Life Jackets Attachments

A conversation among Whalers
contender
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Life Jackets Attachments

Postby contender » Mon Mar 14, 2016 10:23 pm

I hope everyone here carries at least one life jacket per person. Do you attach anything else to your life jackets?

Each one of my ski-type jackets has attached to it a light, a knife, a whistle, and a compass. I figure if you were to fall over at night the light would really be nice to have.

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Re: Life Jackets Attachments

Postby Oldslowandugly » Tue Mar 15, 2016 10:27 am

No one rides with me without wearing a type 3 life jacket. You don't like it, you stay home. But I don't attach anything. I should add a whistle that can't rust. I had lights, but they got wet and failed, maybe they make better ones now? Thank's for posting this, I am going to look into that.

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Re: Life Jackets Attachments

Postby porthole » Tue Mar 15, 2016 11:17 am

My jacket - whistle, light and knife.

When I am alone I add a Standard HX300 waterproof floating handheld and an ACR PLB

Other jackets have whistles and lights.

My wife and I use inflatables, but we also have Mustang work vests that will be used at times.
And when conditions warrant it, I have a Mustang float jacket and pants set.
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Re: Life Jackets Attachments

Postby DaveWeight » Wed Mar 16, 2016 7:33 am

Just make sure that when your life jacket is inflated that you can reach and operate all of these attachments, your lifejacket will be bigger and more in the way than you would believe. I strap a divers knife to my leg as suggested by the Royal Yachting Association.
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Re: Life Jackets Attachments

Postby Phil T » Wed Mar 16, 2016 5:23 pm

Wearing a vest is the most critical.

No vest, no ride, no exceptions!

Aside - Hi Dave, glad to see you back!
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Re: Life Jackets Attachments

Postby fno » Thu Mar 17, 2016 10:11 am

Dave, you seriously strap a divers knife to your leg??? Divers don't even use them anymore, unless they got certified last week. At least the ones that actually go in the water vs. watching old Seahunt reruns. A sharp knife is understandable and makes some sense for some situations but a divers knife is wholly outdated both in terms of technology and usefulness. The Royal Yachting Association needs to update it's advice...

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Re: Life Jackets Attachments

Postby Oldslowandugly » Thu Mar 17, 2016 10:20 am

Last year I was drift fishing and I passed an old gent anchored up, in a good sized boat, wearing a Mustang life jacket. When I commented that he is a smart cookie he said one of his friends fell off the dock at the marina and was in the water clinging to the dock for 45 minutes before someone heard him yelling. No life jacket. I love diver's knives. Stainless that won't rust, in a sheath that won't fail. When I scuba'd I kept a small one right on my forearm. I see West Marine has LED lights for a PFD.

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Re: Life Jackets Attachments

Postby DaveWeight » Thu Mar 17, 2016 1:44 pm

The advice is to carry/wear a sharp knife somewhere you can reach it when your enormous lifejacket gets in the way, the divers knife is just what I have and keep sharp. It is convenient in its solid plastic sheath to wear on my leg.
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Re: Life Jackets Attachments

Postby JohnW » Thu Mar 17, 2016 6:36 pm

fno wrote:Dave, you seriously strap a divers knife to your leg??? Divers don't even use them anymore, unless they got certified last week. At least the ones that actually go in the water vs. watching old Seahunt reruns. A sharp knife is understandable and makes some sense for some situations but a divers knife is wholly outdated both in terms of technology and usefulness. The Royal Yachting Association needs to update it's advice...


22 year diver here, carry a knife every dive. Never know when you are going to get tangled in fishing line or need to cut away the line from your spear gun.

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Re: Life Jackets Attachments

Postby Oldslowandugly » Thu Mar 17, 2016 7:52 pm

Anyone catch the first episode of Stan Lee's Lucky Man? Final scene, boat flips, one guy on the bottom dead under the hull, another is about a foot from the surface- his legs wrapped up in anchor line. Good time for a knife!

