Personal Floatation Device

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sunstreaker
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Personal Floatation Device

Post by sunstreaker »

I have been wondering about this for a while, Can anyone tell me why Stand up paddleboarders, kite surfers and lots of windsurfers don't wear PFDs although they go some considerable distance off shore, when kayakers and dinghy sailers are devout PFD wearers usually?
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MikeB
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Re: Personal Floatation Device

Post by MikeB »

Interesting question. Could it be because they tend to tether themselves to their boards, and fall off them? Leaving them with a large flotation device which is easy to climb back onto. Whereas we, and dinghy sailors, fall out of our craft which have then a nasty tendency to potentially go off without us? We generally don't tether to ours because of the entrapment risk.

Which then brings us to "personal water craft" drivers who do wear a BA, and whose craft are supposed to stop when they fall off and/or go in ever decreasing circles round them until they clamber back on.

(If the laws of physics are to be believed, the wretched things should continue to decrease their circles, eventually disappearing into a watery black hole. Ideally with the rider following over the event horizon and disappearing too. Sadly, this doesn't seem to happen).

jamiemagee
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Re: Personal Floatation Device

Post by jamiemagee »

I've had this discussion with someone who paddles sups.

The main reason he gave was paddling in a PFD is uncomfortable and they're strapped to the board. It's also easy to get back on to the board compared to kayaks and canoes

sunstreaker
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Re: Personal Floatation Device

Post by sunstreaker »

it is however the case that many sit on top paddlers wear PFDs except possibly some surf ski paddlers and varying tethering suggestions on both those. Is the comfort issue if paddling a canoe very differerent from a SUP?
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jamiemagee
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Re: RE: Re: Personal Floatation Device

Post by jamiemagee »

sunstreaker wrote: Is the comfort issue if paddling a canoe very different from a SUP?
I suspect not but does it just become benefit vs risk. There will be plenty who paddle a canoe without a BA though. Dynamic risk assessment as British Canoeing put it.

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Re: Personal Floatation Device

Post by sunstreaker »

I picked up a SUP mag and there was not a single BA picture in it, also viewing you tube clips, even those aimed at newbies not a PFD in sight ,this seems a little strange as I have often observed how paddlers and boaters will often berate someone who posts a picture of someone minus a BA or kill cord being evident and often heated exchange follows
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EK Sydney
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Re: Personal Floatation Device

Post by EK Sydney »

In Australia they are now compulsory on all watercraft if you're more than 100m offshore, and it's pretty successfully enforced by the local waterway authorities.

The surfski & OC community were pretty dark about the imposition, but a couple of very smart local manufacturers very quickly came out with some high vis, totally minimalist PFD's that complied, and now everyone has forgotten that it's a hassle to wear one.

I've personally moulded my safety gear around getting it into these low-profile racing PFD's even when I'm sea kayaking, because they are so comfortable & light to wear.

So, if you head down here to paddle you'll see a lot of paddle craft in light, bright PFDs. I think it's the major reason why we've had no problem meeting the new safety regulations.

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Jim
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Re: Personal Floatation Device

Post by Jim »

Most people doing board sports wear wetsuits which have a suitable amount of buoyancy built in, most of us using sit-on and sit-in craft opt for waterproof clothing with no inherent buoyancy and therefore need an additional buoyancy aid.

I have tried kitesurfing in a buoyancy aid when I first started and tried to use a drysuit, it caused a lot more problems and didn't solve any. Wetsuit and no BA was the way forward. The only time you need buoyancy when kitesurfing is if you crash the kite in the water and cannot re-launch it, the standard procedure then is to wind the lines up and use the kite for buoyancy.
Except in strong currents I always found it safer not to leash to the kiteboard, mine offers very little buoyancy anyway, but was always leashed to the kite.

I have always used a BA for SUP paddling, because I'm canoe/kayaker and it just seemed normal, on a couple of occasions I was even wearing my drysuit. Climbing onto any kind of floaty board wearing a BA is more difficult, it is much easier to wear a wetsuit. Leashes are normal on a SUP, but it seems there needs to be some education towards use of waist leashes on rivers where leg leashes can lead to some very scary, if not fatal, complications.

