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Old 02-28-2021, 04:10 PM   #1
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3 best PFDs?

So I have a PFD that is at least 20 years old and is not comfortable to wear. Maybe because I’m twice the size of the PO.

So I asked my young bride, who is really a cheapskate, about getting a new set. To my surprise she said yes.

So I asked her a few questions.

Do you want it to automatically inflate? Yes.
Do you want it to hold your head above water in case you go over as a result of being boinked in the head? Yes.
Do you want a gps locator attached so the USCG can find you? Yes.

So for more background, we do travel in the open water off the New Jersey shore and through Block Island Sound during the migration, so she is correct, and it’s not overkill.

Suggestions for 3 best models that fit our needs?

Thanks.
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Old 02-28-2021, 04:29 PM   #2
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Old 02-28-2021, 04:33 PM   #3
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Simi,

Well you obviously had more coffee than I have today.

Thanks for correction
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Old 02-28-2021, 04:39 PM   #4
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We have a set of Revere inflatable vests we bought from Defender on sale for $100 each that we wear anytime underway. Fairly comfortable. We bought recharge kits and tried them out one day. They inflate in about one second. We do not have individual PLBs. Whistle, mirror, and flashlights on a lanyard tucked under the flap of the vest.
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Old 02-28-2021, 07:15 PM   #5
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I have inflatable PFDs that were private labeled for West Marine. My recommendation is to try them on for 5 minutes in the store to see how comfortable they will be when wearing them for hours. Mine have PLB (personal locator beacon, EPIRB) on a lanyard, self activating strobe, and a whistle.

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Old 02-28-2021, 07:26 PM   #6
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Hi PMF1948,

I use WEST MARINE non-auto hydrostatic vests, but that's simply my preference. As OC Diver suggests, there are several available.

In addition, I also have several Mustang Survival inflatable PFDs aboard, also non-hydrostatic versions.

https://mustangsurvival.com/collections/inflatable-pfds

Great stuff, not free.

Regards,

Pete

ps-remember, it's possible to "what if" yourself into the poor house by adding perceived must-have features to simple items such as PFDs. I believe 99% of the intrinsic value of inflatable PFDs lies in their comfort and ease of use. Other features such as auto-inflate, PLBs, whistles, mirrors, tethers and other "stuff" that some chose to encumber themselves with actually defeat the purpose, as the PFSs become so maintenance intensive, inconvenient, and expensive that people simply don't wear them.
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Old 02-28-2021, 07:30 PM   #7
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We bought 2 at WMP. We wanted to try them on before we bought otherwise we wouldn’t have gone to WMP. We got ones that are auto inflatable and have a harness. I had to add some velcro for a strobe and the PLB. I do not understand why any manufacturer of PFDs would not have a location for them by default. And the ones we bought were not the cheap ones, they were about $250 each. Add in the PLB and strobe we are in over $500 each but what is your life worth to you. I used to see people buy the cheap D cell light for the PFD. I would ask them why they bought the crappy light, they said that the light was a deal since it was so cheap. I would ask them what their life was worth to them, a pause and they usually said they would get a quality strobe.
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Old 02-28-2021, 07:41 PM   #8
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When selecting a PFD, remember there inshore and coastal versions.
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Old 03-01-2021, 07:33 AM   #9
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PFD’s only work if you wear them. We have all combinations of manual, automatic and “orange old style” on board - however we never wear them. What we actually wear are the simple waist belt style manual PFD’s You have to put the neck band over your head as/after it inflates so gotta be conscious. The positive is they are so small, light & comfortable, we wear them much more frequently & always in the dinghy.
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Old 03-01-2021, 11:53 AM   #10
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The best PFD is the one you wear.


Take your bride to a local shop. While wearing your foul weather gear, see how easy it is to put one on and move around for a bit. Buy the one that fits best. If it's a tie, go with the better-quality one. I'm not aware of anyone who, after going overboard, said a cheaper PFD would have been "just as good."
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Old 03-01-2021, 01:55 PM   #11
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When considering comfort of a PFD, consider comfort in the water, not just on the boat.

Many of them without a crotch strap will ride high and cut into your armpits. Some of the crotch straps are poorly designed and could cause damage to important parts of the body.
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Old 03-01-2021, 03:23 PM   #12
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Have spinlock, Mustang, immersion suits and float coats. All have double crotch straps so not near the family jewels. Use auto hydrostatics after having a paper fuse fire off while putting on a snubber during a rainy day. Scared the crap out of me and strained my neck.
But my overall favorite is a non inflatable Baltic. Totally comfy. Nothing on my neck. Good crotch straps and has pockets. Also great attachment for a harness.
Buy commercial gear when you can. Recreational gear isn’t as well made and is usually overpriced.
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Old 03-01-2021, 03:56 PM   #13
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Do you happen to know which model Baltic you have? I am ready for an upgrade and know from the past that I don't really like the inflatables (I know most people do, but they bug my neck).

In the past on the sailboat we mostly wore just a harness and clipped in (had inflatable PFD's for sometimes), but now I'd like to wear a PFD on the regular and am interested in which non-inflatable you went with.
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Old 03-01-2021, 04:23 PM   #14
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https://www.baltic.se/en/industrial/.../baltic-pilot/

Have a earlier version but this one now. Bought it on sale. I think from team one Newport or maybe in the French islands. Don’t remember.
Bought a spinlock because stated to be easier on your neck but found the Baltic even better. Think spinlock still not CG approved but it’s a fine product imho.
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Old 03-01-2021, 04:55 PM   #15
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Thanks - that one looks good (and/or at least gives me a starting point).

Edit: I put in US/Seattle and the closest two retailers showed up as Japan and Portugal (tho I see they have dealers in the UK). So maybe a bit of a challenge in the US. Darn.
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Old 03-02-2021, 06:45 AM   #16
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"The Pilot also has lifting beckets incorporated in the shoulder straps"


A worthy idea on any vest , especially if you have thought out a system to lift a person unable to help on board.
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Old 03-07-2021, 04:48 PM   #17
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Thanks for all the input.

I guess my first criteria is one that will keep my head above water. So that looks like a Type I.
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Old 03-08-2021, 03:22 PM   #18
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A quick google search will come up with lots of "interesting" models, with built in PFD's!


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Old 03-08-2021, 09:51 PM   #19
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I replaced my mustang with a Crew Saver ErgoFit+ - really like it. My wife has the Spinlock Deckvest 6d - I like the lights on hers better (it illuminates the bladders) but I like the "buckle" on mine vs the slip through closure on hers. If we are not at dock fully tied up, buoy, or anchor, we both wear them with the crotch straps - so comfort is pretty huge in picking them.

Wife is small, but the Deckvest Lite doesn't have the spray hood or many of the other things we would add to the 6D, so we just got the 6D and it's still pretty light. Hers is 170N and mine is 290N so hard to say how like-like would weigh. Went with the 170N to make hers a little lighter.

Both vests have PLB, AIS MOB, and lights inside and a VHF with DSC on the outside. If we go in the water, people will know.
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Old 03-08-2021, 09:54 PM   #20
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Quote:
Originally Posted by FF View Post
"The Pilot also has lifting beckets incorporated in the shoulder straps"


A worthy idea on any vest , especially if you have thought out a system to lift a person unable to help on board.
I think all serious life jackets should have lifting rings even if you don't have a lift system. If you have a throw rope (which you should) and the MOB is fortunate enough to be conscious, the first thing that they should do is connect the throw rope carbineer to their PFD. Having the MOB securely tethered to the boat gives you a lot more choices. It doesn't have to be pretty.
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