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Old 02-22-09, 01:35 PM   #1
TroutDog
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Question Inflatable PFD - Manual / Automatic Pros/Cons

Seeking input regarding inflatable PFD(s). I am considering one of these and am concerned about automatic deployment when not needed. I am not most graceful fisher in the world and sometimes I get a little wet. Any insights / experiences would be appreciated.

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Old 02-22-09, 01:43 PM   #2
OldDawg
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I own a manual inflatable. I was concerned with the possibility of an unwanted deployment if the vest got wet. I do not know the frequency of unwanted deployment but it seems it could happen. How likely is it you will be incapacited when you fall in? The manual pfd is also cheaper.
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Old 02-24-09, 01:43 PM   #3
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I have one from Cabelas, I believe its the guardian automatic model. First float trip using it, I accidentally triggered it, scared the heck out of me. It is really sensitive. Had to purchase one of the rearm kits.
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Old 02-24-09, 02:32 PM   #4
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I wrestled with the idea of a auto or manual for a long time. Here was my thought process and what I decided with.

Pros:
Automatic- inflates automatically if I slip hit my head and am knocked out

Con:
Manual- if I am knocked out, how am I going to pull the cord to inflate?

Pro:
Both small and unobtrusive

con:
Automatic-if it starts raining may deploy

Pro:
Manual-doesn't deploy until I pull the cord. Let it rain.

Price
Both auto and manual more expensive than traditional pfd


Long story short I decided upon getting a traditional PFD. I just couldn't justify spending money on something that if in a worse case scenario (slipping and getting knocked out) that I had to rely on technology to save me. The frugal side of me was leaning towards the manual, but the safety side of me leaned towards the automatic. But then I fish in the rain and I'd need a traditional PFD so it wouldn't deploy. I found a vest style with mesh uppers over shoulders and it really doesn't get in the way. Least expensive, could use it rain or shine and it worked regardless of if I was knocked out or not. Three pro's in my book.
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Old 02-24-09, 04:43 PM   #5
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I have the stearns belt and love it. I don't even realize I have it on and I can still use my orvis vest above it with no problems.
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Old 02-24-09, 05:43 PM   #6
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I wonder how well the belt type would work if in a float tube. I don't think it would be effective. As far as the manula vs. auto, I'd say get the auto and the times you don't want to use it disable the auto feature. I'm not sure if that is a possibility but it would be cool if it can be done.

Baldea:

I hope you decide to get an auto inflation PFD so the following event can take place:

Baldea: Hey GB, why are you handing me $20.
GB: So I can do this.... (GB pushes Baldea down in the water causing the vest to deploy)

GB: Walks away and mutters to himself... absolutely worth it.
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Old 02-24-09, 07:50 PM   #7
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I have the belt type PFD that I wear when fishing from the driftboat.....looks like a fanny pack. It's a manual deal with a yellow "tee" handle that works like a rip cord. I like this setup and hardly know I have it on. You do have to be careful that the little yellow handle / rip cord does not get hung up on your boat cushion or swivel seat......when you suddenly stand up....else it will deploy and scare the snot out of you. A replacement cartridge is about twenty bones.

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Last edited by Drifter; 02-24-09 at 07:52 PM.
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Old 02-24-09, 07:58 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Gatorbyte View Post
Baldea:

I hope you decide to get an auto inflation PFD so the following event can take place:

Baldea: Hey GB, why are you handing me $20.
GB: So I can do this.... (GB pushes Baldea down in the water causing the vest to deploy)

GB: Walks away and mutters to himself... absolutely worth it.
See if you wore one the only difference would be I'd hand you $40 so I could push you in the first time and then when I stopped laughing I'd do it again! Definetly would not "mutter" it would be a full belly laugh to make sure everyone within earshot would know what just happened. And I forgot the part about taking my camera out first and betting the video going.

Now thats entertainment!
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Old 02-25-09, 08:07 AM   #9
huntfish
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I've got both.....I use the manual inflation while wade fishing and the auto while in the bass boat.

Also, get a few replacemtn cartridges and TEST it prior to using it.....My first SOSpenders didn't inflate when I tested them. Better in the pool rather than when I actually needed it...
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