Windsurfers again normally wear wetsuits, they have to climb on a board with a sail in the way, adding a BA doesn't make it any easier. Windsurf and kitesurf harnesses are essentially the same, so the BA is probably going to interfere with hooking in a bit. All of which said some of the guys who jump windsurf boards seem to wear impact vests (and some kitesurfers too) - these have a bit of buoyancy, but are really developed from waterski and jetski to protect your vital organs in the even of falling and hitting the water at high speed - they are often slimmer in profile and designed to wear with a wetsuit because not very buoyant themselves.

Of course there are a lot of people doing all kinds of watersports who dispense with all the above when having fun in warmer climes - boardshorts and nothing else? You will find plenty of people kayaking in similar geat if you look closely enough....

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PeterG
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Re: Personal Floatation Device

Post by PeterG »

I suppose the kit is so reliable these days. Back in the day when mast feet disintegrated I did wear a 'float coat' with 25Newton buoyancy windsurfing after wetsuit buoyancy proved inadequate for doing repairs on the water.

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Re: Personal Floatation Device

Post by Chris Bolton »

When I dinghy sailed in the 1970s, I wore a wetsuit and an inflatable lifejacket, deflated. The sailing BAs of the time were too bulky and would catch on things and make getting aboard after a capsize harder. After I started paddling, I did wonder if paddling style BAs would have worked in a dinghy.

Fast Pat
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Re: Personal Floatation Device

Post by Fast Pat »

Palm has just brought out the Glide for SUPs and ski paddlers.

http://palmequipmenteurope.com/blog/en/ ... atable-pfd

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Re: Personal Floatation Device

Post by sunstreaker »

I feel more informed now about why kite surfers and windsurfers don't wear a PFD. I want to try s SuP and personally will choose to wear a BA, probably also a helmet possibly sped along by the gales of laughter from board shorted surfers. I may try and hide the VHF and flare pack. Rescue knife and survival kit . Anyone else feel they would be underdressed SUPing with no BA?
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Jim
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Re: Personal Floatation Device

Post by Jim »

Depends where and when. I'm pretty sure I see videos of a mate surfing his local river waves without, but on open sea journeys he uses one.... I would take a similar, but more conservative approach because I have less experience than him :)

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Re: Personal Floatation Device

Post by ruralweb »

Many SUPs actually carry a full lifejacket - it's contained in a small waist bag which can be inflated and put over the head.
When racing surf skis most people wear a very small PFD which is fully certified - races usually have multiple safety boats so the risk is minimal.
If you read the certification of pfds they are not certified for the type of use that sea kayakers put them to ie they provide minimal bouyancy and are only to be used close to shore and with help at immediate hand. Once people have crammed all the stuff into the pockets then the bouyancy is even less so they become more of a hinderence. Off shore you really need a proper manually inflated lifejacket - these days they are far more compact than a pfd and cheaper!
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Re: Personal Floatation Device

Post by Irish Sea »

ruralweb wrote: If you read the certification of pfds they are not certified for the type of use that sea kayakers put them to ie they provide minimal bouyancy and are only to be used close to shore and with help at immediate hand. Once people have crammed all the stuff into the pockets then the bouyancy is even less so they become more of a hinderence. Off shore you really need a proper manually inflated lifejacket - these days they are far more compact than a pfd and cheaper!
I wonder how well the manually inflating bit would work in a cold water capsize scenario with cold shock, hyperventilation etc. I would presume it may be quite hard to do anything manually, at least until your breathing has calmed down. Also aren't those lifejackets quite bulky when inflated? Wouldn't they make rescues/reentries quite arkward? Finally there are some things where I don't really want that much more buoyancy. Reentry rolls for example. I find getting myself back in the cockpit upside down is noticeably easier with less buoyancy on me.

On the plus side: Yes, the inflatable lifejackets will probably keep your mouth above the water when unconcious while the usual pfds will not. So I guess for the long term survival without boat or help scenario they are the better choice

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Re: Personal Floatation Device

Post by TheEcho »

I have an inflatable shoulder-worn lifejacket (not buoyancy aid) for offshore sailing. I am not sure if any of the waist-pack inflatable buoyancy aids are certified for sale in the EU.