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Re: Life Jackets Attachments

Postby fno » Fri Mar 18, 2016 6:52 pm

I understand the need for a knife for both diving and as a safety component on a life jacket. There are many good solutions for both. My interest was with the selection of a traditional 10"-12" sharp pointed knife strapped to your calf vis a vis Mike Nelson in the TV show "Seahunt" as a suitable method. Mainly because there are tons of better, more efficient and safer alternatives to that setup. I too am a diver with 20 plus years of experience primarily in ocean wreck diving, cave diving, and some fluffy reef diving. I usually have two cutting devices on my gear for most all dives and definitely for all cave and wreck dives. One is on my light handle, the other is a Spyderco serrated folder that is infinitely more efficient at cutting most everything better than every knife marketed as a dive knife I have come across. So yes, carry a knife. Make sure it is easily accessible, make sure it can cut every piece of rigging on your boat with one swipe ( the Spyderco has been tested and can do it) Entanglement is a hazard both in diving and on a boat and becomes a severe danger on a sinking or capsized boat. The same is true for SCUBA diving.

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Re: Life Jackets Attachments

Postby jimh » Sat Mar 19, 2016 11:38 am

If all recommendations given in this thread are followed for attachments needed to a personal floatation device (PFD), what is the total added weight? So far we are up to:

--light
--whistle
--compass
--main knife
--reserve knife
--PLB locator beacon transmitter
--VHF Marine Band transceiver (hand-held)

Also, I presume you want the VHF Marine Band transceiver with integral GNSS receiver, DSC, and its own MMSI—right?

The reason I am concerned about the weight of all this gear is the PFD only provides a certain amount of reserve buoyancy. When you hang too much weight onto the PFD you are reducing the buoyancy. The minimum buoyancy specified by USCG for a PFD Type-I is 22-lbs. The more popular Type-II and Type-III PFD have only 15.5-lbs minimum buoyancy. An adult needs to have an extra buoyancy of about 7 to 12-lbs to keep their head above water. This means that a Type III may only have about 3.5-lbs of buoyancy to spare.

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Re: Life Jackets Attachments

Postby porthole » Sat Mar 19, 2016 12:40 pm

Mine, and I will weigh the other items when I dig my floats out.

jimh wrote:--light
--whistle
--main knife
--PLB locator beacon transmitter
10.4 ounces, and it floats

--VHF Marine Band transceiver (hand-held)
9.1 ounces, and it floats

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Re: Life Jackets Attachments

Postby Oldslowandugly » Sat Mar 19, 2016 5:00 pm

I found some nice whistles on Amazon, two each for only three bucks and plastic/rustproof. I'm embarrassed to say I don't have these yet but I ordered them. There are also some cool LED blinking lights that are pretty inexpensive too. Again, thank's to the OP for posting this. Image Image

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Re: Life Jackets Attachments

Postby jimh » Sat Mar 19, 2016 11:25 pm

Although some of these suggested attachments to your personal floatation device (PFD) might be able to float, I don't think it is appropriate to ignore their weight, and their weight should be subtracted from the buoyancy of the PFD. My reasoning is along this line:

--if you have a device, like a radio, that floats, you really do not want that radio submerged in water all the time and trying to float; the whole point of having a radio is to have it work when you need it. If you want the radio to be self-buoyant and float, you would have to let the radio get really wet. It is impossible to know exactly where to attach the radio so its self-buoyancy will match the exact level you and your PFD will be floating. If you attach the radio too low to the PFD, it is going to be underwater. A radio that is underwater is not going to be of much value. So you will have to attach the radio to the PFD so that the radio is out of the water. At that location, it does not matter if the radio has any buoyancy. It is not in the water so it cannot create any buoyancy. It becomes just added weight to the PFD, subtracting the weight of the radio from the buoyancy reserve of the PFD.

--the same analysis applies to all the other devices; if they are buoyant, they will only create buoyant forces if they are submerged; what good is a compass or a whistle if it is underwater?

--the only suggested additions that seem likely to tolerate being submerged are the knives. But they are not likely to be self-buoyant anyways.

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Re: Life Jackets Attachments

Postby porthole » Sun Mar 20, 2016 10:12 pm

My inflatable PFD is rated at 36 pounds.
My radio and PLB are on 1 foot tethers.
The whistle weighs maybe an ounce.
The light is a necessity since I boat at night (and was a requirement when I was running charters), so that is a non concern.

