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Example of so-so "PFD" that isn't #14052168 07/04/21 05:52 PM
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Flippin-Out Offline OP
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I put this here for the best distribution as so many bass fishermen buy inflatable PFDs. There have sometimes been discussions of exactly what's legal and what's not. What it boils down to is that Texas recognizes any USCG-approved Type I, II, or III device as a "legal and legitimate PFD" for the purposes of meeting state boating requirements. No other type device is allowed to count as "your PFD" just because it's in the boat.

Here's an item on sale at a popular big-box store for $99.99 right now. I've seen similar products on sale for even less. This one is an example, and certainly not an advertisement:

"Our lightweight, low-profile Bass Pro Shops® AM24 Auto/Manual Inflatable Life Vest provides comfort, safety, and peace of mind. This Bass Pro life vest automatically inflates when immersed in water or when you pull the backup handle. It can convert to manual-only inflation. 200-denier nylon ripstop fabric resists tears and punctures, and a soft neoprene neckline provides all-day comfort. USCG-approved Type V with Type III performance. Imported."


See that "USCG-approved Type V" declaration? That instantly means it is NOT equivalent to any Type I, II, or III PFD you may own. If it's in your boat, it's just a thing, not a legal PFD. THIS is how some people get a PFD citation. This is what they have in the boat, but they aren't wearing it. It "looks" like a PFD, but because it is a TYPE V, it is NOT in the eyes of Texas law. The citation recipient then believes that he is required to have a regular PFD in his boat in addition to his "inflatable PFD" when in reality it wasn't a PFD because he wasn't wearing it, and it's a TYPE V in that case. This wives' tale gets brought up repeatedly here.

See the "with Type III performance"? If you read closely on the required label inside the product, it will explain this "Type III performance" is activated by physically wearing the device. Lay it on the deck, it's a Type V. Pick it up, put it on and zip it up, and bingo, now it's your Type III PFD.

Recognize if you buy a device like this, you must wear it ALL THE TIME on the water. If you take it off, you are subject to a citation. I do not like these devices as they dupe people and they end up getting a citation. If you want to buy an inflatable PFD, do yourself a favor and avoid these Type V devices. Get one actually labeled "Type II PFD" or "Type III PFD" and you will be fine, even if you happen to take it off while on the water. Keep in mind to be legal, they must always be in usable condition, including the CO2 cylinder and activator.

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Re: Example of so-so "PFD" that isn't [Re: Flippin-Out] #14052217 07/04/21 07:00 PM
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Man, can’t you guys just buy a regular old life jacket.

Re: Example of so-so "PFD" that isn't [Re: Flippin-Out] #14052264 07/04/21 08:15 PM
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Or buy a cheap orange type 2 life jacket and keep it in storage.
I don't use inflatables just because they are less safe compared to a type 3. I own a couple inflatables, just don't trust them.


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Re: Example of so-so "PFD" that isn't [Re: Flippin-Out] #14052310 07/04/21 09:19 PM
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What is the most comfortable hot weather USCG-approved Type I, II, or III device?


GOD is good!
Re: Example of so-so "PFD" that isn't [Re: Flippin-Out] #14052312 07/04/21 09:20 PM
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This is very clearly stated on Texas Parks and Wildlife website.

Type V – Hybrid Device


Required to be worn to be counted as a regulation PFD.

Advantages
Least bulky of all Types. High flotation when inflated. Good for continuous wear.

Disadvantages
May not adequately float some wearers unless partially inflated. Requires active use and care of inflation chamber

Re: Example of so-so "PFD" that isn't [Re: pchapin] #14052331 07/04/21 10:02 PM
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Originally Posted by pchapin
This is very clearly stated on Texas Parks and Wildlife website.

Type V – Hybrid Device


Required to be worn to be counted as a regulation PFD.

Advantages
Least bulky of all Types. High flotation when inflated. Good for continuous wear.

Disadvantages
May not adequately float some wearers unless partially inflated. Requires active use and care of inflation chamber


You are correct that "this is clearly stated," What gets most people is they visually look at a Type V and an almost identical inflatable Type II or Type III and think "They are the same, but one is $50 to $150 cheaper than the other." Their visual inspection is fooling them because they are NOT the same. They think they are "buying a PFD." They don't connect it isn't like their non-inflatable Type II or Type III PFD.

It is not really the "least bulky of all types" either. The statement is absolutely inaccurate in that respect. The reason it is inaccurate is that many quality equally-less-bulky inflatable PFDs ARE certified as Type II or Type III. It is possible to have both attributes (more flotation and the least bulk) before resorting to the marginal Type V device.

Re: Example of so-so "PFD" that isn't [Re: Allison1] #14052351 07/04/21 10:32 PM
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Originally Posted by Allison1
Or buy a cheap orange type 2 life jacket and keep it in storage.
I don't use inflatables just because they are less safe compared to a type 3. I own a couple inflatables, just don't trust them.

The officer at TPWD in Austin who is in charge of water safety says he will choose the inherently buoyant PFD over an inflatable every time. As you point out, the inherently buoyant PFD presents less option for failure. I agree as well.

However, you're saying something inaccurate. You say you "don't use inflatables just because they are less safe compared to a type 3." That's a bit off because there are many inflatables that ARE Type III, and even some that are Type II certified. Many people think that inflatables are a different category, as you seem to think, which is wrong. Inflatables are not categorized separately; the fact that a device is inflatable does not preclude it from being certified as Type I, Type II, or Type III PFD if it meets the requirements, which some do. I own inflatable PFDs that are Type II, and also some that are Type III. More accurately, you just don't trust inflatable PFDs - leave out any comparison to Type as that's not why they are less reliable.

