Inflateable PFD?

Discussion in 'Watercraft' started by Robert Engleheart, Mar 4, 2013.

  1. Thinking about getting one of the inflateable PFD's but wondering if they have enough flotation to compensate for the possibility that one's chest waders will be filling with water the longer you're in the water, belt or not.
    Anyone using them?
  2. Water is neutrally buoyant in water. It wouldn't mater if your waders filled with water.
    People think that waders will fill with water and make you sink. Sure if you fall in you will get some water in but because there is more pressure from the water and that water is neutrally buoyant it won't make you sink. Now when you exit the water it will be heavy
  3. I would agree with WABOWMAN. I remember viewing some test results regarding this that were posted on the internet. You could probably Google up that information.

    I use a manually inflatable PFD in stillwaters; but an NRS Chinook Type 3 on rivers, where lack of concentration, control,or illness could lead to an unexpected meeting with a sweeper or obstruction. The result may be that you are 'not available' to manually actuate the PFD.

    There are automatic inflatable PFDs but the price tag does increase significantly.
    Bob Triggs likes this.
  4. I wear the Auto PDF from Cabela's. I am fortunate enough to have not had to test its bouyancy. I would like to get a type 3 non inflatable for some of the offshore fishing as i wonder how long the inflatable would stay inflated.

  5. Certified whitewater vests are the best thing for river fishing safety.
  6. I carry manual and auto vests on my sailboat, but fishing I prefer the kind with foam inside. The inflatables all have an activation handle hanging down to tangle with your line.
    I'm always concerned that I will accidentally pull it (such as hiking through brush rod in hand). You can re-arm them if they are deployed, but the parts are costly.

    Dave Evans likes this.
  7. I agree with WABOWMAN and Gregg about neutral buoyancy. But do waders that normally have any air pushed up and out of them by water pressure so they are snug to body, "inflate" when filled with water so they create more resistance to movement for maneuvering and treading water? I suspect that it would be harder to stay calm and think clearly to effect self-rescue with water-filled waders.

    Gregg speaks wisely about his choices of PFDs for stillwater vs. rivers. His NRS Chinook fishing PFD appears to have a fairly trim fit. My Extrasport Sturgeon Type III fishing PFD has an outstanding adjustment system but the foam and huge pockets together are nearly 6" thick making it awkward for rowing if I put anything in the pockets. I got an Extrasport Eddyline Type III paddling vest that has a much trimmer fit and more freedom of movement with large thinner pockets that will hold a couple of small items, 4 gear attachment tabs and loops, and inner fleece-lined handwarmer pockets(!).

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  8. Sorry, this is just the first video I came across. Not exactly a real world simulation, but he does address how difficult it is for your waders fill with water when you are wearing a wading belt! Obviously, this buoyancy "experiment" should in no way diminish one's desire to wear a PFD, as there are many other factors in play when dealing with mother nature. If you are short on time, start at the 5:50 mark.
  9. Once again Gregg nails it. I remember that video actually speaks to the fact and mentioned that the water pressure actually keeps the waders snug on the body making it harder to fill with water.

    I was asking & commenting only on what might happen (and could/should have used the word) if ones waders actually did fill with water.

    Again I echo Gregg's comments about the importance of PFDs. I always wear one when floating because I love my family.

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  10. I hear what you're saying Brian. He could have conducted one more "experiment": no wading belt, and sliced open waders at the hip. Come on! The guy must have had a leaky pair of waders to give up for the cause. Don't we all have a pair of leaky waders?;)
  11. I agree with Ken. My spouse bought me an auto inflating pfd last summer because I often go steelheading alone, and she works in the medical field and has seen what can happen. (She told me she bought it so they would recover the body) Before I was using a NRS chinook for my float tube. The inflatable is a lot more comfortable, but that dang pull cord always worries me because I am afraid I am going to snag it when I am spey casting. I just tuck that end of the pfd just inside the top of my waders and then forget about it.

    As to the OP, I posted a similar question on another forum after she bought me the pfd last summer. Got a lot of feedback and in the end I decided it was worth it to have on, but I cannot remember why! Seems to me a big question then was the waders being full of air would push your feet up and head down, but I agree with the posts above that water pressure keeps mine on pretty tight to the body.
  12. I have had the auto inflating pfds inadvertently discharge 3 times. I also flipped a canoe on a river wearing a white water type 3. I'm glad I was wearing it. When I got my raft, I bought an NRS type 3. I don't trust the autos on the river. Good luck.
  13. For use with waders or for float tubing, check out the Stormy Seas SV100. You can partially inflate it with the mouth piece to get the right blend of floatation and comfort. It comes with a CO2 system as well. I have had mine quite a while and it has held up well despite the very light weight and packability.

    Having something comfortable enough to actually wear all the time is more important to me than 20+ pounds of floation. However I do use a regular type III when rafting.
  14. One thing about Inflatable PFDs is you shouldn't wear anything over them. When properly adjusted they cover and restrict access to a vest, chest pack, and even jacket pockets. I wear a lanyard but use the pockets on my float tubes to store frequently used gear and foofaraw.

    Due to the lack of easily reachable semi-dry storage on a Water Master I had BSI make me a custom flat PVC side pocket but it doesn't hold very much. So I got some quick lock swivel buckles (the only place I could find them for sale as loose parts was from a tactical gear mfg in the Czech Republic; some cool stamps on the envelope) and polypro webbing so I can strap my Fishpond chest pack to the upper-side of my Water Master.

    The only reason I didn't change the Fishpond buckles to standard quick lock is there are semi-hidden mating buckles built into the Tundra Tech Pack the chest pack attaches to.

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  15. I just ordered a Mustang hydrostatic self-inflating PFD.

    If it's good enough for Roland . . .well :)

    In all seriousness, I've been using them for years when I go out on boats on the job but always got by with the minimum when out fishing for fun. No excuses now . . .

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