out in rough water, and if you can get back on your SOT in the event of a capsize, (you need to practice that), then there is no need for a high end PFD.

There are a bunch of “ifs” here, so you can take it from here

The only time I wear mine is on a long open crossing on rough water, or if I get caught unexpectedly in a storm. Most of the time it is on the rear deck

If you can’t swim, then disregard all of my above and get the best PFD you can find.

Just make sure the one you get is USCG approved.



those orange horse collar PFD’s …

– Last Updated: Mar-07-10 12:39 PM EST –

...... I got to thinking about them because of your post here Texes grrl , and your mention of "rented" kayaks .

It's been soooo long since I have rented a canoe (own my own now) , that I had almost forgotten that those orange horse collar PFD's are about all the rental and livery places had to offer (probably same way now ??) ... and almost nobody would wear them .

They were uncomfortable , ugly , ugly , ugly and as basic as PFD's come (though effective if needed and fitted on properly) . In those days everybody called them "Life Preservers" or "Life Vest" instead of PFD .

The orange horse collars you see at rental places are probably rated a type-2 PFD (because they were designed to turn a face down person in the water (unconscious) over so they are face up while floating) . Type-2 PFD's are considered inland water vest in general , where conditions would expect help or rescue to be available rather quickly ...

a Type-1 PFD is an offshore Life Vest , they are similar to the rental orange horse collars but real puffy , much bigger and bulkier and thick all over . These Type-1's are what I would want to be wearing if I had to spend any length of time floating in the oceans or large bays (especially if the weather and waters were rough and white capped) . We use to call these Type-1 PFD's by an earlier time lady actors name ... the "May West Vest" . These are what practically all ocean vessals use today still , but gov. boats such as Coast Guard , military , ect. may use an improved model of the May West today .

For paddling , pleasure boating and general recreation as such , on inland waters were people normally don't expect they are going to run any chance of being in/on the water under severe weather conditions , high seas ect. ... a modern Type-3 PFD vest (like all those advertised here on P.Net) are what is accepted and considered the norm . These are acually comfortable to wear (some brands more so than others) , even stylish to a degree so we don't feel we look silly in them , lol ... those two things alone are meant to encourage people to "wear" them always instead of left lying around someplace onboard the boat .

You probably won't see too many renters wearing those orange horse collar PFD's that go out with the rented boats for the same reasons today as it has always been ... uncomfortable , ugly , ugly , ugly .

I doubt if many people who rent canoes/kayaks just occassionally , own their own PFD . But I think they should own their own PFD even before they own their own first canoe/kayak , so they can wear it instead of tossing the old orange horse collar on the floor .

I'm not sure but I don't think rental/livery places really have anything but the orange horse collar PFD's still today ... I also think if they did have nicer more modern vest type PFD's to offer , alot more rental people would be seen wearing them ??

Consider this , if you were to end up in the water for whatever reason you ended up that way , maybe it's deep , maybe shore isn't so close after all ... there you are with but "ONE" choice , and that's to stay on top the water instead of under it ... what would you chose at that time , to be wearing a PFD or not ?? ... and that's how it works :-)

One last thing , during the cooler months the nice comfortable modern PFD vest are a fine aid in helping to keep warm when warm under top jacket/coat , another good thing !!

Do you think you’ll have to put it on?
Are you envisioning a likelihood of being in the water and putting it on? Or if you ditched would you be solid enough in your swimming to not need it? The reason I ask is that the really cheapo vests are often a bear to get on once you are in the water. Some of the better vests have good clips or and better fit, which can make a difficult task slightly less difficult.

On the contrary…
I am VERY much an adult. (and the mother of adult children!)

Thank you…
…for your reply. It took a lot of time and I appreciate it.

If you really are in Texass,look for
the coolest PFD you can find , like an Astral V-8 or one of the good inflatables.Comfort encourages use.

A PFD is kind of like seat belts…
Hopefully you won’t need it, but if you do, and don’t have it on, the results can be deadly. Why take the chance. I wear mine all the time.

…I really AM in Texas.

Donning PFD in the Water…

– Last Updated: Mar-07-10 12:39 PM EST – a lot harder than you might think. Once you've got yours, try it in controlled conditions, and then project that degree of difficulty into an unplanned situation. After a dunking, you may be scrambling to make sure you keep a grip on your boat and paddle, hang on to the PFD itself, trying to keep from breathing in water, starting to re-board - lots of things to worry about besides trying to get a highly bouyant PFD on and properly secured. And if you need two hands to do that (and you do), how will you hang on to the boat and paddle?

For us, the answer is absolutely simple - we wear our PFDs every single time we're out on the water, without exception. That's one less thing to worry about, and a quantum leap in survivability, if we end up literally swimming for our lives...

BTW: Some years ago, I interviewed the Royal Canadian Mounted Police officer heading the unit which searches for the bodies of water accident victims. He told me that his unit had never recovered a drowning victim's body wearing a PFD - hypothermia victims, yes - but never one who had died by drowning. Those who had drowned were all without for thought indeed...

Texas Laws
Like many states the situation for adults is pretty loose, but for those under 13 and 17 there are some rules about PFD’s etc. Whatever you saw, if you are thinking your kids may come with you at some point you’ll have a lot easier time with their PFD requirements if you are already wearing one.

Here is a link to an online course and some general boater safety info posted by the state of Texas. It has the requirements as well as some good safety basics.

gotta love
Natural Selection…

just thought of something else …

– Last Updated: Mar-08-10 9:31 AM EST –

...... Texas grrl , re-reading your OP again I see you will be wanting to take your dog along when you can .

Many times I have read about others who bring their pups along too . Many of these folks have gotten PFD's for their dogs as well .

As usual conditions and circumstances vary in opinion as to the pups need for a PFD , but I thought I should bring it up for your consideration . Maybe others will chime in and expand a little on this ??

I would also make a guess that now owning your own boat ... your horizons and degrees of risk assessments will gradually increase since you have more flexability as to places to paddle and discover ... that's generally how it works out as time elapses .

Have fun , enjoy , and be safe but not overly timid about new waters and challanges ... it's a big world (of water out there , all kinds and all very different enviroments , all very exciting and wonderous) :-)

I've had many conversations with puppy dogs , and they have all been unanimous on one count ... they LOVE to go exploring too ... great partners on the journey I'd say !!

I think
She got the point.

Happy, safe, paddling Texas-grrl.