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Auto-Inflatable PFD Suggestions

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Old 12-03-2018, 12:40 PM
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Default Auto-Inflatable PFD Suggestions

I have seen these becoming a lot more popular and my wife wants to get me one to wear on the boat, especially when Im alone. I saw some similar threads in my search but they were mostly more than a year old so I wanted an updated thread.

Most of my boating is inshore or nearshore South Florida and the panhandle. I definitely want an auto inflate over the neck style but I havent decided on hydrostatic or the dissolving bobbin. The hydrostatic ones (only mustang HIT as far as Ive seen) are significantly more expensive but I like not having the risk of it going off in FL humidity or in the rain. Has this been a significant problem for people who have gotten the bobbin as some of the vests say "will not inflate in rain or humidity" or "can be worn in the rain"

The bobbin pfds I am considering now are below. I would appreciate any advice or experience and if there are some pressure activated ones at a competitive price point then I would like to see those too.

https://www.westmarine.com/buy/west-...iABEgIs1fD_BwE

Fawcett Boat Supplies

https://www.cabelas.com/product/CABE...E&gclsrc=aw.ds

https://www.walmart.com/ip/Onyx-Outd...iABEgINDfD_BwE
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Old 12-03-2018, 02:39 PM
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I've been using the Mustang with HIT inflator for years. IMO Mustang is one of the best but also expensive but what's your life worth?
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Old 12-03-2018, 03:01 PM
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Originally Posted by tarpononecharter View Post
I've been using the Mustang with HIT inflator for years. IMO Mustang is one of the best but also expensive but what's your life worth?
I second this.

Whats the difference? 100? Better technology, longer repack life.
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Old 12-03-2018, 03:53 PM
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Originally Posted by tarpononecharter View Post
I've been using the Mustang with HIT inflator for years. IMO Mustang is one of the best but also expensive but what's your life worth?
Its my wife buying and shes got a $1.5m life insurance policy on me, so I dont know. I get what youre saying, but like anything I would like to be informed about it. If the dissolving triggers have serious problems then I will definitely go for the HIT but I dont know anything about any of it.

The mustangs are also more than what we have agreed on as a limit for each other for Christmas since we have a lot of other people to buy for as well.
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Old 12-03-2018, 04:13 PM
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I use a West marine belt model. It could be said it is not the best for survival but i can leave it on all day and not think about it. So better to have something then nothing. I just can’t wear one around my neck all day. Sell for about $50.00
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Old 12-03-2018, 04:28 PM
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I bought two of the ones that use the tablets and found that it can get humid enough in my cuddy to dissolve the tablet, and then I found out it's not cheap to recharge them.

If you can, try some of them on before your wife buys one for you.

They all have buckles, snaps, velcro and other things that can irritate the snot out of you, I can't wear the one my son uses and he can't wear the one I use.

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Old 12-03-2018, 05:05 PM
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I have been using inflatable life vests for many years--including offshore on trans-oceanic passages--and have never had one go off accidentally.
I prefer the 35# buoyancy ones--the only which fits that (at least in the specs) is the Cabelas unit.
I also have a DSC submersible VHF radio and PLB clipped to my inflatable PFD. If you are in Alabama you are required to have the safety lanyard clipped to your person when operating an open boat. You might consider that good practice in Florida also. There are a few stories around of people who have survived after being thrown out of a running boat, where the boat kept on going. But there are more where the person was lost. How will you call for help, if you fall overboard?
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Old 12-03-2018, 05:15 PM
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I had a dissolving on go off on a small puddle on the deck. So I'd pay the money for a Mustang. That said I never replaced the tab just the co2 cartridge and use mine as a manual inflate.

