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  1. #1
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    PFD/Lifejacket/Vest suggestions ?

    Hi guys

    Because i boat mainly on tight and twisty rivers the chance of hitting something (submerged trees / reeds / shoreline) if you fall off is a real posibility. I have a custom made vest which ive had for a few years which was designed for wakeboarding, its made from neoprene and is +1" thick.

    Im looking to get something for jetskiing. It has to be allowed by the IJSBA and must look good. I would prefer something that has a glove like fit. And i would prefer something thats not bulky.

    Any suggestions ?

    I saw a picture of someone with one that looked like a "starwars storm trooper" / atv chest protector and ive seen vest that had removable sleeves/arms.

    If you can please post pictures.. Im hoping to buy one within the next few days.
    Last edited by spaceman; 11-19-2007 at 04:25 PM.


  2. #2

  3. #3

    High Impact PFDs

    Spaceman, that Lifeline is top of the line but also over $400. I think its designed for speeds over 150mph. I dont know if leg loops are restrictive but they may be for PWC. Id want to know that. If youre going with Lifeline, you may as well get integrated Lifeline chute!

    Ive looked high and low for high impact PFDs. Way2Fst & others recommended a Mustang with a high collar. Just $85 from Landfall Navigation or West Marine. Ive been very happy with it. The high collar is a very nice but rare feature.

    You may want to search around some of the other threads for more ideas. Good luck!

    Fell Off At WOT
    http://www.greenhulk.net/forums/showthread.php?t=31322

    John Abbott
    http://www.greenhulk.net/forums/foru...e=2&order=desc
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    Last edited by Blue 182; 11-19-2007 at 10:50 PM. Reason: Add Links

  4. #4
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    the lifeline looks good, im not into racing yet and my speeds are only in the 70's,

    Any other suggestions ?

  5. #5
    Hydrotoys's Avatar
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    The lifeline is wore by Jerry and SanDiego Joe and a few others. I'm planning on getting one pretty soon. They are not restrictive. I did note they seem a tad bit heavier, but I didn't feel like it was much more bulky than any other large overbearing vest.

    If you are looking for sleeveless, go with a jet pilot or a slippery when wet.

  6. #6
    Moderator shawn alladio's Avatar
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    Spacemen,

    I'm trying to get very specified about your request. You will not appreciate some of this because it is not quite the answer you are seeking, but the knowledge will help you in your decision making process.

    I have about 16 different types/styles of PFD's I use depending upon location, water action and weather. I trade them out accordingly, so I don't use one 'type' for all conditions. Just like my helmets as well...and my wetsuits and my booties and my gloves and my drysuits....my float coats...

    For swiftwater (river) if you want to look at liability issues alone, you would need (whitewater) a swiftwater PFD. Those are bulkier, which is what you said you didn't want. They have added buoyance to compensate for the aerated water increase of air, so you need an increase of buoyance compensation for your body weight to maintain your airway above the water line. In whitewater you want to keep you feet/butt in upward down river position so you do not get caught on strainers or rocks, and swimming is done on a ferry angle to river left or river right using the current laminar flow against your body to hit a shore based target.....

    Now these types are expensive. Yes they can go from $150-$400. The one I am favorting now is called FORCE 6. Its a Canadian type and I get mine from Jim Lavelly. It has also the option for a built in 'harness' for swiftwater rescue work. It also has some internal rigging, carabeener, live bait for swimming, and is the most SNUG fit PFD I know. It has lots of features and 'stuff'.

    If you go to Rescue 3 International, they have a volley of swiftwater type PFD's, or do a google on any swiftwater training equipment. I like the MUSTANG SURVIVAL gear the best for quality....as well....very consistent product line.

    I will tell you one thing. What everyone talks about in thier discussion about PFD fit is interesting to me. Because it comes down to one thing MINDSET.

    You just don't mind it! Don't mind the bulkiness, accept it and work with it. I will tell you that I wear 15 pounds of added gear on my body in very hectic situations for SAR and I don't mind it at all, in fact I'm very comfortable and feel good while in the water. I know what to expect, I don't compete against my gear and I'm fit.

    Now..that is some liability issue, because you are required by law to wear the proper fit and TYPE for your chosen pursuit. This can be written against you if you do not have a USCG approved PFD if there is a fatality or investigation for insurance or medical.

