Wednesday, December 10, 2014

Many anglers bringing self-inflating PFDs

Dan and Sharon Sharp got some nice walleye, such as this 24-incher, when they were at camp in June. They are wearing their own self-inflating PFDs which are proving to be a hit with more and more boaters
It was wonderful last summer to see so many of our guests bringing their own PFDs or life vests.
I believe wearing a PFD (personal floatation device) when you are in a boat should be as common and natural as putting on your pants in the morning.
If you are wearing a PFD, nothing bad can happen to you on the water. It's as simple as that.
I see that most people are opting for the automatic-inflating PFD. These inflate with a CO2 cartridge when they are submerged. Some of them actually qualify as a life jacket. The difference being that a life jacket will keep a person's face out of the water even if they are unconscious. Life vests do not do that. They keep you afloat but you need to keep your head erect.
It's almost never an issue. Just about all drowning victims were conscious. But they didn't come to the surface when they reflexively inhaled a bunch of water from the shock of unexpectedly being thrown into the water such as when the boat strikes an object.
A life vest or a life jacket will immediately bring a person to the surface. It's better of course if it will do that even if they are unconscious but if a person will wear a life vest and not a life jacket, which are more cumbersome except for the auto-inflate types, then wear a life vest! If they would wear a camo one rather than an orange one (a better safety colour), then wear the camo one! Do whatever it takes to get in the habit of always wearing a PFD.
I always wear one. Mine is a standard life vest but I like it particularly because it has mesh over the shoulders, something like a kayaker vest although it is made for sportsmen, not paddlers. Mine is brown, not orange, because I like to wear it while duck hunting in the fall.
I fear some anglers think a PFD is a needless expense. For one thing, they aren't expensive. I got mine on sale from Cabelas for $20. Even full price it would only be something like $40. The self-inflating ones now routinely go on sale for about $100.
They come in every size and the various models will fit any body shape or idiosyncrasy. I personally don't prefer the self-inflating ones because I don't like things rubbing against my neck.
Everybody's different but we all sink just the same. And if you haven't been wearing a PFD in the past because you never needed one, consider this: the northwoods is full of stories about people such as life-long trappers who ended up drowning. In all likelihood you will need your PFD just once.
If you don't bring your own PFD to camp, note that we provide life vests to all our guests. These are the standard type. Make sure we find one for you that fits your size. We have them from small to XXL and also have some children's models.
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