View Full Version : Inflatable PFD'S Automatic? Manual? ????

06-24-2015, 10:52 AM
I have a friend that is very concerned, about me NOT wearing a PFD! Yes! I'm old enough to know better, but we are all probably guilty, of not doing this at one time or another.

Anyhow, looking for some suggestions on one of the inflatable's, they sure look a lot more comfortable than the old coast guard type. Not that they aren't good, just bulky and uncomfortable.


06-24-2015, 11:24 AM
I wear a automatic when I fish by myself

06-24-2015, 12:09 PM
What G said, and in the winter. But I wear a manual

wannabe fisherman
06-24-2015, 01:58 PM
I wear one weather I'm alone or with 50 people. I don't swim well and if I'm on the water I have it on.

06-24-2015, 02:08 PM
I wear one (an automatic) when I am fishing alone or have my daughter in the boat. I make her wear one but if I don't have one on, what would happen if I fell in?

I buy mine in late fall or winter (from Cabelas). They usually go on sale and you can pick up a good one for $100.00

Also, they used to only count as a flotation device IF you were wearing it. Now, the new coast guard regulations simply list them as a type I,II, Or III device. Obviously, they recommend wearing them however, they do count if they are in a storage hold.
They do however have to have the following:

In addition to meeting the requirements of paragraph (a) of this section, an inflatable PFD, including the inflatable components of a hybrid inflatable PFD, must be equipped with:
Except as provided in paragraph (d) of this section, a properly armed inflation mechanism, complete with a full inflation medium cartridge and all status indicators showing that the inflation mechanism is properly armed;
Inflatable chambers that are all capable of holding air;
Oral inflation tubes that are not blocked, detached, or broken;
A manual inflation lanyard or lever that is not inaccessible, broken, or missing; and
Inflator status indicators that are not broken or otherwise non-functional.

06-24-2015, 02:11 PM
Mine also have a zippered pocket and I keep a whistle (attached to the zipper via a lanyard) and a snap light (chem light) in each one.

06-24-2015, 02:25 PM
Question? Besides hooking fish occasionally. I manage to hook other things in the boat (PFD's,rope, cloths, myself, etc.). If a hook stuck in one of these $$$$ auto PFD's would it be ruined or what?:dono

06-24-2015, 02:33 PM
Last year I finally bought an auto/manual one. I decided my life was worth $90, even though my wife might not. Bass Pro puts their branded one, actually and Onyx, once in awhile for under $90. In matter of fact it is on sale right now during their July 4 sale.

I was always a big motor only guy, but I wear this from the time I launch the boat until I put it on the trailer.

06-24-2015, 02:57 PM
I wear an automatic one 90% of the time and when by myself all the time. At 63 you never know when you might go overboard and need all the help you can get.:yikes

06-24-2015, 03:11 PM
The autos have manual tube in case auto fails. Allways waer it, alone or not. I work in the marine industrie waer one every day, and have seen them save lives more then one time. If you spend any time on the water you will have or know someone who has fell overboard ( done it myself a few times ). Cheepest insurance you can get. They do make heavy duty, fire proof, but are vary pricie. you can buy 3or 4 for the same. auto is best, you can`t use manual if you arn`t conciuse, or disoriented. cold water in most cases below 70 will knock the wind out of ya, manual hard to do if at all. Inflaetables have a outer shell that holds the air bag they are made to protect the air bag until use.

06-24-2015, 03:26 PM
I fish alone most of the time too. I tried the vest type auto inflatable, but I am tall and the fitall size was just not comfortable. Purchased a Stearns belt type manual inflatable (you must pull the ripcord to inflate it)and wear it all the time in the boat and don,t know its there. It is not reccommended for off shore or "big" water, but will provide floation similar to the old type ski belts that once were popular for water sking. It is CG approved when it is being worn and as I fish small lakes and shorelines, it gives me the protection of a life vest and no way inhibits me while fishing.

06-25-2015, 08:12 AM
I wear my auto all the time, otherwise I might have to trust one of you gubers to save my life. The only thing I didnt like is the belly strap goes across the belly instead of under my gut. I added a simple thin crotch strap to keep me in it in case I am unconscious.

06-25-2015, 11:29 AM
Question? Besides hooking fish occasionally. I manage to hook other things in the boat (PFD's,rope, cloths, myself, etc.). If a hook stuck in one of these $$$$ auto PFD's would it be ruined or what?:dono

A lot of them have a pretty thin outer shell (nylon). That said, the inside bladder is pretty heavy duty. Obviously, nothing is impervious to the occasional error we all make, but I would say you would be safe from an errant hook flying into your vest. More than likely, the barb will get fouled in the outer nylon shell long before it hits the bladder.

CaptainKangaroo might be able to chime in hear as he works in the Marine Industry and I'm sure the vests they wear go through a substantial amount of abuse.

06-25-2015, 01:53 PM
What G said, and in the winter. But I wear a manual

Yes started wearing one this year, a bass pro automatic model very comfortable, it has a ring that you can pull to inflate manually,and has the see threw window with that tells you if charged up so all you have to do if DNR stops you is show him the window on front that's it is in working order. Get them when Bass puts them on sale very happy with mine.

06-25-2015, 02:21 PM
The automatic vest are defiantly the safest but I had 3 in the a dry box in my boat that inflated from humidity after a little over a year. My boat is kept inside when not in use. The recharges were around $30.00 each for that vest. I went to manual.

06-25-2015, 08:42 PM
They can be patched if you do get a hole. Make sure to get the right patch kit. you can test it by manual inflate, let set over night. Then check it. don`t put it in water to check, as it will auto inflate and explode!!

06-25-2015, 09:49 PM
Inflatable, worn while launching kayak and while fishing. Never leave home with it.

Cane Pole
06-26-2015, 11:51 AM
Brenda and I just purchased newer auto models. We purchased the SoSpenders many moons ago, so decided it was time to update. While at the Pyramid BPS in Memphis, she selected the pink BPS model to match the c.com visor hat Slab gave her. I chose the Blue Mustang auto inflate model. It is heavier, but so am I. We always wear our vests.

06-26-2015, 12:08 PM
I have had an my auto for about 8,years. It still shows green and I guess that means it is still ok and would inflate if needed. Is it ok to keep them for a long time as long as it is still showing green?