    Those neoprene types that are thin, some of USCG approved and need the UL approval label stamped on the inside of the PFD. Check and make sure before buying.

    Remember any collars or neck rolls will not in dynamic water maintain your airway in an upward position, moving water will roll your body. Also, you must properly fit them, which most people do not entirely understand and your PFD has a lifespan, it must be replaced upon certain requirements and conditions....

    So, that's the quick description on swiftwater/whitewater/river type PFD's...there is more, but its a quick script. They are bulkier and more expensive to compensate for the design changes and needs.

    Now also the 100MPH Impact PFD's, remember they will not keep you safe, it only means that the construction of the PFD will survive a 100MPH impact with the surface of the water, but not you! Big difference. However these types, such as Jet Pilots side entry over the head PFD's do provide more cushion to protect the spleen (whereas on other PFD's the buckles are against the chestbone)...and the fit is tighter, so no guts on guys! LOL

    Many of the neoprene types offer more wind resistance for wind chill, are more flexible, but usually have a zipper front, meaning the fit is more secure, so no guts again! LOL

    The PFD should not ride up over your shoulders, it should be pulled upon the shoulder straps and not move, but stay fixed on your frame.

    A PFD will not save your life, there is no real claim of a GUARANTEE of it as 'saving lives', but it compensates FOR THE ABILITY TO SURVIVE, depending up on each occurrence. (They do save lives, don't get me wrong, but there is no guarantee becuase many factors are involved)... if you are knocked unconscous and are face down in the water you will drown unless your airway is clear, you can have an impact injury with the water while wearing a PFD, however the good news is it is a LIFELINE! It offers you compensation in injuries, hectic waters, a bit of thermal protection, a bit of impact protection (depending upon design), and will help with a body recovery, if your body has not been snagged on debris or ejected from the PFD.

    Type 3s and Type 5s are common use. But the only 'safety' rated types tend to be more for emergency services or exposure to weather/water types, which are more expensive and bulkier.

    I am a boat slut....LOL I will wear anything no matter what the conditions or how horrible the weather, I want to go, so I get the gear and go and I don't complain. The only that is difficult is not being comfortable with your choices.
    So getting the gear and riding with it and accepting is key...

    AND most people want fashion, they want to look good.

    Don't use the inflatable types ok? Stay away from those....not for your best health with your activity.

    Let me know if this helps you at all?
    If not ask me a more specific question as I haven't read this whole thread...
    Shawn

  7. #7
    Moderator shawn alladio's Avatar
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    http://towsurfingjournal.com/forum/s...ght=lifejacket


    Here is something I wrote a while back on my site: Tow Surfing Journal....
    maybe something in there will click...

  8. #8
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    from the link
    A Lifejacket for Towsurfing? You Bet!

    By Shawn Alladio

    My professional goal is supporting boating education, safety and enforcement. I am certified by the National Safe Boating Council as an instructor, and PFD use is the beginning foundation of recreational boating education founded by the NSBC. The standard motto is "Boat Smart from the Start". Without the support of a PFD, drowning can occur.

    The difference between traditional boating drownings in relationship to PWC fatalities; is there are far less PWC drownings due to the use of a PFD compared to other vessels. PWC operators use their lifejackets, as required by law, and that includes the occupants on board (passengers).

    Towsurfing is an evolving sport that is emerging in the boating community, and derived from surfing and water skiing. There are vast differences between 'boating' and 'surfing'. Boating education and operational knowledge come first prior.

    Boats do not venture into unsafe surf zones, nor are they permitted by boating laws to do so due to the high risk of loss, damage and potential loss of life or serious injury. This includes sending our rescuers to respond to these situations, it also places their lives at risk.

    Surfers are not used to wearing lifejackets, so the acceptance of PFD use has been a slow progression. Some athletes were wearing additional flotation forms under their wetsuit to aid in bringing their bodies to the surface to help prevent a serious ‘hold down’, prior to adopting USCG approved PFD’s.

    Your personal safety and those onboard your vessel are your number one priority, personally and legally. These types of standards do not exist for the enjoyment of surfing, but there are good reasons why they do for towsurfing.

