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Old 12-24-2016, 11:39 AM   #1
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Life jackets, a different perspective

Wearing a lifejacket – it's a judgement call
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Old 12-24-2016, 12:35 PM   #2
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On a trawler, judgement.
On a sailboat, always when reefed, always at night.
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Old 12-24-2016, 01:27 PM   #3
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Can't. Bill: A good perspective. I learned to swim the same time I learned to walk (so I was told). We spent six months a year on a lake and my parents thought that was the easiest way to keep me from drowning. This was also before seat belts in cars.

When we did our big trip, after dark you wore your PFD and were clipped in. On Hobo we don't wear them. On night passages the pilot house doors are shut and we don't go on the foredeck or on the fly bridge. Our PFDs are readily acsessable and not buried in a locker.

I'm curious to hear from others.
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Old 12-24-2016, 02:20 PM   #4
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Our boat is our second home. I don't wear a PFD when in the house at home and we don't wear them when on on boat either.

When going out on the foredeck with its nice railings we do not wear them. When in the cockpit we do not wear them.

When I have to go out on the swim step I put a PFD on unless we are anchor'd back in a cove.

In the skiff I wear a PFD, but I don't think it is critical, just habit.

At home (we live on a lake) We don't wear pfd's when in the open kayaks, or on the stand up surf boards, or the pontoon boat. We do wear them when riding the PWC's. (Yes we still ride PWC's in our 50's... we even bought new faster ones after the kids moved out)
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Old 12-24-2016, 04:42 PM   #5
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Life jacket success rates (whether inflatable or hard) are dependent upon where, what, how and when.

On one vessel I mandate use by all when working near or over the side.

On another I wear an inflatable when operating alone, at night, and in rough weather when going outside the cabin.

Setting the example usually sets the tone for PFD usage. "Do as I say, not as I do" is difficult (if not impossible) to remedy once habits form.

When operating in ANY weather the use of flotation will be decided by preparation as opposed to remedy. Once you slip, get whacked or fall there is rarely a PFD in reach. And if by chance someone sees you, or you are unconscious a 'tossed' PFD is useless to one in the water.
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Old 12-24-2016, 05:53 PM   #6
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The problem is particularly on small boats where most people who drown were not wearing PFD. So the coat Guard( advises) that PFDs be used particularly on smaller boats and when possible on the decks of larger boats and always on children who are not below. It is a good policy unfortunately like smoking there are people who feel it is there god given right to take the risk. I think a lot of those people are short a few cells between their ears because they have little concept or care for the cost to society and others around them when the poop hits the fan. When the CG goes out looking for people who have gone overboard it increases the risk to the CG crew looking for someone not floating with a PFD dead or alive. It also costs us all more tax money and I bet the same people who rail against PFDs don't like paying more taxes.
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Old 12-24-2016, 05:56 PM   #7
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At our age(s); mid 70's, we felt it prudent to wear them. Have the auto inflatables. Underway they are on; in the dink, they are on. At anchor, or in the cabin, they are off. We've been doing this for awhile, so much so that it is sort of second nature now. Only takes a second for something to go wrong. Frankly, I don't swim all that well, so I figured why not wear the things.
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Old 12-24-2016, 06:24 PM   #8
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On our Sea Ray we never wear PFD's except when we go through the locks, and only there because USACE mandates them for anyone on the outside of the boat. We have inflatables that go on as we enter the lock and come off when we're exiting.


When we have young kids on the Sea Ray (which is seldom) they must wear one when they're outside the cabin.


When we're in the dinghies we use inflatables. They only count as PFD's (one PFD per person on the boat) if they are worn so we just keep them on all the time. We prefer the inflatables because they're so much smaller and easier to store. If we weren't required to wear them on the dinghy we wouldn't.
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Old 12-24-2016, 06:47 PM   #9
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I find Novak's rant a bit over the top and really do not observe what he's saying where we boat. I find most people on substantial boats in day time, good conditions don't wear jackets. The exceptions are those who are most comfortable wearing inflatables at all times.

We don't wear them in normal cruising, but then we don't do single handing, we don't wander around on the deck at night by ourselves. Life jackets are part of an overall safety approach. If conditions get bad, then everyone puts one on. Now, on smaller boats and open boats like center consoles I still see them worn less than they should be. I believe on those boats kids should wear them at all times and adults most of the time. Take a 17' skiff out into the ocean and they need to be worn. I don't wear them kayaking in warm water and kayaking is a bit of an extension of swimming, and we don't kayak alone. Cold water and I'd definitely wear them.

For those who choose to wear them when not needed, I see no problem with that. So, the only problem remaining is those who are out in 10' waves without them, those on the decks alone at night, and those in smaller exposed craft who choose not to wear them.
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Old 12-24-2016, 06:51 PM   #10
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If you want to prevent boating related drownings, don't let people go out on boats.

If your not going to prevent me from drowning, then please allow me as an adult, to choose where and when I will wear a pfd outside of a government facility (lock), charter boat or school, and any other place where somebody else may be held liable for my demise resulting from no pfd. Wearing one inside my boat is absurd. Wearing one while eating dinner on the back deck at anchor is equally absurd. Should I be allowed to walk down a floating dock without wearing one? If you lack the common sense to know when you should be wearing one, you probably shouldn't be running a boat.

