May 2011

May 2011
May 2011
May 2011

Inflatable PFDs – The Comfortable Alternative
The best Personal Flotation Device (PFD) is the one you wear. It’s a common expression in boating safety. Over the years, advances have been made in the design, comfort and performance of PFDs. The result? Better choices when it comes to the PFD to keep you safe on or near the water.
We’ve heard the reasons why people didn’t want to wear traditional foam PFDs. Too bulky, downright ugly, too hot to keep on, not to mention they get in the way of enjoying your time on the water.
The newest generation of PFDs are Inflatable Personal Flotation Devices – often referred to as inflatables. They are much more comfortable to wear, stylish and won’t get in the way of your favorite boating activity. When inflated they give you almost twice the flotation of a traditional life jacket.
Some say they are so comfortable you’ll forget you have one on. They are lightweight (less than two pounds), low-profile, flexible and won’t interfere with what you’re doing. The comfortable neoprene collar won’t irritate your neck when worn over a t-shirt. When looking at an inflatable PFD, try it on. Not all fit the same and manufacturers keep making improvements.
Who can use an inflatable PFD? People over the age of 16 who weigh more than 80 pounds. They are universally sized and fit a chest measurement of up to 52”.
How do they work? Each PFD has an inflator mechanism that triggers a carbon dioxide (CO2) cylinder inside it to fill the inflatable cell or bladder.
It also increases your freeboard, the distance between your mouth and the water, which reduces the risk of ingesting water. Inflatable PFDs come with either manual or automatic activation. The manual version inflates by pulling the jerk tab hanging from the PFD at waist-height. The automatic version inflates when it gets immersed. This means if you fall overboard it will inflate within seconds. Choosing a manual or automatic will depend. Manuals are perfect for when there is a reasonable chance you will end up in the water, like when paddling, kayaking or wading while fishing. Automatics are best if you don’t expect to end up in the water and want the security of the PFD inflating within seconds of being in the water. Like on a sailboat or a powerboat.

How does the cell inflate so quickly? You pull the tab hanging from the PFD which causes a small pin to pierce the CO2 cylinder and the gas inflates the bladder to capacity. An automatic inflatable works differently. When you hit the water, a small yellow tablet that dissolves on water contact releases a spring-loaded pin that punctures the CO2. You can also inflate the PFD manually as described above. One concern people have about the water soluble bobbin is that it could inflate inadvertently from heavy rain, wash/spray or exposure to high humidity. This phenomenon can typically be prevented by storing the PFD in a dry and well-ventilated place after use. And replace the bobbin every one to three years.
Mustang Survival has introduced a new inflatable PFD that uses hydrostatic technology that won’t inflate in high humidity conditions. This new Hydrostatic Inflator Technology (HiT), exclusive to Mustang, uses a water pressure valve that only opens if immersed in four or more inches of water. You could be fishing in the pouring rain and it won’t inflate. This new inflator is maintenance free for five years (unless it has been inflated) and you can easily see its status and recommended replacement date through the safety inspection window. If the inflator status indicator is showing green it’s good to go.
Inflatable PFDs are quite stylish and come in a variety of bright, dark and camouflage colors. But once the PFD is inflated you will see that the cell or bladder inside is bright yellow, has SOLAS reflective tape, and an attachment loop for an optional strobe light. This all makes it easy to spot someone in the water. Hence before and after pictures of inflatables look very different. It also has a whistle you can use to alert rescuers.
Check your PFDs between outings to ensure it’s in good working condition. Check the green indicator in the safety inspection window, ensure the PFD is free of rips or holes, and that the Velcro™ or SecureZip™ closures are fully closed. Use some preventative maintenance a few times yearly to ensure your inflatable is in full working order. Use the oral inflation tube (behind the cover) to fill the PFD and leave over night. The inflated cell should be just as firm in the morning as the night before.
If you do end up in the water with an inflated PFD, rest assured it is reusable. Once you let it dry and remove the air, you’ll need a re-arm kit, available from most marine stores. For a manual version you’ll only need a CO2 cylinder, for an automatic version you’ll also need a new bobbin, or new hydrostatic inflator. The kits include everything you need. Instructions on how to re-arm your PFD are included in your PFD manual, with the re-arm kit together with instructional videos on
If you are looking to purchase a new PFD this year, give inflatables a close look. They are a great way to enjoy your favorite activity on the water and stay safe.
1. To re-arm your Mustang Inflatable PFD, unscrew and discard the used CO2 cylinder. For automatic inflatables, remove and discard the used bobbin (yellow tablet).
2. To check that the inflator is fully operational, pull down on the lanyard and see if the piercing head travels freely. Both the head and the lever should easily return to their original position.
3. After using your Mustang Inflatable PFD, always rinse it with tap water to remove dirt and salt. Let dry before re-arming with new CO2 cylinder.
4. For automatic inflatable PFDs, install a fresh bobbin.
5. Make sure the manual lever is in the up-and-ready position and the green indicator pin/clip has been replaced. Screw the new CO2 cylinder hand tight into the inflator. Do not over-tighten as this can damage the internal gasket.
6. Ensure all indicators on the inflator are now showing green.
5. Refold the PFD according to the repacking instructions in the owner's manual.
The specifics of re-arming vary by model and we recommend owners reference the re-arming instructions in their user manual or on our website for more information. Mustang Survival has re-arming videos online so people can follow along. The hydrostatic re-arming procedure is a bit different and can be viewed at:

Huxley’s Run: 

It is a terrible secret to share about one of British Columbia’s icons of fishing. But for the betterment of mankind, I must divulge it now and hope, deeply, that I am not too late to help others suffering from similar maladies. His name is Van Gorman Egan, author of six succulent fishing books, passed away in July 2010, conservationist and one of the most renowned anglers since Roderick Haig-Brown, who was one of his closest associates.
Van, my friends, was an addict. Not an addict of alcohol, of which he dabbled with on an infrequent basis and in amounts not amounting to more than two or three glasses of wine. And it certainly wasn’t drugs of any sort. He even detested taking aspirin. No, my friends, the real and hateful truth is that Van was addicted to a far more pervasive influence than alcohol and drugs. He was addicted to LL Bean.
I first noticed something was awry when I was visiting him while he was not of good health. My ritual while visiting him was to check his mailbox before entering his lovely home on the banks of the Campbell River. Twice a week it seemed there would be a brown plastic bag containing the, um, illicit material. Slippers on one occasion, a lovely jacket on another, shirts, pants — it became a disconcerting list. And it became more so when he would ask me to tuck them into his closet or cupboard after he had longingly inspected them. Because in those cupboards and closet were equally lethal doses of his addiction from past orders.
Van didn’t hurt for money. But I remember a great saying that “wasted money, even to the well to do, is still wasted money and a danger to be avoided at all costs.” That is why most people with a lot of money are tighter than the bark on a hemlock log.
It was an unpleasant conversation. As all addicts, he refused to admit the problem. As all addicts, he refused personal responsibility. “But they keep sending me the catalogues,” he said. “And it’s such wonderful stuff.”
I was perturbed as to my roll in the whole matter. Was it really my business that my old friend had embraced the narcotic influences of LL Bean? I collected his mail. I ran errands for him. I shopped for him. But while he was somewhat physically disabled from doing those things himself, his mind remained sharp — if not dulled by the terrible addiction that afflicted him.
In the end he agreed that perhaps he was being too encompassed. He would, he assured me, be careful on the orders he placed. A request for him to run the orders by me prior to placing them was met with — and I tell you honestly — one of the coldest, iciest glares of which anyone has been the unfortunate recipient.
A different tactic was in order. As the months progressed I would check the mailbox, take the LL Bean catalogues and tuck them into the side panel of my car’s trunk. I thought I was being humorous. I thought I was being helpful.
I walked into his house one ensuing day, and he fastened me with a cold, smiling-but-not-smiling look. He asked for the mail. I gave it to him.
“Funny,” he said, “I haven’t received an LL Bean catalogue for months.”
I let it slide, sat down and we had our usual fascinating conversation. He too had seemed to let it go. He spoke calmly and as magnificently as ever. I listened and learned and left.
I think it was a week or so later when he brought up the LL Bean issue again. I was worried. I thought I had helped him kick the habit. Apparently not.

When I sat down across him he produced three familiar brown plastic bags and handed them to me. In one was a delightful shirt, with a fly embroidered on the chest pocket. In the other was a pair of wrinkle-free dress pants. And the third contained thermal socks, perfect for winter steelheading.
“They’re yours,” he said. “I ordered the wrong size. I think they’ll fit you. No sense in sending them back.”
I am five feet 10 inches tall and weigh about 175 pounds. Van was over six feet tall and closer to 190 pounds. He had a masters degree in biology which, I presumed, required more than the basic understanding of mathematics. The shirt, pants and socks fit me perfectly.
Upon leaving, with my booty clutched to my chest, I thanked him profusely. As I started the car I looked up and there he was in the window, smiling a different kind of smile than I’ve ever seen. He waved and then gave me the thumbs up signal.
The next day I returned, went to the trunk, checked the mail and walked humbly up to the throne at which he held court.
“The post office,” I said, “seems to have held back your LL Bean catalogues until now. Probably something to do with customs.”
“Oh really?” he said, holding out his hands.



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