    Let's focus on the importance of the lifejacket issue:
    For those of you who participate in white water sports, you understand the inherent safety feature of a whitewater PFD. These lifejackets are bulky, due to the additional flotation needed in the white water portions of the river. It is also important to keep your body in an upright position on the surface flow of the water to avoid any strainers, or objects that your body could be wrapped or pinned within, resulting in death by drowning.

    In aerated water for example, depending upon how much air is mixed with the water, BUOYANCY is the governing safety factor of a proper PFD 'type' and body weight. The more air mixture, the less buoyant the object.

    In extreme water conditions, your basic Type III PFD may not be sufficient flotation to keep your airway above the water line, as your body weight and the mass of air mixture with water will decrease your ability to stay comfortably on the surface. However, the disadvantage is the increase of material needed for construction and reduced mobility. You really cannot ‘duck dive’ below the surface wearing a PFD. That alone takes some getting used to!

    If you’ve had any type of impact injury or passed out due to oxygen deprivation, your PFD will not help keep your airway above the waterline unless you are using a PFD with a built in flotation device on the rear neckline, designed to roll your face into an upright position. We also need to address the hydrology and wave velocity, currents, impact zones and underwater terrain, in relationships to the whitewater action (aeration) of surf waves. If you do not have this type of PFD, your head will act as dead weight and fall downward, with your shoulders on the surface of the water, head slunk down. Even in such dynamic water, there is no guarantee these ‘types’ will work properly due to heavy wave action and body rotation.

    Inflatable chest harness PFD's are not recommended, due to the fact that you must be physically capable to pull the lanyard to activate inflation. They can inflate accidentally by the pull cord catching on a fixed object. Once inflated, these types of PFD's are extremely bulky. They can puncture and you must properly maintain them. Some designs have a dissoluble tab that eats away once contact is made with the water and they inflate automatically.

    Obviously if you are a heavyset person, you would need to factor in your weight versus the water conditions and if that PFD can effectively keep your airway above the water line in case of injury.

    The fit of the PFD is especially important, it must be properly sized, and not rise above your shoulders or armpit but stay firmly affixed to your upper torso. PFD’s have a lifespan, they must be replaced as needed; the foam itself can lose its buoyancy capability if compromised.

    Towsurfing is a sport designed with speed in mind. The speed of the wave, matched by the speed of the vessel used to be towed into this wave energy. A lifejacket is required in the State of California to be worn at all times by those using an aquaplane device, unless under permit by a special event and the safety guidelines. The activity of towsurfing requires that this athlete must be wearing a United States Coast Guard approved flotation device appropriate to 'type' for this activity use. The comparison is often water skiing or wake boarding. Kite boarders also could benefit with PFD use.

    Wearing a properly fitted, sized and USCG approved lifejacket has certainly saved lives for the activity of towsurfing. In the formative years of the sport, only highly evolved professional and seasoned athletes were involved with the practice of this sport. These individuals did not at first use lifejackets. Their wave knowledge was excellent and their hours in heavy water conditions proved critical to their decision making process. Nowadays with a new community of users in this activity, that invested ‘big wave’ knowledge is no longer the foundation this sport was built upon.

    You cannot rely solely upon a PFD to compensate for your lack of heavy water knowledge. Only experience and proficiency will assist you when you need to make critical decisions. Lifejackets are savin

  9. #9
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    Your posts have been very helpful. if you have any more suggestions/advice please post it.

    I will definatly buy a USCG approved vest and it looks like I will go for something similar to what has served me over the years.

    When I go to the various safety/boat shops I will have a clearer idea what to look for in my new vest.

    from the looks of things ill prob land up buying 2, one for those casual riding with friends and another for when im in the aggressive mood.

    its a pity there is nothing that has real impact protection, like a atv chest plate built in. the rivers are less than 5meters wide, so if you come off you dont have to worry about drowning... rather crashing into something hard.

    We dont have rapids ( in winter i do ride over the weirs ;-P ), there however is always a steady current, so if stop you moving you land up down river or on the shore very quickly.

  10. #10

    Auto Air Bag Protection

    This special device is used to protect motorcyclists who fall. Rip cord pulled by falling rider instantly inflates air bags that cushion fall. I doubt this qualifies as a PFD. Its an interesting concept though that may one day be adapted for use on high speed PWCs.

    http://airbagvest.com/index.html
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