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Old 10-12-2015, 08:51 PM   #21
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Would I rely on an inflatable if I was going offshore? No way. I'd have a good quality offshore PFD that would hold my head up, keep my body heat in. That setting is not what inflatables were designed for.
I singlehand our 40' sailboat regularly. I always wear a harness/ inflatable unit anytime I'm outside the cockpit, and sometimes in the cockpit when the weather gets up. I carry a whistle, mirror, and a PLB in the pockets. More for the harness than the PFD. I've got a series of jack lines and eyes to make it easier, and I wear a double tether.

We actually have the same rule when out together. Anyone leaving the cockpit wears a harness/ inflatable except the boy, who is legally required, and he wears his dinghy sailing PFD.

Offshore, I generally use the same harness / inflatable unit just because it's a bit more comfortable than my straight webbing harness with just a T-shirt. But I have no illusions that it's worth anything if i go over. Beyond helicopter range it's just to keep my remains afloat for closure, as I consider any PFD to be in those circumstances.

I almost went overboard one night late when I was getting ready to come back in the harbor. I was opening the gate and placing the fenders when a sneaker hit broadside and I was headed straight through the gate I just opened. Luckily I managed to tangle myself in the lifeline on my way through and didn't fall in. Ever since then I ways clip in, even for the seeming innocuous tasks like kicking over the fenders. I figured I could make the swim, but the boat would have been on the rocks.

I'm not sure what we'll do when we get a powerboat. Of all the ones I've looked at so far, not one of them had provisions for jack lines.
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Old 10-12-2015, 09:05 PM   #22
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In response to everyone thinking about inflatables.

Have any one of you actually gone over with one? Have you tried one out?


I did. I was disgusted with how it floated me (unless you like to do the backstroke and pinch your nose).

It is a GREAT benefit if you go overboard with nothing else on. But they are not the same as a head up life preserver. Try it. You may be surprised. I use three types depending upon season.

The inflatable is only summer /inshore use for me. The absolute most useless types are the waist inflatable packs. Nothing like having a inflated horseshoe dangling off your hip sideways.
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Old 10-12-2015, 09:17 PM   #23
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I have tried mine to get the feel of it, I would much prefer to have my neoprene vest if I wind up in the water. That said, my primary concern is if I'm knocked out in the process of going over. I don't have much body fat and sink like a stone, just need something to keep me afloat till I regained consciousness. If my boats gonna sink I'll Gumby UP.
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Old 10-12-2015, 09:22 PM   #24
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Have any one of you actually gone over with one? Have you tried one out? I did.
Good!
When I posted this, I was hoping there would be some real testimonials.
With them being rechargeable, I think I would have wasted the initial fill right away as a test, just to see ho they did or didn't work.
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Old 10-12-2015, 09:36 PM   #25
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I was actually suspicious of the aspirin pill used as the trigger.
It shot off like a rocket. Sort of removed the worry about the 'if'. But the how is what is dumb. Yeah, I know the "if it wasn't worn, it would be useless" but I was surprised at how low I floated in it. I think I was floating around my ears deep. If the weather (in the pool) was rough I would have been spitting water out my nose to keep my breath. Granted, I'm fat. No excuses. But a Stearns wearable work vest floats me head up, and is almost as comfortable as a WestMarine inflatable. The real wake up call here is to actually go and TRY out your inflatable in the water. The results may surprise you what you expect versus what you find out! They sell a recharge kit. Its cost is worth the education.
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Old 10-12-2015, 09:53 PM   #26
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They sell a recharge kit. Its cost is worth the education.
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Old 10-12-2015, 09:55 PM   #27
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Testing in a pool is a waste of a cylinder. I flopped off the boat in 2-3 foot "Buzzards Bay" , Does what I expected, although I did release the strap and remove it before reboarding. It may be that some are not comfortable in the water and the constricted movement makes being in the water even more unnerving. I routinely go swimming offshore and am at home in the water.
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Old 10-12-2015, 10:00 PM   #28
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Testing in a pool is a waste of a cylinder. I flopped off the boat in 2-3 foot "Buzzards Bay" , Does what I expected, although I did release the strap and remove it before reboarding. r.
How did your face end up when you relaxed? Mine was about ear level. I only hope I am conscious when I enter the water.
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Old 10-12-2015, 10:17 PM   #29
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I would consider the position somewhat unnatural, good visibility right and left and a little strain to look straight forward. That said , once you relax it is very acceptable. Keep in mind as I said previously, I'm lean 6 ft 170.
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Old 10-12-2015, 10:20 PM   #30
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In response to everyone thinking about inflatables.

Have any one of you actually gone over with one? Have you tried one out?
Cappy, if you saw my earlier post, you'll know my answer.
Yes, I've tested everything I wear. I want to know "THAT" it works, "HOW" it works, and any issues it may create.

You'll also note that I have several types. I base my usage on the operation and the weather/sea conditions, not the time of year.

We teach various forms of self rescue, as well as PFD usage in one of our courses.

I'm ok with the inflatable for what I use it for.
For anything serious or prolonged, I want something else
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Old 10-13-2015, 08:24 AM   #31
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Have any one of you actually gone over with one? Have you tried one out?

I did. I was disgusted with how it floated me (unless you like to do the backstroke and pinch your nose).

The inflatable is only summer /inshore use for me. The absolute most useless types are the waist inflatable packs. Nothing like having a inflated horseshoe dangling off your hip sideways.
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Good!
When I posted this, I was hoping there would be some real testimonials.
With them being rechargeable, I think I would have wasted the initial fill right away as a test, just to see ho they did or didn't work.

Yes, we've tried ours. The neck collar inflates, worked well enough. Not for offshore, but quite serviceable for intended use. Probably useful to shop exact models.

I wear belt packs often, but that's more generally for dinghy use. And one has to have ingrained the correct method to get the sucker more completely on and inflated if one is in the water. Ditto serviceable for our use... but YMMV.

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Old 10-13-2015, 10:41 AM   #32
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Probably useful to shop exact models.
I think exact people in exact models of vests. That is one of the problems. It's a problem with anything in one size fits all or even two or three sizes fit all. We have people of all sizes and shapes on our boats and that's without even considering the kids. I'm almost 6'5" but relatively slim build. It's not going to fit me the same as a man who weighs 300 lbs. Then as to women we have females who range from very thin 5'0" and under 100 pounds, A cup, to 6' tall to 5'9" and DDD.
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