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Thanks to input from this site, I now always wear a PFD on moving water while on my pontoon. Since I began the practice I have lost two different PFD's stream side. You know the drill. I beach my pontoon, take off my PFD, fish a few runs from shore, and, forget my PFD when I push off. It seems 30 minutes or an hour pass before I remember I have left it on shore.

I am guessing that there is a place in the netherworld where all of my lost and forgotten pens, tape measures, and PFD's gather to discuss their wiley ways and what they did to distract me and escape.

I have promised myself I will always clip my PFD to my raft whenever I take it off.

I have a self inflating hydrostatic Type II PFD which I got from West Marine. I chose this model over the lower cost manual inflating type where you must proactively pull the tab. I don't want to rely on the fact that I will be conscious and alert to pull the tab. My self inflating PFD from Mustang is very comfortable, fairly expensive, and only needs to be rearmed every five years.

View attachment 30478

There are times when I want the advantages and security of a real PFD. So I am now considering the purchase of the Type III Fisherman's PFD from NRS Aire with 16 lbs of bouyancy. I assume the pockets and attachments will be handy and worth the additonal bulk. http://www.nrsweb.com/shop/product.asp?pfid=2150&deptid=2059

View attachment 30477

Do any of you have this PFD? Do you like it and/or recommend it? Have any of you discontinued your use of this PFD in favor of another? If so, why?

It is my hope this thread will be a discussion of the pros and cons of certain specific PFD's that readers might give serious consideration to adding to their equipment.
 

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Don, great thread. When I decided to begin floating rivers in a solo pontoon a few members (thanks to each of them) basically pounded it through my thick skull to wear a PFD or automatically inflatable PFD. On lakes I have some less bulky manually inflatable PFD's that I prefer and have had my own kind of fun burning up some of the cylinders as I practice getting wet and pulling that tab. I have an Extrasport Sturgeon (i belive that is the model name) that I now use for my river rowing adventures. This model is available from NRS as well and I opted for it because it could hold larger fly boxes in the pockets (thinking steelhead streamers would be what I would be carrying on those trips) It is quite comfortable, especially now that I have a low back rower's seat. The high back seat was not quite as comfortable but certainly not anything to worry about. Rowing in this PFD is pretty simple but I have found that pulling my hands and the oar handles to my chest is some what inhibited by the bulk of the vest and the pockets on front. A simple solution to remedy this was to slide my seat to the rear just a bit, maybe a half inch, and slide the oarlocks forward about the same distance. On a recent outing to the Hoh the two gents that floated with me brought their own vests, both standard PFD's of their choice and each was comfortable wearing them. A few of the very experienced oarsmen that were there had their own auto inflatable Mustangs and they looked both comfortable and unobtrusive when they rowed. I trust those guys and should I decide any changes in my PFD usage it will be to what they are using, not a switch to no PFD for sure.

I have found very comfortable neoprene PFD's for my two girls, they wear them anytime we are in or near the water in boats, on docks or recreating in pools. As they learn to swim more and more we'll cut back on their use in pools but we always discuss the use of the life jackets for every trip. They find them comfortable to wear and of course they love the pink color and flower designs which, if that adds to their willingness to wear them, then I'm digging them.
 

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moving water requires a PFD that is 'permanent'. i would look at your local paddle supply places for a kayak sort of vest. you really have to try these on to actually find one that fits you ok and allows for a full range of motion given your body. most any outlet that specializes in paddle sports has a wide array to choose from so go try some on. when you beach your floating device, simply hang the PFD over your rowing seat, pretty simple way to keep track of it.

on the self inflate side of the equation, hydrostatic, mustang worn in my boat, at all times. everyone puts one on before i cast off and everyone keeps them on until we tie up at days end. drowning is still the number one killer in boating related acdidents. when its really cold water, as it is now, we both wear mustang float coats, talk about the michelin man feel :)
 

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I have an SOSpenders inflatable. I seldom wear it. My reasoning, flawed as it may be, is that I'm floating the same rivers I wade to fish, and I don't wear a PFD while wading. I've been swimming in waders four times and figure a boat mishap would create a roughly similar circumstance that I would swim and wade out of. Then there's rivers like the Columbia that I probably can't swim across. That's another story . . .

Sg
 

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a friend was floating the sandy in oregon. the lower river is pretty tame, wade fisihng once you reach a spot is the way to do it. he was comfortably drifting along futsing with something or another and not noticing the current was pushing him right into a sweeper. he put his oar in the water, hooked a limb, bent the cheap aluminum oar that comes with pontoons 90 degrees, went into the sweeper, flipped and was pulled down, down, down by the current. according to him he was under at least 10 minutes, or so it seemed. he popped to the surface and was floundering around for his life when 2 guys in a drift boat, who had seem the whole thing unfold, safed his sodden ass. all gear gone, but he had his life.

lesson is, you float where you don't wade, wear a PFD or be a part of darwinism, yur choice as usual.
 