I use both inflatable and inherently buoyant PFDs. The inherently buoyant TYPE III PFD connected to my kill switch sits in the driver's seat while I'm fishing. It goes on before I fire up the outboard. I switch to an inflatable only after I stop to fish. I used to fish with no PFD on, but with age and the advent of smart trolling motors concluded it would be a good idea. In a simple tumble out of a drifting boat, I can probably manage to even orally inflate a PFD if the auto-inflate system fails. What I can't do (nor most) is tread water for hours without some type of flotation.

A note to ponder for those who fish alone and think they can get back to the boat on their own: What if you have a "smart" trolling motor that is holding a boat on a spot? If there is a significant dynamic force (wind/waves/current) you and the boat may become quickly separated by a distance that can create a challenge even for a competitive swimmer. If you have the TM on auto following a course or contour line when you bump timber unexpectedly and fall in the water, the boat will be saying bye-bye rather quickly. Are you up for the challenge? These are reasons worthy of consideration.

Last edited by Flippin-Out; 07/04/21 10:35 PM.
Re: Example of so-so "PFD" that isn't [Re: ReelSlow] #14052360 07/04/21 10:54 PM
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Originally Posted by ReelSlow
What is the most comfortable hot weather USCG-approved Type I, II, or III device?

A Type II inflatable vest is the best choice for hot weather comfort while still retaining the best level of safety possible if the goal is to avoid a hot/bulky inherently buoyant PFD. I have one Type II inflatable PFD that has a limited size mesh back and a mesh lining under the vest panels in the front. The mesh seems to help with ventilation, so I like that one for the hottest weather.

As being discussed, the inflatable PFDs are not as reliable as an inherently buoyant (non-inflatable) PFD, but you may wear it when you might decide not to wear the other, so that's to be considered as well. I still use the "old school" vest when running on plane, but switch to a cool and compact inflatable Type II PFD when I stop to fish if I am by myself.

Any Type II PFD (including those that may be inflatable) actually has one advantage point over any Type III PFD (including non-inflatable versions). A Type II PFD is more likely be able to turn an unconscious wearer face-up than a Type III PFD. This is part of the difference in the two type ratings. Some quality inflatable PFDs also offer a level of flotation well above the minimum specified by the USCG that's often barely met by the non-inflatable PFDs of the same type rating.

One little tidbit rarely brought up is use in cold weather. The inflatable models will inflate very slowly, and will never inflate as fully as they will in hot weather. While still legal in winter, I think they should have limited use from a safety perspective. If you have them, consider limited use in cold weather.

Last edited by Flippin-Out; 07/04/21 10:57 PM.
Re: Example of so-so "PFD" that isn't [Re: Flippin-Out] #14052392 07/04/21 11:16 PM
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mine is on from launch to load, too dam old to just float any more.


I also suggest you get the 35# flotation vs the 24#, self explanatory. grin

Last edited by hopalong; 07/04/21 11:17 PM.

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Re: Example of so-so "PFD" that isn't [Re: hopalong] #14052409 07/04/21 11:29 PM
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Originally Posted by hopalong
mine is on from launch to load, too dam old to just float any more.


I also suggest you get the 35# flotation vs the 24#, self explanatory. grin

If it's going to float me, I hope to float in style - with the 35# buoyancy also.

On your note about wearing launch to load: I remember reading about one drowning where an angler's boat was tied up at the dock. He was there by himself, and apparently fell between the boat and dock, hitting his head along the way which incapacitated him. His body was later recovered right there in the vicinity of the boat tied to the dock. You never know what might happen. A PFD may have prevented that tragic outcome.

Re: Example of so-so "PFD" that isn't [Re: Flippin-Out] #14052489 07/05/21 01:50 AM
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Originally Posted by Flippin-Out
Originally Posted by hopalong
mine is on from launch to load, too dam old to just float any more.


I also suggest you get the 35# flotation vs the 24#, self explanatory. grin

If it's going to float me, I hope to float in style - with the 35# buoyancy also.

On your note about wearing launch to load: I remember reading about one drowning where an angler's boat was tied up at the dock. He was there by himself, and apparently fell between the boat and dock, hitting his head along the way which incapacitated him. His body was later recovered right there in the vicinity of the boat tied to the dock. You never know what might happen. A PFD may have prevented that tragic outcome.


I believe there was an older gentleman just last summer who fell, hit his head on the dock and drown here on Lake Conroe.


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Re: Example of so-so "PFD" that isn't [Re: Monty Wright] #14052495 07/05/21 02:00 AM
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Originally Posted by Monty Wright
Originally Posted by Flippin-Out
Originally Posted by hopalong
mine is on from launch to load, too dam old to just float any more.


I also suggest you get the 35# flotation vs the 24#, self explanatory. grin

If it's going to float me, I hope to float in style - with the 35# buoyancy also.

On your note about wearing launch to load: I remember reading about one drowning where an angler's boat was tied up at the dock. He was there by himself, and apparently fell between the boat and dock, hitting his head along the way which incapacitated him. His body was later recovered right there in the vicinity of the boat tied to the dock. You never know what might happen. A PFD may have prevented that tragic outcome.


I believe there was an older gentleman just last summer who fell, hit his head on the dock and drown here on Lake Conroe.

That may be a second one. I live rather close to Lake Conroe; the incident I knew about was one that happened "somewhere else" (distant from me) in recent years, but I don't recall where it was.

Last edited by Flippin-Out; 07/05/21 02:01 AM.
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