I don't want this post to be received wrong.
It is simply meant to be an informative post about what I believe to be a good deal that I found online.
I want my fellow TFF Family and Friends when they are on the water to be safe and I encourage you all to wear your Life Jacket "At All Times" while on the water.
I know that some believe that as long as the Life Jacket is in the boat that is good enough. Until it isn't.
It only needs to be worn while running. All great until it isn't.
Everyone is entitled to their own opinion on this subject.
I have made my opinion known already in that I believe a Life Jacket should be worn "At All Times" while on the water with no exceptions.
When it comes to buying a Life Jacket it is just like anything else in the retail fishing world from poles, fishing line, baits, reels, and so forth.
There is something to pick from the vast online catalog that can fit everyone's budget and/or needs.
When I started Crappie Fishing on a regular basis I had your standard Life Jacket that was bulky and hot to wear, but hey at least I had a Life Jacket.
Then I eventually graduated to a brand called ONYX that I got at Bass Pro and it was the light weight inflatable life jacket that you had to manually pull the tab to have the jacket inflate. They were around $100 give or take a little. Comfortable and light to the point you forgot you were wearing the Life Jacket. We got them in Red.
Then Dad read an article where some fisherman got tossed in the water on accident and got knocked out when they hit the water.
I don't remember all the details, but my Dad went down to Bass Pro and picked up a couple more ONYX brand at Bass Pro that "Automatically Inflate" should you hit the water.
He picked up a couple Dark Blue ones. I think they were $125 give or take a little.
Prices might have even come down since we bought them or possibly went up.
Our ONYX jackets are great and I have nothing negative to say about them. They serve their purpose.
I watched awhile back, but sometime in the last year an episode of the "Shark Tank" where entrepreneurs come on the show and try to get one of the Shark's to sponsor a product they are selling and they are trying to go big with whatever their product is. There was a gentleman that had some sort of neon streamer he was selling that if your boat sank in the ocean you would deploy this streamer that floated. He showed a stranded boater in the ocean and took a picture of them from a helicopter. You could easily miss the stranded boater because they blended right into the ocean. The stranded boater looked like a pepper flake on a black plate while in the ocean.
Then he took a picture of the stranded boater with this 12 foot neon streamer and the stranded boater jumped out in the ocean like a strobe light in the water. Wow!
We fish lakes and it is not quite as critical as being out in the vast ocean should your boat sink.
Usually other boat traffic on the water etc.
But that episode got me thinking about "What If" something did happen and we were ejected from the boat and into the water unexpectedly.
Would other boaters be able to see me in the water? In good daylight probably. If another boater saw us go in probably.
But what if it was right at sun up or sun down or even at night?
How would I look in the water in a darker light situation?
My Dark Blue Life Jacket on me while in the water in a darker light situation I would be nothing more than a speed bump in the water.
It really got me thinking about being "Seen" should I end up in the water unexpectedly in an accident.
You can get your Life Jacket in Blue, Red, Black, Camouflage, and so forth. Just about any color that you could think of is available in the market.
I wanted something "High Visibility" like something First Responders wear while on an accident scene.
I have been on the lookout for quite sometime for an upgrade to our current ONYX Life jackets.
It needed to be High Visibility though and that really was the main reason for the search for an upgrade to my current ONYX Life Jackets.
I just have not been able to find the right life jacket that I envisioned wearing until just a few days ago.
I was looking for something that was "Top of the Line".
I knew that when I found the right Life Jacket it was going to cost me some $$.
Something that was well made, light, comfortable to wear.
Above all it need to be a High Visibility Life Jacket!
A Life Jacket that should I ever have to use it would make me be seen by others while in the water.
Especially in a darker light situation.
If anyone is interested I finally found the perfect High Visibility jacket that I have been looking for.
A company called Mustang Survival makes the jacket. They have been in business since 1967.
If you go to their web site you will find the jacket under Inflatable PFD's and under "For Professionals".
It is the Mustang MD3183 T3 High Visibility Jacket. They do not sell directly you have to find a vendor.
The cheapest place that I could find was www.hodgesmarine.com
out of Florida. $268.21 plus $4.95 Shipping for 1-6 business dayshttps://www.hodgesmarine.com/Mustant-Md3183-T3-High-Visibility-Inflatable-Pfd-W-p/musmd3183-t3.htm
The price for the jacket ranged from $271 to $650 online. It was really all over the place and the few vendors that were close to Hodges Marine wanted up to $25 shipping.
I know it is not a cheap life jacket by any means, but if it saves my life someday should I have to use it then I figure it will have more than paid for itself.
The jacket arrived today and it is no doubt a very well made Life Jacket.
It has an indicator that shows it in the Green and Tells me it is in good working order.
I can pull a manual pull tab to inflate. It has a blow tube to inflate.
It will automatically inflate if submerged in 4 inches of water. That way rain, spray, etc. don't cause it to inflate.
The entire neckline is neoprene.
Has a D-Ring for you to hook up your kill switch.
It has a way for you to attach a strobe and a whistle should you want too.
I have to say overall that I am very impressed with Hodges Marine and my new Life Jacket.
If you are in the market for a new Life Jacket thought I would let you know where I found a good deal online. I wanted to share why I upgraded.
Not saying you have to get one like mine, but thought if anyone was looking to upgrade then you might possibly be interested in the Mustang MD3183 T3 High Visibility Jacket.
I got the neon yellow/green and they have an orange as well.
I just want everyone to be safe and return home Day or Night to their families after their time on the water.
I hope I never have to use the jacket in the water.
Thanks for letting me share.
There was a recall notice for the jackets made in 2014. Mine was made in 2017 and the recall does not affect the new jackets.
Possibly Shut Up and Fish or Tommy Ezell with Thumpers might be able to become a vendor for Mustang and offer some good prices to TFF.
I don't know if that is a possibility or if they are even interested, but those are two vendors I will use here in the DFW area for Crappie supplies when I am looking.