Wear your life vest

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Knowing how to swim is a survival skill and I can tell you from expierence it is easier to swim WITHOUT a life vest... But this assumes you are able to do so.
If you, for example, get knocked out or otherwise disabled.. You may not be able to swim. But if you are alive, well and able. once you are stable in the water.
Well. I took the vest off and TOWED it to shore. (I was trained to swim one handed so the other hand could tow something.. .or someone, that is in addition to other "2 handed" methods. Both racing and resting strokes.
 
No amount of swimming skill can save you in cold water. In 40 degree water you have about 30 minutes before unconsciousness. Well before that you will experience hypothermia with reduced ability to make meaningful motor movements and experience a reduced decision making ability. At 50 degrees you have about an hour to unconsciousness. A PFD can keep you alive for the time it takes to get rescuers to you. In the worst case it can let rescuers at least find your body for your loved ones.
 
Years ago when I was maybe in my early early 50's was the last time I went water skiing. My only previous experience was once when I was in my 20's. That was behind an old and relatively slow Chris Craft. This time it was behind a relatively fast speed boat. I was doing fine until I lost my balance. Thankfully I was wearing a vest. It happened so fast, I didn't let go of the tow rope. I did an immediate face plant which almost knocked me out. If it wasn't for the jacket, I might not be writing this post.
 
As a young teen (who didn't know how to swim) I fell off of an floating air mattress in water that was over my head. No one was around. I managed to make my way to shore by pushing off of the bottom to grab a gulp of air when I surfaced and then sank again and pushed off of the bottom again repeating the process until I made it to shallow water.

It didn't take me long to learn how to swim after that.

I also insist that the little ones and non-swimmers wear flotation devices when near deep water.

safe travels and all the best.
 
As a child, I was the third of 3 that lived on a 13 ton ketch on the east coast. Family hard and fast rule was that kid wore life jackets unless below or ashore out of sight of water. I was the one that did not make it overboard in those years.
In later years, we had a waterfront home and two children. The rule here was that children did not go past a run of snow fence about 15 yards from the water's edge.
Some time later, the auto inflate PFDs came along. USCG would not approve them. This started a standing disagreement with the USCG officer that had a hand in approving them. He was a class mate and we had always been friends. He felt that they were not reliable. This stayed the ground for years. Finally he got the reports that I had sent that even though less than 100% reliable, they were still more value than the one still in its bag and never used....
I still regularly publish an article in the sail club newsletter that advises all that use these to take the time in February to get them out, inflate the jacket by mouth and then find someone that can weight the CO2 cartridge. In the 20+ years of some of my older ones, I have had 3 cartridges go light.
Matt_C
 
As a child, I was the third of 3 that lived on a 13 ton ketch on the east coast. Family hard and fast rule was that kid wore life jackets unless below or ashore out of sight of water. I was the one that did not make it overboard in those years.
In later years, we had a waterfront home and two children. The rule here was that children did not go past a run of snow fence about 15 yards from the water's edge.
Some time later, the auto inflate PFDs came along. USCG would not approve them. This started a standing disagreement with the USCG officer that had a hand in approving them. He was a class mate and we had always been friends. He felt that they were not reliable. This stayed the ground for years. Finally he got the reports that I had sent that even though less than 100% reliable, they were still more value than the one still in its bag and never used....
I still regularly publish an article in the sail club newsletter that advises all that use these to take the time in February to get them out, inflate the jacket by mouth and then find someone that can weight the CO2 cartridge. In the 20+ years of some of my older ones, I have had 3 cartridges go light.
Matt_C
Never understood the "weighing" of the Co2 cartridges. They're about 3 inches long and a half inch in diameter. Co2 doesn't weigh much of anything in that minuscule amount of space. Here's a thought - replace your Co2 cartridges every year and stop the guessing.
 
Never understood the "weighing" of the Co2 cartridges. They're about 3 inches long and a half inch in diameter. Co2 doesn't weigh much of anything in that minuscule amount of space. Here's a thought - replace your Co2 cartridges every year and stop the guessing.
As far as I know once you install the cartridge in an auto inflate pfd it can't be removed and then reinstalled. In any case they'd lose pressure overtime if the fitment is leaking. Unlike bicycle tire Co2 cartridges which remain sealed until the inflator is attached.
I have one which I only wear in situations where going overboard is highly unlikely ( on a bass boat for example) only because I don't want to pay $20.00 for a new cartridge each time ( kayak, paddle boarding)
 
As far as I know once you install the cartridge in an auto inflate pfd it can't be removed and then reinstalled. In any case they'd lose pressure overtime if the fitment is leaking. Unlike bicycle tire Co2 cartridges which remain sealed until the inflator is attached.
I have one which I only wear in situations where going overboard is highly unlikely ( on a bass boat for example) only because I don't want to pay $20.00 for a new cartridge each time ( kayak, paddle boarding)
I believe you are correct in that once attached it can't be removed and then reattached again. I was more referring to weighing the extra ones that people buy as replacement to make sure they have one available when they need to replace the attached one. Why bother buying extras? Just buy a new one annually. However, the new style sealed cartridges should have many years of shelf life. It's the old style ones that had the beer bottle type cap that leaked. Usually within weeks of filling.
 
The newer Type V are very comfortable to wear and will not interfere with what ever activity you have in mind. A PFD that is not on at the time of need should be stored safely so the rescue people know where to not search for the body.

I have had both surplus Maye West and real type V PFDs in use for more than 25 years. To clear some errors posted here:
None of mine have non-removable CO2 cartridges.
All of these cartridges are hermetically sealed and "should" never leak.
The charge weight of a typical PFD cylinder is 30 grams.
All of the cylinders (cartridges) I have ever seen have a full weight marked on them.
All of mine both military and USCG can have the sealed cartridge removed for weight check.

Most of mine are full in the 140gram region. If less than that, replace it.
When weight checking, write the weight and date on the cartridge.
If it shows visible corrosion, replace it now.

It is also recommend that at least annually you inflate the vest and let it sit for a while to ensure that the structure is still gas tight.

My personal score:
Deployed some of each a total of four times. (Racing small class boats they are great.)
Of nine owned so far, 3 had to be scrapped because they no longer held pressure over night.
Of an uncounted number of cartridges, 4 were discarded when light at a weight check.
Of those that were found light, none had the seal marked at all.
 

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