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Thread: Life vest replacement

  1. #1
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    Default Life vest replacement

    My mustang inflatable is getting pretty ratty and I used my last (bloody expensive) spare recharge. I happened to be looking at an R2AK video and saw the guys wearing fixed vests (or whatever you call the ones which have foam flotation). I kinda like the idea of going this way. Pretty idiot proof and that definately applies to me.

    Anyone using a fixed vest? If so, how's the comfort quotient?

    Can you get one with an integrated tether harness?

    If yes on harness, do you need the thigh straps? The pics I have seen don't show them.

  2. #2
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    I had on my old West Marine inflatable a couple of years ago when I deliberately swamped my skerry. That thing is HUGE when it's inflated. It made it essentially impossible to get back in the boat, though it for sure would float me for hours and keep my head above water.

    In the Bay, I'm thinking that a foam-flotation, dinghy-style jacket might be better than an inflatable.

    I've never seen one with a harness, thought the Mustang float-coats used to have them.

    Kayaking lifejackets generally work pretty well with chest harnesses.
    Last edited by AlanH; 02-09-2020 at 09:34 PM.
    S-2 7.9: "Wildcat of Loch Awe"
    1968 Selmer Series 9 B-flat and A clarinets
    Piper One Design 24, Hull #35; "Alpha"

  3. #3
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    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by AlanH View Post
    I had on my old West Marine inflatable a couple of years ago when I deliberately swamped my skerry. That thing is HUGE when it's inflated. It made it essentially impossible to get back in the boat, though it for sure would float me for hours and keep my head above water.

    In the Bay, I'm thinking that a foam-flotation, dinghy-style jacket might be better than an inflatable.

    I've never seen one with a harness, thought the Mustang float-coats used to have them.

    Kayaking lifejackets generally work pretty well with chest harnesses.
    Yes, looking around I have found a number of comfortable looking jackets but no integrated harness. I guess I'll have to select a seperate harness if I go this route. Adds some complexity, unfortunately. I wonder if thigh staps are necessary?

  4. #4
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    Oct 2007
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    The only one I've found is from Salus marine.
    http://www.salusmarine.com/?products=coastal
    They don't sell them in the USA but Fogh Marine in Canada has them.
    https://www.foghboatsupplies.com

  5. #5
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    Default

    What rules does the fixed floatation PFD meet? Inshore? Offshore has certain specific requirement, does this meet that?

  6. #6
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    In a post last June, Jonathan noted that the Salus coastal had 69N of flotation. NorCalORC (OYRA etc.) requires 100N for a non-inflatable; LongPac and SHTP require 150N. Only a bulky Type 1 could get close to that. For inside the Bay I'd consider that Salus, especially if you want to clip in sometimes.

    I don't trust the inflatables and would love to see a hydrid PFD developed that meets all the rules. In the meantime, somebody needs to provide some leadership, focus on this issue and adjust the rules to fit the available products. SSS used to have a safety committee that was great at dealing with this stuff, but it gave all that over to NorCalORC who then gave it all over to US Sailing. Now SSS just blindly complies (oops, semi-rant).

    Regarding the need for thigh straps, I'd jump in the water with it and see if it wants to go right up over your head like the stock inflatables. If so, I'd add thigh straps.
    .
    Last edited by BobJ; 02-12-2020 at 09:18 AM.

  7. #7
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    attaching thigh straps to any lifejacket is a matter of sewing them on. For thigh straps to keep a jacket from floating over your head...not a harness....just the jacket, you don't need a bazillion pounds of strength. An hour spent with a needle and thread and some webbing will do it.

    But that's just to keep the flotation on, not keep you tethered to the boat.

    A little conversion table.

    1 lbs = 4.44822 newtons, call it 4.45 N

    15 lbs = 66.72332 newtons

    20 lbs = 88.96443 newtons

    the typical inshore lifejacket, the kayaking lifejackets are usually 16 pounds of flotation, or 71.2 Newtons.....that is, not nearly enough to satisfy any race requirements.

    If NorCalORC (OYRA etc.) requires 100N for a non-inflatable, then that means it would have to have 22-23 pounds of flotation.

    150 Newtons means 33 pounds of flotation.

    Even "Float Coats" -https://www.onyxoutdoor.com/p/deluxe-flotation-jacket-with-arcticshield-technology-hood?pp=24

    for example, only have 16 pounds of flotation.

    the Mustang Survival float coat - https://www.westmarine.com/buy/musta...14?recordNum=1 ....16 pounds of flotation.

    Even these...https://www.westmarine.com/buy/stear...11?recordNum=3

    commercial jackets are 22 pounds of flotation.

    Requiring 33 pounds of floation FORCES...basically....FORCES us to use inflatable lifejackets.
    S-2 7.9: "Wildcat of Loch Awe"
    1968 Selmer Series 9 B-flat and A clarinets
    Piper One Design 24, Hull #35; "Alpha"

  8. #8
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    It's one thing to climb into a liferaft with an inflatable lifejacket that's full with gas. It's hard but it's doable. Been there, done that in a swimming pool, anyway.

    And maybe if you have a Moore 24 or an Ultimate 20 with a cut-out transom... any smaller keelboat with a cutout transom, you can wiggle yourself back in

    but I challenge ANYBODY to inflate a fully-inflatable lifejacket and climb aboard any boat that has any freeboard. If you have etriers slung over the side, then you have a chance. Otherwise? No effing way.

    BTW, what's an etrier?



    Basically it's a poly or nylon climbing ladder. You can buy them...I made mine. I have two. When I go outside the Golden Gate, alone, I have one on each side of the boat...and my boat even has a stern ladder on the transom.
    S-2 7.9: "Wildcat of Loch Awe"
    1968 Selmer Series 9 B-flat and A clarinets
    Piper One Design 24, Hull #35; "Alpha"

  9. #9
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    This lifejacket... A Stearns commercial jacket, which includes a collar to float your head.

    https://www.westmarine.com/buy/west-...3?recordNum=20

    22 pounds of buoyancy. all of the Safety at Sea lifesaving stuff focuses on crewed boats, or the scenario where a small woman has to rescue her much-larger companion from out of the water. It's ALL about the LifeSling. I don't hate the LifeSling, I've got one, too....but a LifeSling is totally useless for a singlehandeer...obviously.

    I'd suggest a significant re-write of the SHTP rules and LongPac rules in terms of flotation and "getting back on the boat" issues.

    IMHO focusing on the "pounds of buoyancy" or "Newtons of buoyancy" is a big mistake. If one of us goes in the water, we have to get back on the boat within an hour, maybe two hours or it's Game Over. Whatever flotation device we have MUST allow us to climb back aboard the boat, and the boat MUST have provisions set up for getting back onboard.

    Having a lifejacket which will float the dead body for a week kind of doesn't really matter.
    Last edited by AlanH; 02-12-2020 at 12:39 PM.
    S-2 7.9: "Wildcat of Loch Awe"
    1968 Selmer Series 9 B-flat and A clarinets
    Piper One Design 24, Hull #35; "Alpha"

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