Another safety thing needed when boating alone is a good kill switch. Maybe a remote one.
https://www.boatus.org/findings/42/
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Old 12-03-2018, 05:27 PM
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First time replying to anything here. I was a lifeguard in my younger days and a college swimmer. An All America 400 IMer and National Champion of my age vintage out of Kenyon College drown when he fell off his boat off Cape Cod a few years back. Don't be a moron, buy the best dam life jacket, preserver, PFD you can get.
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Old 12-03-2018, 05:30 PM
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I have Mustangs and Cabela's. I find that the Cabela's is more comfortable
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Old 12-03-2018, 06:19 PM
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I'm voting for the mustang hydro's myself, most agency's working the water use them and I am on my second one now, the only thing i don't care for is neither of mine have had a good pocket to stow a plb in, hopefully the newer models do.
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Old 12-03-2018, 06:57 PM
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Love my Mustang, worth every penny. Getting one for my youngest son for Christmas. You get what you pay for.
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Old 12-03-2018, 07:04 PM
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Don’t get an inflatable PFD that is not automatic. I was wearing a manual inflate when I was ejected from a boat and couldn’t locate the pull cord to inflate. That will NEVER happen again.
I currently use a mustang tablet auto inflate with a hard plastic loop for hooking a kill switch lanyard. I also have a couple of Onyx tablet style for passengers. In the past few years, I have had a couple of accidental inflations with PFD,s left out on the boat. I keep my personal PFD in my truck and have never had an issue with accidental inflation.
if I buying one today, I would get a Mustang hydrostatic inflate with the loop for attaching a kill switch lanyard
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Old 12-03-2018, 08:05 PM
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been discussed many times: https://www.thehulltruth.com/search.php
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Old 12-04-2018, 08:58 AM
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Mustang HIT, they can be had at Academy sports for about $150. They appear to be well made and are comfortable to wear all day. I have not (knock on wood) needed them yet. The only downside I can see is the recharge is about $85 as opposed to the dissolving type that are in the $25 range.
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Old 12-04-2018, 09:02 AM
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Revere ComfortMax PFD, auto inflation is best in boating applications. 35lbs of buoyancy and is very comfortable.
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Old 12-04-2018, 10:12 AM
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Originally Posted by VesselCalling View Post
Don’t get an inflatable PFD that is not automatic. I was wearing a manual inflate when I was ejected from a boat and couldn’t locate the pull cord to inflate. That will NEVER happen again.
I currently use a mustang tablet auto inflate with a hard plastic loop for hooking a kill switch lanyard. I also have a couple of Onyx tablet style for passengers. In the past few years, I have had a couple of accidental inflations with PFD,s left out on the boat. I keep my personal PFD in my truck and have never had an issue with accidental inflation.
if I buying one today, I would get a Mustang hydrostatic inflate with the loop for attaching a kill switch lanyard
You are a fortunate and now a wiser boater. I spend many hours on the water and although the use of inflatable PFD's is increasing, I'd still estimate their use at less than 5%. People just don't think an accident on the water can happen to them until it does and then it's often too late. I boat in SWFL and in the 20 years that I have been boating there have been fatalities in this area every year. I commend the OP for asking the question about opinions on what is best but when I then read he is worried about exceeding his budget for Christmas gifts I'm more than a little perplexed.
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Old 12-04-2018, 10:19 AM
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Originally Posted by mauricetrosclair View Post
Mustang HIT, they can be had at Academy sports for about $150. They appear to be well made and are comfortable to wear all day. I have not (knock on wood) needed them yet. The only downside I can see is the recharge is about $85 as opposed to the dissolving type that are in the $25 range.
I went to Academy Sports website and the only Mustang PFD with and HIT inflator is $239. If you know of a Mustang with HIT for $150 please post a link. That's a great deal.
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Old 12-04-2018, 10:26 AM
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Hmm, I wonder if they were on sale, I bought three of them in March, they are black and yellow.

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Old 12-04-2018, 10:33 AM
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I know this is about inflatables but I want to put my two cents.

I understand the comfort part and an inflatable is better than nothing but what happens if it doesn't inflate?
I know most people will say keep them up-to-date and all that but
It happened here last year and the guy drowned.
I wear a ski style vest all year long even when it's hot as balls.
The only issue with that style is it doesn't hold your head up if you're unconscious.
I think I spent about 30 bucks. Ive had it for 5 years and it still looks brand new. No maintenance just keep it clean and dry.
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