The knife, personal opinion. I carry one, never know.
I know one person who was caught up in a lobster trap warp (commercial lobsterman).
We'll never know if he had carried a knife if it would have helped him.
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Re: Life Jackets Attachments

Postby Dutchman » Wed Mar 23, 2016 3:23 pm

porthole wrote:My inflatable PFD is rated at 36 pounds.
My radio and PLB are on 1 foot tethers.


That must be a pain having those dangle around during regular boating, and could be literally a pain in the neck when they wrap around in the water.

I, too, always have a sailor rigging knife in my pocket connected to my pants with a hasp; unless I lose my pants while going overboard, I have a knife to cut a line or fight of the sharks. Oh wait, we don't have sharks here in the Great Lakes or lobster pots or crab pots.

A [personal locator beacon transmitter or] PLB is good to have, but mount it to the boat; or, have an [emergency position indicating radio beacon or] EPIRB. You should stay with your boat; a Whaler doesn't sink; they'll find you. You can do the same for your waterproof and floating radio: tether it to the boat.

United States Power Squadrons hand out plastic whistles that can be heard over several miles for free. Contact your local power squadron. I have those attached to my inflatable PFD devices. A newer, good, Type-I PFD has a small LED-light and whistle included. I only carry four Type II and two Type II [Type-I perhaps?] inflatables rated for 36-lbs on board; all six have whistles; one has a light; all have reflective patches.

Don't boat alone in an open boat like a small Boston Whaler boat in inclement weather at night [when] you need to rely on a light, a PLB, and radio on your person. You better have a crew that knows what to do for man-overboard when you are even getting remotely close to a situation like that.

For over 99-percent of the time, a good Type II or I can handle a man-overboard without all the extras attached to it mentioned before.

Use your ignition switch safety lanyard, especially when boating alone and use a life line tether, as we sailors do.
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Re: Life Jackets Attachments

Postby jimh » Wed Mar 23, 2016 4:42 pm

Safety systems designed by committees may not always arrive at the optimum solution.

I do not own and hence do not wear a personal locator beacon transmitter.

I do not own and hence my boat is not equipped with an emergency position indicating radio beacon transmitter.

I have a knife with a lanyard, but I have not worn it while boating in 20-years.

I don't own any submersible battery operated lights so I don't have them attached to the PFD devices on the boat; the total time I have spent underway after dark in the past ten years is probably about an hour. During that time the conditions have been dead calm, no wind, no waves.

I might have a whistle somewhere.

I do own a multi-band hand-held radio that includes the VHF Marine Band, but it has no IPX rating that would make me think it could tolerate any sort of immersion in water. Most of the time I am boating I have forgotten to take it aboard.

When underway alone, I wear a PFD and attach the safety lanyard. If I were thrown overboard I would expect the engine to shut off. Getting back aboard could be a problem as the boat swim ladder cannot be deployed by a swimmer in the water.

If the sea state was so severe that I was thrown overboard, I would anticipate the reboarding the boat from the water might be difficult due to the motion of the boat in the waves.

We usually keep the stern lines stowed at the aft railings, so I would anticipate I could deploy a stern line and attach myself to the boat that way. On the other hand, in a sea state with large waves, it may not be advantageous to be too close to the boat due the pitching of the boat in the waves.

For more than 95-percent of my boating there is another crew aboard. We try to exercise good judgement about the type of wind and waves we will go out into when boating.

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Re: Life Jackets Attachments

Postby porthole » Thu Mar 24, 2016 7:46 pm

Dutchman wrote:That must be a pain having those dangle around during regular boating, and could be literally a pain in the neck when they wrap around in the water.


Who would have something dangling around on a boat? Certainly not me.

Dutchman wrote:I, too, always have a sailor rigging knife in my pocket connected to my pants with a hasp; unless I lose my pants while going overboard, I have a knife to cut a line or fight of the sharks. Oh wait, we don't have sharks here in the Great Lakes or lobster pots or crab pots.



My experience with keeping a knife handy has more to do with fishing rods and big fish.

Dutchman wrote:A [personal locator beacon transmitter or] PLB is good to have, but mount it to the boat; or, have an [emergency position indicating radio beacon or] EPIRB. You should stay with your boat; a Whaler doesn't sink; they'll find you. You can do the same for your waterproof and floating radio: tether it to the boat.