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I prefer the one you WILL WEAR. Out in the pram on a lake, I wear a little inflatable Sospendor that looks like a first aid kit, in the power boat, a self inflator, unless I'm out in the ocean, then it's a high visibility Mustang. I have enough options to be situational, but the thread is always have one that you will actually put on.

One of our instructors at a Swiftwater Rescue Tech class I took was a state cop that patrolled Flaming Geyser. In all his years of recovery, they had NEVER recovered a body wearing PFD and a helmet. Most of us won't be running class V's so you don't need the helmet, but find a PFD that is comfortable enough to wear, and the first warm day you're out, jump in the water and make sure it works and is adjusted properly. The trooper was right. My team never recovered a victim in a PFD either.
 

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Last year (?) Patagonia was clearing out some of their PFD's and thanks to someone on this forum giving everyone a heads up, I picked one up. Very comfortable (for a PFD). On the other hand, when I went to the Patagonia website to try and find a sample photo, I see that there is a recall on those PDF's that we bought last year. Mine don't appear to be from the affected batch, but still...

http://www.patagonia.com/web/us/patagonia.go?assetid=7574
 

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In reference to the PFD in the pic and Ed's comments, I have to agree.
I also have the Extrasport Sturgeon and am very pleased with it. Main reason, aside from it's obvious qualities, it's the only one I found to be COMFORTABLE! Most of the other makes that I tried and returned were just too confining and annoying. Some are are akin to "straight-jackets".
One bit of advice from my experience; make sure the one you choose is large enough to wear comfortably in cold weather over your protective layers, but still capable of being adjusted down for warmer climes. Not a good thing if it floats off you in swift waters.
I opted for the "blaze orange" over the dark or camo colors so it would be easier to find my dead carcass pinned to the brush under 4 feet of water. I took a bit of ribbing over the orange. Bite me Ed.

Don, great thread. When I decided to begin floating rivers in a solo pontoon a few members (thanks to each of them) basically pounded it through my thick skull to wear a PFD or automatically inflatable PFD. On lakes I have some less bulky manually inflatable PFD's that I prefer and have had my own kind of fun burning up some of the cylinders as I practice getting wet and pulling that tab. I have an Extrasport Sturgeon (i belive that is the model name) that I now use for my river rowing adventures. This model is available from NRS as well and I opted for it because it could hold larger fly boxes in the pockets (thinking steelhead streamers would be what I would be carrying on those trips) It is quite comfortable, especially now that I have a low back rower's seat. The high back seat was not quite as comfortable but certainly not anything to worry about. Rowing in this PFD is pretty simple but I have found that pulling my hands and the oar handles to my chest is some what inhibited by the bulk of the vest and the pockets on front. A simple solution to remedy this was to slide my seat to the rear just a bit, maybe a half inch, and slide the oarlocks forward about the same distance. On a recent outing to the Hoh the two gents that floated with me brought their own vests, both standard PFD's of their choice and each was comfortable wearing them. A few of the very experienced oarsmen that were there had their own auto inflatable Mustangs and they looked both comfortable and unobtrusive when they rowed. I trust those guys and should I decide any changes in my PFD usage it will be to what they are using, not a switch to no PFD for sure.

I have found very comfortable neoprene PFD's for my two girls, they wear them anytime we are in or near the water in boats, on docks or recreating in pools. As they learn to swim more and more we'll cut back on their use in pools but we always discuss the use of the life jackets for every trip. They find them comfortable to wear and of course they love the pink color and flower designs which, if that adds to their willingness to wear them, then I'm digging them.
 

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The Stohlquist Fisherman is a good option that blends a fishing vest with a kayak style pfd. It's easily adjustable, has decent gear pockets, and is comfortable enough that you'll wear it.
I agree. I have one of these. It's not cheap, but worth the price.
It has hard pocket covers on the front so you don't squish your stuff whilst hoisting yourself back up onto the kayak after you fall in the water.
 

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I agree with Don Freeman in that you should get one you will wear. I have a cheaper Stearns comfort vest for fishing from my mini-drifter, johnboat, and Ultimate 12, as I don't think I'll capsize or fall out of these boats. However I realize that I could fall out of the Ultimate 12 while standing and casting in it out somewhere by myself, so I always wear my pfd when fishing from that boat. Sometimes I'll go pfd-less in the more stable boats, but I have gotten so used to wearing the comfort vest that it doesn't bother me.

I have an Extrasport Solstice for wearing out in the salt on my Tarpon SOT. I go out in waters with more potential for mishaps in this kayak, so I got one that's designed for paddling. This isn't a fishing vest, but has two smaller pockets and some attachment points for stuff. I got this without big pockets because if you fall out of your yak, its much harder to do a re-entry with huge pockets full of stuff on your chest. When I'm in my Tarpon, I have a convenient 8" hatch right in front of my seat for stowage. About all that's on or in my vest is a whistle and a knife, and maybe some forceps, nippers and a hook sharpener.

I think the NRS Chinook is a very good fishing pfd for the price. I've seen 'em advertised recently for less than $60. I might get one to replace my comfort vest as my main pfd.
 
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