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#117901 - 12/29/07 01:04 AM Re: OVERBOARD VEST [Re: SwampDonkey]
teacher Offline
Old Hand

Registered: 12/14/05
Posts: 910
OK -- been mulling this one over a while...

First, I think its a great idea, all the gear in one place. I'd look at adding a big pocket on the back (like a fishing vest) for bulky but light items (plastic for tarp, fleece hat,etc.)

But the important things are:

ONE you have to wear it all the time. If you are way up in the wilds alone its self-rescue for 24 -96 hours. Every time you are on the water.

TWO get a PRLB -- yes its expensive, but well worth your life and your wife's peace of mind.

thanks for listening

Teacher

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#292386 - 05/31/19 03:16 AM Re: OVERBOARD VEST [Re: CANOEDOGS]
teacher Offline
Old Hand

Registered: 12/14/05
Posts: 910
I may convert a fishing vest (think pockets) for this.

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#292388 - 05/31/19 04:28 AM Re: OVERBOARD VEST [Re: CANOEDOGS]
Herman30 Offline
Enthusiast

Registered: 08/08/06
Posts: 371
Loc: Finland
smile That is some necroposting, 12 years since last post.

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#292603 - 06/28/19 08:58 PM Re: OVERBOARD VEST [Re: CANOEDOGS]
teacher Offline
Old Hand

Registered: 12/14/05
Posts: 910
Three - a nice strobe light attached to the vest.

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#292608 - 06/29/19 04:30 PM Re: OVERBOARD VEST [Re: Herman30]
AKSAR Offline
Old Hand

Registered: 08/31/11
Posts: 1198
Loc: Alaska
Originally Posted By: Herman30
smile That is some necroposting, 12 years since last post.
Old threads never die. They just get regurgitated....I mean resurrected!

But since Mr. teacher brought it up, I will add that the absolute first priority of an "overboard vest" (AKA PFD) is to keep one afloat when one goes overboard. If the vest doesn't do that, nothing else in the pockets matters. Some considerations:

Most vests sold in the US ("Type III") only have about 16 pounds of floatation. More floatation is usually better, especially in rough water. Every pound of survival gear you add reduces your effective floatation. I once talked with a park ranger, who found out that when wearing his duty belt, radio, handgun, etc, some life vests were inadequate to keep him afloat.

Stuff carried on the outside of a vest, or even big stuffed pockets on the vest, can make it challenging to get back into a boat or raft. I once took an unplanned swim on a whitewater rafting trip. Even with help from those in the raft, it was difficult to get back aboard. And that was while wearing a plain PFD with no pockets or external gear.

Bottom line: The first priority of life vest is to keep you afloat. Carrying some survival gear is OK, as long as it doesn't interfere with that.


Edited by AKSAR (06/29/19 04:36 PM)
_________________________
"Toto, I've a feeling we're not in Kansas any more."
-Dorothy, in The Wizard of Oz

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#292610 - 06/29/19 06:18 PM Re: OVERBOARD VEST [Re: CANOEDOGS]
Herman30 Offline
Enthusiast

Registered: 08/08/06
Posts: 371
Loc: Finland
How about carrying the stuff in a dry bag attached to the vest with a tether of some sort? Once in the water the stuff will float on its own in the bag without straining the vests floating capability.

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#292611 - 06/29/19 06:20 PM Re: OVERBOARD VEST [Re: Herman30]
chaosmagnet Offline
Sheriff
Carpal Tunnel

Registered: 12/03/09
Posts: 3427
Loc: USA
Originally Posted By: Herman30
How about carrying the stuff in a dry bag attached to the vest with a tether of some sort? Once in the water the stuff will float on its own in the bag without straining the vests floating capability.


Not a boating expert by any stretch, but I'd be concerned about getting tangled up in stuff on the boat or in the water.

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#292613 - 06/29/19 07:52 PM Re: OVERBOARD VEST [Re: chaosmagnet]
AKSAR Offline
Old Hand

Registered: 08/31/11
Posts: 1198
Loc: Alaska
As is most situations in life, there are tradeoffs, and one must balance competing priorities.