Key word on a PLB is "personal". When I had bigger boats that could sink, I had Class A EPIRB's.
My little Whaler that will not sink? Could it even roll far enough to release an EPRIB? I don't know. Is there a better chance of falling overboard on a small boat, I would think yes.

Dutchman wrote:United States Power Squadrons hand out plastic whistles that can be heard over several miles for free. Contact your local power squadron. I have those attached to my inflatable PFD devices. A newer, good, Type-I PFD has a small LED-light and whistle included. I only carry four Type II and two Type II [Type-I perhaps?] inflatables rated for 36-lbs on board; all six have whistles; one has a light; all have reflective patches.


Whistle heard for several miles? Maybe in a vacuum.
I have probably 2 dozen Type 1 lifejackets in my basement. Although they are great to have, on a small boat they just take up too much room. Rather then have large lifejackets buried somewhere where they fit, I'll wear the inflatable or my float coat depending on the weather. I do have room to stuff two Type 1's up in the bow, so they are on the boat, just not as quick to get at. Although, if conditions warrant it, I will have them handy. My personal inflatable it a Type 4 with "Type 2" performance, with 35 pounds of lift.


Dutchman wrote:Don't boat alone in an open boat like a small Boston Whaler boat in inclement weather at night [when] you need to rely on a light, a PLB, and radio on your person. You better have a crew that knows what to do for man-overboard when you are even getting remotely close to a situation like that.

For over 99-percent of the time, a good Type II or I can handle a man-overboard without all the extras attached to it mentioned before.

Use your ignition switch safety lanyard, especially when boating alone and use a life line tether, as we sailors do.


I don't plan to boat alone at night, during inclement weather, when I may have to rely on a light, PLB and radio.

But after 35+ years of coastal ocean waters (mostly NJ and NY) involvement in numerous searches, many overturned or sunken boats (we probably did 5-10 a year), multiple search and recoveries, I tend to want a little preparation.

I don't plan on having a fire, but I carry a fire extinguisher.
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Re: Life Jackets Attachments

Postby porthole » Thu Mar 24, 2016 7:54 pm

jimh wrote:Getting back aboard could be a problem as the boat swim ladder cannot be deployed by a swimmer in the water.

If the sea state was so severe that I was thrown overboard, I would anticipate the reboarding the boat from the water might be difficult due to the motion of the boat in the waves.


You bring up a good point. I wonder how many people have actually tried boarding the boat in open water when it is less then ideal conditions.

I have well over 2000 open water dives, and even with excellent pompier style dive ladders, it can be quite the challenge getting back in the boat at times. And that is something we did 3-5 times a week.
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Re: Life Jackets Attachments

Postby Oldslowandugly » Thu Mar 24, 2016 8:31 pm

When I used to scuba from small boats we had an over-the-gunnel ladder. Even then it was not easy getting up out of the water. What I do carry is a rope with footholds tied every few feet and that is secured to a railing upright. The footholds are made by tying bowline loops and when unraveled extend about six feet under water. I keep it wrapped up and stashed behind the side rails so all I need to do is reach in and grab it then climb the rope back in to the boat. I hope. I also would advise all hands to utilize the safety kill switch lanyard. I was paying for my slip the other day and was told of a sad story. It seems a guy had some sort of health concern and fell overboard. The boat kept circling and the prop hit him in the head as well as chewing him up every time it swung around. They closed off the channel and let the boat circle until it ran out of gas. The lanyard was hanging from the console. He was not wearing a PFD so he sank and was found several days later.

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Re: Life Jackets Attachments

Postby jimh » Thu Mar 24, 2016 8:59 pm

porthole wrote:...excellent pompier style dive ladders...


Are your using the French word pompier to mean fireman?

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Re: Life Jackets Attachments

Postby porthole » Thu Mar 24, 2016 9:18 pm

No - loosely. Pompier - french for fireman, pompier ladder - meaning an open style T ladder, as was used back in the day by firefighters.

