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Old 12-27-2016, 10:40 AM   #1
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life Jacket

Would like some recommendations on which life jacket I should get. We have a 36 albin and plan on doing a lot of cruising in the very near future. Thank you for your input
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Old 12-27-2016, 10:50 AM   #2
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Kevin the answer is likely to be akin to what kind of underwear do you prefer. We where fond of the inflatable ones from West Marine. One caveat though is they must be properly worn at all times to be counted in the event of a CG boarding/inspection.
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Old 12-27-2016, 11:19 AM   #3
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Not so much what kind, but "how many"
For Kayaking, I use the inflatable, but not automatic.
For dinghy trips, I may use the inflatable, but weather will put a full pfd at the front of the list, or even a Cruiser jacket.
On the rescue boat, I prefer the full cruiser suit, unless it is really too hot out, then I dress down a little, to the inflatable that automatically inflates.

On the trawler I hardly ever see the need to go outside in cruddy weather, where, if I do go outside, I will be wearing the Cruiser jacket. In the summer sunshine, if it is rough out, I will be wearing the inflatable. Other times, shorts and a t-shirt.

Your 36 Albin has high rails and slow speed, so I suspect your outside conditions will steer you towards a similar approach.
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Old 12-27-2016, 11:27 AM   #4
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Don't buy the cheap ones, they just don't have enough flotation to roll you face up. Buy commercial rated or SOLAS rated jackets. One for each person you expect to have aboard.

In addition I suggest you buy inflatables to wear when you are in a small boat or dinghy. It's hard to store life jackets on a small boat, so buy ones you'll actually wear. Try them on before you buy.

Mustang is a good brand of inflatable.
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Old 12-27-2016, 11:33 AM   #5
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Keith, what is a cruiser jacket?
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Old 12-27-2016, 11:37 AM   #6
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Keith, what is a cruiser jacket?
Mustang "Cruiser Class". Full jacket, long sleeves, hood, whistle, zipper pockets.
Designed to get worn, and it does.
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Old 12-27-2016, 01:23 PM   #7
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Mustang "Cruiser Class". Full jacket, long sleeves, hood, whistle, zipper pockets.
Designed to get worn, and it does.
Got it. Jacket keeps you warm and floats.
Don't get to wear those down here, it rarely gets cold enough.
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Old 12-27-2016, 02:03 PM   #8
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Got it. Jacket keeps you warm and floats.
Don't get to wear those down here, it rarely gets cold enough.
Used quite regularly up on the Great Lakes during spring and fall sail boat racing season.
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Old 12-27-2016, 03:21 PM   #9
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I have one Sterns and one Mustang bomber jacket for spring and fall in NJ. Revere inflatables for FL and summer in NJ.
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Old 12-27-2016, 10:22 PM   #10
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I wore switlck products for 30 plus years and 12000 hours of offshore flying.
When fishing my former boss required vests be worn any time the big motor was running.
He had gone "swimming" 3 times via helicopters.
We also went to annual HEUT training. Wear the PFD! You'll get used to it.
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Old 12-28-2016, 07:11 AM   #11
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Off topic warning:

High Wire are you on the move?
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Old 12-28-2016, 07:24 AM   #12
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Just wear the small inflatable above decks when solo. No harm to your ran
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Old 12-28-2016, 07:30 AM   #13
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Kevin the answer is likely to be akin to what kind of underwear do you prefer. We where fond of the inflatable ones from West Marine. One caveat though is they must be properly worn at all times to be counted in the event of a CG boarding/inspection.
Not necessarily. Some inflatables qualify even if you're not wearing them. I don't know why this is, but it's true. Check each brand to see. I don't remember the brand I bought but they qualify even when not worn and I have the documentation to prove it.

I bought the ones that are inflated by pulling a cord, not the automatic ones. A friend got splashed on his boat and his life jacket inflated.


BTW: Since most of us are on trawlers, it's important to know to not wear your PFD when inside the cabin unless it's a manually operated, uninflated inflatable. An inflated PFD could make it difficult to exit a sinking closed cabin.
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Old 12-28-2016, 10:36 AM   #14
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WesK, the inflatables you refer to are actually hybrid inflatable / foam life jackets.
They have enough inherent floatation to qualify as a type III without the need to inflate them. They are more bulky than a true inflatable.

True inflatables only count, according to the USCG, if you're wearing them.

The high end inflatables use a hydrostatic inflator that won't go off if it just gets wet. It actually has to be submerges a couple of inches. It's pretty rare for the other kind to go off by accident as well.
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Old 12-28-2016, 11:57 AM   #15
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We have a set of 4 standard PFDs on board that stay in the emergency locker in the Pilothouse. We also have a throwable located on the aft swimstep (we have another as well in the cockpit but will likely move it). We also have 4 inflatables.

We use the inflatables a lot. They are all automatic. They are stored in a drawer in the salon but get pulled out as part of our embarking ritual. We normally only have just 2-3 folks on board. When we have 5 on board (which is rare) we do have a problem since we don't wear the inflatable inside the boat normally. This makes us non-compliant since they aren't approved unless worn. I intend to put a couple vests on board for that reason.

I should look at those "cruiser jackets". I used to have "float coats" for sailing which were nice. Unfortunately, I was skinny then and they no longer fit.

Edit: If someone has any specific recommendations as to the model/style of jacket I would appreciate it. There are a number to choose from. I would be using it at times such as this coming weekend, cold, wet, windy. I need the warmth when out on deck as well as the flotation. I want something that is going to be comfortable to wear so I will grab it instead of my normal jacket or rain gear that I then have to throw a pfd over it.
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Old 12-28-2016, 12:10 PM   #16
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High Wire are you on the move?
Kind of.
Ft Myers city marina for last two weeks. Then heading east to Ft Pierce next week.
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Old 12-28-2016, 04:28 PM   #17
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Agree, have worn the bobbin type inflatables in pouring rain and heavy spray, along with other crewmembers, we never had an auto inflate other than full immersion.

Can it happen? I would think so, just like being hit by a meteorite or lighning.

Have had 3 autoinflate by themselves in a dry but very humid cabin, usually after 18 months of age on the bobbins.
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Old 12-28-2016, 08:29 PM   #18
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Here is my 2 cents......
I have 10 PFD's on my boat. When I was ready to make the initially purchase, I thought that spending $400 plus bucks for the PFD's was way too much money - then I thought what would I be thinking if we needed to use the PFD's and we were floating in the drink wearing a $6 PDF----- I immediately spent the big bucks. Also, I pre fit my Captain's and mine and labeled hers/his so there is hopefully less confusion when the sh-t hits the fan. Also, I keep (2) on the fly bridge pre fit and labeled.
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