As I said above, floatation is critical. In a whitewater river, or other rough water, higher floatation is good. In waves, you can drown even if the vest keeps you afloat, when every time you try to get a breath you get hit in the face with a wave. A little more floatation, which keeps your face a few inches higher above the water can be crucial. It also makes you easier to be seen and be rescued.

On the other hand, too much floatation can make it more difficult to swim. Some of the "Mae West" type inflatable PFDs have as much as 35 pounds of floatation. Great to help you breathe and be spotted, but this can make it very hard to swim. With some of those vests, the only practical way to swim is by doing a sort of back stroke. And the big air bladders can make it tough to climb into a boat.

If you are in a remote area, and manage to make it to shore, having some survival gear is obviously good. On the other hand, too much gear on your vest can reduce your effective floatation, get you tangled, caught on strainers and sweepers, and can get in the way when trying to get back into a boat.

In the incident I mentioned upthread, the whitewater river we were rafting was right next to a busy road. So there was little point in carrying lots of survival stuff. The priority was staying afloat and getting back in the raft. We clients were wearing high floatation commercial Type V vests with collars designed to turn you upright. No pockets or external gear to get in the way. The river guides all wore low profile vests with lower floatation, but which allow more freedom of movement. But guides are generally young, very fit, strong swimmers, who have had training swimming in whitewater.

Thus one looks for the best compromise for a given situation. What is appropriate for a client on a guided whitewater trip near a road might not be ideal for a flatwater canoe trip in a remote area, and neither would be ideal for an offshore trip on a sailboat. Different situations require different priorities. But if you drown, nothing else matters.

For info on types of PFDs, see ABCs of PFDs

For examples of various types see Life Jacket Styles.

For a former USCG rescue swimmer's take on gear for offshore in big water, see Pockets For a Reason


Edited by AKSAR (06/29/19 08:31 PM)
_________________________
"Toto, I've a feeling we're not in Kansas any more."
-Dorothy, in The Wizard of Oz

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#292617 - 06/29/19 11:41 PM Re: OVERBOARD VEST [Re: CANOEDOGS]
Russ Offline
Geezer

Registered: 06/02/06
Posts: 5338
Loc: SOCAL
My PFD is set up a wee bit differently. Think large turbo-prop over the ocean...

In most water survival situations the only initial priority is getting to the surface and then staying afloat. Only after you are safely on the surface breathing air do other priorities become relevant. (I say ďmostĒ because while I canít think of one, but there may be some situation I hadnít considered.) In the initial stages of an aviation ditching, it may be preferable for the PFD to not be activated. Aviation survival vests in general do not auto-inflate when they contact water. An inflated vest can make aircraft egress difficult to impossible. Once clear of the aircraft you can activate the CO2 cylinders.
Note: My aviation survival vest is a Switlik HV-35 modular vest (apparently no longer available) to which I attached a few MOLLE pouches. The closest in the current Switlik line is the Switlik - X-Back Air Crew Vest ó 35 lbs of buoyancy.

My intent was to egress, stay afloat and then signal for rescue. When I equipped the vest my going in assumption was that we were far enough and low enough that the good folks tracking us did not have a reliable location (possible). I also assumed that the aircraft sank rendering its ELT (emergency locator transmitter) inoperable (also possible).

For signaling I carried a PLB in a dedicated pouch on my left shoulder; a marine VHF radio (Ch.16 et al) in the front left pouch; flashlight, strobe-light and laser flare in the right front pouch, and a signal mirror. It was about getting found and pulled from the water efficiently.

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#292619 - 06/30/19 01:28 AM Re: OVERBOARD VEST [Re: CANOEDOGS]
chaosmagnet Offline
Sheriff
Carpal Tunnel

Registered: 12/03/09
Posts: 3427
Loc: USA
Iím sure that Russ thought of this, but make sure that your Marine VHF radio is waterproof.

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