Can you imagine everyone who goes out on deck or their stateroom balcony of a cruise ship, being required to wear one?

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Old 12-24-2016, 07:09 PM   #11
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Cape Horn without a PFD:

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Old 12-24-2016, 09:36 PM   #12
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Wearing a PFD is not mandated but common sense should rule. It is like drinking and the relationship to driving except driving also endangers others along with self. There are times when it makes sense to don a PFD and times when it is overkill. Highly suggested PFD times small open boats-high speed boats -personal WC-on deck on a sail boat-on deck on a boat experiencing wake-involved in disembarking during docking-children on docks or decks or cockpit-people who have balance issues like some elderly folks- when a male type boater hangs over the rail to wiz-during tow procedures-any time there is a potential boat distress situation there may be others. No not while you are on the head unless you left the boat on autopilot and it hits a ferry.
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Old 12-25-2016, 12:44 AM   #13
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Under normal, mild conditions, unless single-handed, I don't usually wear a PFD on deck.

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Old 12-25-2016, 02:01 AM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by BandB View Post
I find Novak's rant a bit over the top and really do not observe what he's saying where we boat. I find most people on substantial boats in day time, good conditions don't wear jackets. The exceptions are those who are most comfortable wearing inflatables at all times.


......



For those who choose to wear them when not needed, I see no problem with that. So, the only problem remaining is those who are out in 10' waves without them, those on the decks alone at night, and those in smaller exposed craft who choose not to wear them.

I agree. While to some extent I agree with the author, I think the attitude which comes across in the article is piss poor.

I have grown up on boats in cold water. As a kid I always wore a life jacket when sailing in small dinghies and so did my folks. It isn't a bother and it drastically improves safety. On our larger sailboats the use of a PFD was entirely situation dependent. Once the wind would get up a fresh breeze, a PFD was put on anytime someone would leave the cockpit. Generally this meant we just kept them on since when sailing actively you might need to go on deck at any time. If we were sailing short handed, or with non-sailor visitors, we all had PFDs on while under way. No big deal.

When motoring, we would generally not wear a PFD in the cockpit if it was just my wife and I and we would put them on when going forward, docking or anchoring. Again, easy to do and a it adds a huge safety margin. When singlehanding, I tried very hard to make sure I had a PFD on at all times, and as I got smarter with age I started to use a PFD with a harness and jack lines when single handing.

Now with "Kinship", it is just my wife and I most of the time. We try to use PFDs when docking and when out on the deck such as anchoring. The rest of the time we don't unless the weather is rough and we need to go up to the fly bridge or forward to the bow. We use them in the dinghy. Again, we are in cold water most of the time.

So, I certainly am not one to suggest that everyone should wear a PFD all the time but smart boaters that I see wear them when they have exposure to the risk of going overboard.
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Old 12-25-2016, 06:29 AM   #15
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It is my belief that the wearing of a PFD is not a one size fits all type of discussion.

As adults we do not wear ours when we are on the boat. The last time I put one on was at 0230 during Hurricane Hermine when we abandoned our boat for the dinghy to get to shore.

If we are moving around the boat while we are underway then we announce where we are going so if we are not at the expected location moments later we can start looking.

For the kids (10 and 12) they wear life jackets when operating the dinghy or when out fishing in the 12 year old's bass boat.

I'll never knock somebody for wearing one though.
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Old 12-25-2016, 09:01 AM   #16
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Life jackets, a different perspective

We wear our PFD only when outside of the pilot house if passing locks, if cruising off shore under rough conditions or at night. Lifebelt picked to lifeline at night or under really rough conditions.
Sometimes we wear PFD also when docking e.g. in a commercial harbor with high traffic volume.
If not wearing PFD they are always handy, not stored away. And they are always prepared / adjusted before leaving the dock e.g. if guests came on board.
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Old 12-25-2016, 09:38 AM   #17
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We don't normally wear ours but will put them on as conditions require. A trawler is a bit different from a runabout.
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Old 12-25-2016, 10:34 AM   #18
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Cape Horn without a PFD:

You are quite the rebel!
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Old 12-25-2016, 11:44 AM   #19
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You are quite the rebel!
Wifey B: What do you expect from an old Coot?

Well, a disloyal Coot on a cruise ship.

He does know what he likes and doesn't though and in many ways is a rebel, just of a different type.
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Old 12-25-2016, 11:50 AM   #20
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I grew up spending time on the lake and in runabouts and never wore a PFD. I thought of them as dreaded and hated and just for kids, which I never was. My wife would never have worn something so unfashionable.

However, when we moved to the coast that changed. We understood an increased level of risk and a responsibility to our guests. We don't wear them on most days, but when we feel the situation requires we definitely do and when we see teenagers in small open boats without them, we think of teen lives lost recently. The other thing we do at all times is have them very accessible and all on board know where they are and how to put them on and know if the "captain" says to put them on, you do so immediately.
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