Note, last I heard the FDNY was still using pompier ladders as a confidence builder during basic training.
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Re: Life Jackets Attachments

Postby jimh » Fri Mar 25, 2016 5:10 am

Re a boarding ladder with only a center vertical member and steps open on the outer sides, as illustrated above: I always thought a ladder of that type was used for a boarding ladder with divers due to the divers wearing fins on their feet. While wearing fins on your feet, a ladder with open sides is easier to climb up than a conventional ladder.

Thanks for the new term, pompier ladder, which I never heard before.

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Re: Life Jackets Attachments

Postby porthole » Sat Mar 26, 2016 9:48 am

jimh wrote:Re a boarding ladder with only a center vertical member and steps open on the outer sides, as illustrated above: I always thought a ladder of that type was used for a boarding ladder with divers due to the divers wearing fins on their feet. While wearing fins on your feet, a ladder with open sides is easier to climb up than a conventional ladder.

Thanks for the new term, pompier ladder, which I never heard before.


Tee - ladders, ah yup, made for divers with fins. I brought it up as a bit of a comparison. Even though we use ladders that make it easy for divers, and a good example is the picture I posted above, divers can still be challenged getting back on the boat. And "man overboard" is something we practiced everyday. Some dive ladders extend 4-6 feet below the surface and make it very easy to get on the ladder and climb aboard. Especially if the ladder continues up to the gunnel like pictured. But, add the extra dive gear weight and and 2-4 foot seas and it can be a real exercise, if you don't get thrown off the ladder.

So, even though we have an already deployed, easy to climb ladder for boarding, it can still be difficult. Imagine how difficult it would be if a boater falls off his boat and has never tried his boarding ladder in a non stressful situation.

Has anyone here ever tried getting the ladder down by yourself, while floating around in a bulky life vest? Maybe cold or worse cold and wet?
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Re: Life Jackets Attachments

Postby porthole » Sat Mar 26, 2016 10:18 am

Obviously we'll have to wait to see how this pans out. This is from yesterday not far from my general area.

Boaters still missing, U.S. Coast Guard search continues

A good reason to wear a life jacket although it may not help if no one knows you are in the water.
A good reason to make sure your hybrid inflatable is up to date (if that is the PFD of choice)

Perhaps a good reason to at least carry a PLB on your person.

Water temp is in the mid 40's off Jersey right now.
That means:
Loss of Dexterity - under 5 minutes
Exhaustion or Unconsciousness - 30-60 minutes
Expected Time of survival 1-3 hours

The USCG Atlantic City Air Station is 12 miles from the approximate location. "If" it took 10 minutes to get airborne, it would take less then 10 minutes to get to the location. Well within survivability limits "if" the boaters were prepared.

Cold water boot camp is a very interesting program.

This is another cold water example from a deadly season we had off New Jersey in 1999. This incident was not far from my inlet and I was listening to the VHF that night at home.

Briefly, boat sinks, crew in the water, with an operating strobe light, prompt notification of the distress by the vessel and other vessels nearby, USCG helo overhead within an hour, plucks a crewman from the ocean, doesn't survive the 20 minute flight to our local trauma center.

Beth Dee Bob
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Re: Life Jackets Attachments

Postby Binkster » Mon Mar 28, 2016 12:43 pm

I rarely if ever see folks boating in Florida wearing life jackets, with the exception of high speed bass boats in freshwater,
. Wearing a life jacket in the summer here would be very uncomfortable, especially one with all the bells and whistles when fishing. . Of course most carry them to be in accordance with the law. I think a way back aboard is probably more important. Every boat I ever owned, I installed a boarding ladder. Some of the ones commercially sold don't work very well. It was a challenge making one fit on the transom of both my 13 and 15ft Whalers. If the ladders hang vertically, they are difficult to climb. They need to be angled out about the same as a stepladder. I bought a couple of self inflatable jackets a few years ago. I checked them out in my swimming pool. It when off with a bang, and then basically I was helpless in the water, yes it kept my head above water, It almost totally blocked my vision, and it would be impossible to climb back aboard while wearing one.
If you feel you must wear a life jacket when walking or crabbing off a dock, you should stay in the car.

