inflatable PDFs

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inflatable PDFs

Postby Killick69 » Thu Aug 16, 2012 8:06 pm

Recommendations please. I have concluded that the only lifejackets that will be used are the inflatables. So far have recently bought 2 (one has harness). It just so happens they are both Axis brand.

Was looking in Bias today and very confusing, One reason I fancy using different brands is that they are the easily distinguishable (someone's favorite/ locating the auto inflater/ locating the one with harness).
However, if they are all the same brand, servicing could be simplified.

The 2 I have bought so far are both manual inflate and was thinking of getting an auto inflatable one next.

Suggestions welcome, especially related to best brand(s) and ease of DIY servicing. Guess servicing kits cost of the order of $30 and inflatables can be had for $60-$100, so after one or 2 services, just buy new ones?
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Re: inflatable PDFs

Postby Dolphin » Fri Aug 17, 2012 8:51 am

G'Day John,
I just bought a Burke Self inflatable last week.
I do a lot of sailing on my own and have a long row in a dinghy to the boat. I am still a great fan of the standard life jacket as they will protect you from knocks and bruises but they restrict your movement around the boat. Particularly if and when you crouch down, the standard PFD hits you under the chin. Like going in and out of the companionway!!
Whitworths have a Burke self inflate with a harness for about $160. Servicing is done every year, involves inspecting the CO2 cartridge and the trigger device. Servicing can be done yourself but every 3 years they recommned that it be done by a qualified person or company rep. I went with Burke because they are Aust and hopefully the company will be around for a while. Inflatables do have a use by date 10 years I think. Full service is $50 for the cartride and automatic trigger. Another reason to hang on. You can remove the automatic trigger if you wish.
Re different styles of life jacket for different people, I'd use the same type, just mark the jackets so people know which is which as the fit is most important to the correct operation of the jacket/harness. It could be a number or a name on the jacket and get people to put them on when they first get on the boat and know where they are stored. Most importantly write the name of the boat on the life jacket! You only need to carry one spare service kit if a jacket is triggered.

If the ka ka hits the fan and the authorities find a life jacket with the boat name on it, it confirms they are looking in the right area. You should also do that with anything that floats, torches, hatch covers, pillows etc.
Hope it helps, for what its worth.
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Re: inflatable PDFs

Postby lockie » Fri Aug 17, 2012 2:22 pm

I think the Australian Yachting mag did some reviews of inflatable PFD's a while ago. Not sure how long ago - have a squiz at their website.

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Re: inflatable PDFs

Postby Gramps » Fri Aug 17, 2012 5:20 pm

I have been looking at the inflatables for some time and have decided to go with the Burke. As Greg says, they are an Aussie brand and there is a much better chance of getting the correct replacement cartridge. I also decided that for the money the Burke with the harness package is the best choice because it is another advantage for a single hander if you want to clip on while working on board.
Yes, I know Greg, I don't need it in the berth at the Club, but I got my mooring approval for the Rathmines shore of Kilaben Bay this week and the mooring went in this morning so I will also wear my inflatable when rowing out to the boat.
I leave for Q'land tomorrow morning for a few weeks so I can't move Azzura until I get back, but I am really looking forward to just dropping the mooring and sailing off after doing the hornpipe routine around the deck to drop the lines in the berth!
By the way, I used Mr. Moorings as you and Bear suggested and got very quick service.
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Re: inflatable PDFs

Postby Shaun » Fri Aug 17, 2012 6:13 pm

I went for the manual RFD, when it was on special at Bias, however in hindsight shoulda gone for one with an integrated harness, as I always wear a harness when solo, it does get cumbersome wearing both.

Good on ya Sean, great spot Kilaben Bay!.

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Re: inflatable PDFs

Postby Ianb » Fri Aug 17, 2012 6:29 pm

The Burke inflatables are actually made by a Scandinavian company, Baltic, but are still good quality. If you track down the manufacturer's web site they have instructions, for doing the inspection yourself. Need to have an accurate weighing balance to check the cylinder, (33 grams) but even my $30 kitchen digital scale works for that.
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Re: inflatable PDFs

Postby Killick69 » Mon Aug 20, 2012 8:49 am

Next item on my list is a tether, so would appreciate hearing what members of the forum suggest.
What length?, 2-point? elasticised? brand?
Thanks, John
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Re: inflatable PDFs

Postby Swift » Tue Aug 21, 2012 1:32 pm

Hi John

I reckon that for narrow beam boats like Top Hats 3 hook tethers are a must. The long tether clipped to a pad eye at the forward end of the cockpit floor provides full freedom of movement in the cockpit and also allows you to enter and leave the cabin while still clipped on. For going forward the short tether attached to jackstays on the cabin top will prevent you falling overboard and if the jack stay is adjusted just right you can lean back at the mast with both hands free. With regard to the last point that's why I use wire jackstays instead of rope or webbing. I found by experience that rope stretches too much especially when wet. I have read that the same thing applies to webbing.

In a pinch you can get by with a single tether by shortening it when going forward. This is accomplished by looping it around the jackstay and then clipping it back on the harness. The downside to this is that If done frequently there is a risk of abrasion in the centre of the tether. Additionally this highlights the problem with all single tethers in that there will be a moment when transferring from the cockpit to the deck where you won't be clipped on at all.

I have the standard 3 hook Bourke tether but next time I will pay the extra $40 for the elasticised line. The more expensive Wichard tethers are worth considering because the safety hooks are easier to operate with one hand, also they have a snap hook at the harness end so that the tether can be released under load.

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Re: inflatable PDFs

Postby Tales » Sat Sep 01, 2012 2:36 pm

Here is the link to the specific Burke inspection instructions

The last page has an inspection certificate which is a handy checklist when doing the annual inspection.

The green Manual Firing Indicator is available from Whitworths (5 for $10) use one per year.

The cylinder should not deteoriate if kept clean and dry.

Salt water can be washed off after use.

We use the PFD with the harness so we can hook on when necessary.


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