Strobe recommendations?

I’m looking to pickup a strobe light to strap to my PFD. I’ve found a few options- but, I’m curious as to what people have used and like/not like.

Thanks in advance.


I like this one

1.2"x5.7", 10hrs with lithium AA cell, $40

1.6"x6", 2 AA cells

I like the tek-tite one even though it costs twice as much and isn’t as bright mostly because it’s small enough to always stay in a pfd pocket to be strapped on the outside as needed. The ACR with two cells is brighter but it’s just big enough to be obtrusive in some pfds and be an item you have to chose to take as opposed to always being in the pfd like a whistle.

Back of vests

– Last Updated: Dec-26-08 1:06 PM EST –

If I recall, both of my vests have spots on the back shoulder to mount them to.

Thanks for the post, Lee - I always value your input!
(edit - I sent this to Lee before the other posts.. I appreciate everyone's input!)


– Last Updated: Dec-26-08 11:30 AM EST –

I have the ACR strapped to the back of my left shoulder all the time. I like it for it's low profile, and ACR is a company that I trust with emergency stuff. They've been at it a long time and have a good reputation.

Personally, I don't think any of these lights do much good in a PFD pocket. If you're going to want a strobe flashing, you probably have your hands full with the emergency at hand. Try floating in deep water, fishing around in your full PFD pocket for that strobe (making sure not to lose the flares or other stuff) and attaching it somewhere behind you where it's not blinding you from seeing potential rescuers/hazards. I think you might decide to keep it strapped on after that.

Princeton Tec Aqua Strobe
$35 at NRS. I’ve had mine for years, still works great.

it only works when strapped on as you describe. My reasoning is that the strobe is ALWAYS with the pfd and I can attach it when I anticipate the need. I find that always having the strobe on the strap is something to be worried about if the pfd gets tossed onto hard surfaces.

I like the ACR as well. I personally do not find it too obtrusive or fragile for semi-permanent installation on my PFD shoulder strap, and I leave it on for most of the season.

Regardless what model you go with, I suggest users actually practice activating the light while treading water, to ensure you know how and where to find it back there. Maybe even do this at night so your friends can watch from ashore or their own boats to be sure the light rides where it should. I’ve seen some safety strobes mounted so low on a PFD that they’d be submerged 12-24" in an actual rescue situation.

As with all electronic accessories, it’s smart to remove the batteries during the off season to prevent chemical leaks. I use these ‘old’ batteries in flashlights and TV remotes, where failure isn’t critical, and install fresh batteries in the safety strobe at the beginning of each paddling season.

Good Luck!