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Re: Life Jackets Attachments

Postby Jefecinco » Mon Mar 28, 2016 1:45 pm

When boating alone (rarely) I don my inflatable PFD before launching the boat and take it off after the boat is on the trailer. It's not uncomfortable in the summer and does not interfere with fishing. I used to wear it when boating with friends but recently bought a belt type PFD which is even less obtrusive. The OEM boarding ladder on our 190 Montauk can be deployed by a swimmer.
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Re: Life Jackets Attachments

Postby WhatKnot » Mon Mar 28, 2016 8:06 pm

All on my boat get an inflatable to wear. Simply, my boat my rules.
Be Safe

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Re: Life Jackets Attachments

Postby fno » Sat Apr 02, 2016 1:00 pm

Having been impressed with the comments made about life jackets and overboard gear, I decided to assemble a rig worthy of many of the comments and choices recommended by others in this thread. Keep in mind that my plans changed drastically when Jimh brought up the possibility of not having enough floatation. I resorted to using two lifejackets rather than one for two reasons: not enough room for essentials and redundancy. A list of my necessary components and reasons for including them:
1. Two standard life jackets (inflatables are expensive and the knives will most likely poke a hole in one anyway)
2. PLB locating beacon ( for a quick (30 mins. or less) and painless rescue by the Coast Guard in between drug interdictions)
3. Newbie diver knife (can also be used as a signal mirror)
4. Stilletto knife ( back up for newbie diver knife, one handed operation, also useful in bad neighborhoods)
5. Cave divers LED light ( 4-5 hour burn time, waterproof to 400')
6. Flare gun, spare flares (no good reason other than it would be stupid to try to fire a flare gun floating neck deep in water)
7. Black Cat firecrackers (2packs) and a lighter (a whistle was not available and and an air horn takes up too much room)
8. Milwaukee brand flashlight ( not waterproof but fits well at the shoulder of the jacket)
9. Bullfrog sunscreen ( for the off chance event that the PLB does "not" summon the Coast Guard to my rescue in 30 mins. or less)
10. Uberti black powder pistol ( in the unlikely event of nautical misfortune in pirate infested waters, not guaranteed to fire after 10 seconds but will make even the hardest pirate take you aboard just to steal it)
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Re: Life Jackets Attachments

Postby Oldslowandugly » Sat Apr 02, 2016 8:31 pm

Nice! The only thing missing is a waterproof smart phone to tweet updates on your rescue.

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Re: Life Jackets Attachments

Postby jackjax » Sat Apr 02, 2016 8:50 pm

Selfie stick maybe?

I do have whistle and handheld gps radio
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Re: Life Jackets Attachments

Postby fno » Sun Apr 03, 2016 11:58 am

Sadly, I do not have a handheld VHF radio presently. The cell phone was handy but I ran out of room even with two life preservers. All joking aside, everyone should watch the Cold Water Boot Camp video posted by Duane on March 23 in this topic. Most of that stuff I had would be of little use after ten minutes in cold water. I also recall an event many years ago before OSHA and NOAA went to bat for commercial watermen. I was shopping in a commercial fishing gear store in San Francisco. An inflatable float jacket caught my eye. The sales guy came over and asked me where I was from. I told him that I lived in New Jersey at the time. We discussed local water temps in California and New Jersey and then he asked me what I did on the water. I informed him that I boated, fished and diving were my activities. Sometimes near shore, sometimes 100-150 miles out. He then asked me how long I was expecting to be floating in this jacket. Keep in mind that this jacket was not approved by the USCG and inflatable PFD's did not exist, nor did EPIRB's and PLB's. His last comment after I paid for the jacket was that at worst case it will make it easier to find my body. He wasn't much of a salesman, but I had to wonder how long he had been on the water....

JTC
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Re: Life Jackets Attachments

Postby JTC » Fri Apr 08, 2016 10:53 pm

I added these strobes to all my inflatable jackets this year: http://www.amazon.com/UST-Marine-See-Me ... B001VIXTS0

I also subscribe to the "must wear or stay on the dock" principle, but fortunately the inflatables are pretty comfortable!

Joe

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David Pendleton
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Location: Saint Paul, Minnesota

Re: Life Jackets Attachments

Postby David Pendleton » Sat Apr 09, 2016 3:34 pm

I wear the transmitter to my Autotether on mine; my knife and other crap is on my belt.