The lifejacket is enormous when inflated. You cannot swim normally - have to kick on your back. Getting onto a (very buoyant) life raft with one is hard, so I don't see anyone being able to do much on a kayak with one without help.
But manual inflation is just a matter of pulling a handle and waiting a couple of seconds, so that bit is not difficult. Some of them even have face hoods so if you pass out from the cold you won't be drowned by spray.

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Re: Personal Floatation Device

Post by ruralweb »

The inflating lifejackets I'm describing are quite compact and as you say when inflated very big BUT they will save your life when used.

I would never suggest inflating one if you intend trying to roll or do a self rescue - they are for use when those options have passed and you need to survive perhaps several miles out to sea.

The one I have is slightly buoyant without being inflated and more compact than a pfd so doing self rescues is actually easier than wearing most pfds.

Personally I think pfds are of very limited use and I would rather wear something designed to keep me afloat than what is essentially an aid to swimming a small distance to shore.

Most people assume that as soon as you go in the water with a lifejacket it inflates so you get the assumption that they are no use for kayaking. I kayak in all weathers and in winter if your wearing the correct clothing ie dry suit the cold water shock etc does not happen so activation is simple.
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Ceegee
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Re: Personal Floatation Device

Post by Ceegee »

Hmm, here in Ireland, it is a "legal requirement" for "water users"to wear them.

It seems fairly randomly policed, so sail and oar paddled craft are the main targets, whereas no one gives a damn for surfboards or kite boards, who seem to be considered as swimmers.

It gets ridiculous to the point where at our local slipway, there is a sign prohibiting even setting foot without wearing a PFD, so if I am paddling, I can walk to the water's edge, but if I am merely helping someone launch/recover, I cannot.

This is policed with various degrees of enthusiasm by the local water Nazis (sorry, sailing centre staff).

That said I am quite entitled to walk right up to the waters edge (or God forbid even into it) on the sandy beach either side of the slip without a PFD, and nobody gives a to$$.
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sunstreaker
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Re: Personal Floatation Device

Post by sunstreaker »

Ceegee wrote:Hmm, here in Ireland, it is a "legal requirement" for "water users"to wear them.

It seems fairly randomly policed, so sail and oar paddled craft are the main targets, whereas no one gives a damn for surfboards or kite boards, who seem to be considered as swimmers.

It gets ridiculous to the point where at our local slipway, there is a sign prohibiting even setting foot without wearing a PFD, so if I am paddling, I can walk to the water's edge, but if I am merely helping someone launch/recover, I cannot.

This is policed with various degrees of enthusiasm by the local water Nazis (sorry, sailing centre staff).

That said I am quite entitled to walk right up to the waters edge (or God forbid even into it) on the sandy beach either side of the slip without a PFD, and nobody gives a to$$.
What do the water Nazi's do when faces with a stand up paddleboarder with a paddle? And what would they do if he were next to one of those hybrid paddleboard kayaks? Worth a photo!
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Re: Personal Floatation Device

Post by CM2 »

A few weeks ago I had a go on an SUP in the Thames. The people I went with insisted novices wore PFDs but allowed experianced people to make their own choice. They recognise certain situations where a PFD could make things worse (eg dragged under a pontoon then getting stuck) but regarded a lesser risk (a PFD may prevent you getting dragged under the pontoon in the first place).

They actually would not let wear novices wear leashes with the reasoning that on the Thames being seperated from your board was much less of a risk than someone panicking and not releasing it when they had to (they consider them essential at sea).

I like a quote from there website from Trey Knight (I hadn't heard of him but here is a clip of him on an SUP wearing a PFD)
http://distressedmullet.com/2014/12/20/ ... tch-davis/

"There is no rule that can be applied to any and all situations except to stop and think objectively about the risks and rewards of wearing a leash or lifejacket”.

sunstreaker
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Re: Personal Floatation Device

Post by sunstreaker »

Possibly if you came to SUP from a surfing background you don't wear a BA and if you came via a paddling route you do?
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