Choosing a PFD

by Rod

in Equipment

PFD stands for Personal Flotation Device, other names you will hear are life jacket or life vest. A PFD gives you more buoyancy to aid you staying a float. The only place for a PFD while you are on the water is wearing it correctly, weather you are on flat water, kayaking on the sea or running a rapid. The condition of your health and the environment can change very quickly and having the PFD in the hull of the kayak will not help you when you need it.
In NSW, Australia, PFD’s are now mandatory for all water craft including kayaks and canoes. In Queensland at the time of writing this there was no such regulations. To me it makes common sense for everyone to be wearing a PFD.

PDF Buy buttonSizing and fitting a PFD.
Pinnacle1Sizing for an adult is not determined by weight but by chest size. For children the size of a PFD is determined by weight. The sizes of PFD’s varies between manufacturers A PFD must be snug fitting but still allow for free movement. It would be a good idea when going to buy a PFD to wear your paddling clothes or something similar. Different manufactures design the PFD’s with different materials, floatation placement and different zip position and strapping. Women should consider a unisex PFD or a specific PFD’s with princess seams, contoured cups for larger bust line and a style made for a longer torsos.

When fitting a PFD:
Loosen all straps and undo all zips, then put the PFD on and do up the zips.
Starting at the bottom tighten all the straps. If there are shoulder straps, they should be tightened last.
The PFD should be a snug fit, that won’t pull up over your head.
Since you can not try floating with it in a shop, you could ask someone to try and pull the PFD up over your head.
If the PFD is fitted correctly the PFD should not rise above your chin and nose.
Next, check if you have enough movement and flexibility and it is not going to cause robbing or chaffing.
If you can also sit down in a kayak or canoe and make sure the PFD is not going to be pushed up obstrucking you movement or even your breathing and vision.

Sizing for children depends on his or her weight (not chest size):

* Infant PFDs: 3.6 to 13.6 kgs
* Child PFDs: 13.6 to 22.6 kgs
* Youth PFDs: 22.6 to 40.8 kgs

Apart from the sizing requirement fitting the PFD should follow the same procedure as adults. Check to make sure it is fitting snugly and is not going to float up over their head.

Some other features a childs PFD could have are.

* A padded head support to help keep their head above water.
* A handle to assist retrieving the child out of the water.
* A crotch strap to help keep the PFD from riding up.

Features when deciding on a PFD to suite your needs.

Gorgefluro1  *Tabs: Look at the number of tabs and their location on the front and back on the PFD. Tabs let you attach a knife, whistle (which is required in many areas), strobes or other accessories.
*Pockets: Consider size and placement. Are there pockets to have easy access to your nicknacks? Is there a pocket for a hydration bladder?
*Color: A bright color improves visibility.
*Reflective tape: This adds visibility in low-light conditions.
*Ventilation: Where will you be paddling? Do you need a little or a lot?
*Fishing features: Some manufacturers offer PFDs with fishing features such as multiple tool hangers, loops for a rod and a drop-down pocket table for working with lures and flies.

Caring for your PFD.
Before using:

* Check your PFD for rips, tears and holes. Check that seams, straps and hardware are in good shape. Give the straps a quick yank to make sure they are secure.
* Check that there is no water logging, mildew odor or shrinkage of buoyant materials. These are indications of buoyancy loss.
* Faded material may indicate loss of strength.
* Put your name on your jacket for easy recognition.
* Check the buoyancy in shallow water.

PDF Buy buttonDuring use:

Gorge1* Don’t use a PFD as a cushion, kneeling pad this will lose buoyancy.
* Don’t put heavy items in the pockets.
* Don’t put sharp objects in the pockets that could put holes in the buoyancy or material.
* Don’t leave the PFD lying in the sunshine for long periods.


After use:

* Don’t use harsh detergents or dry clean a PFD.
* Rinse with fresh water after use, especially after being in salt water.
* Drip-dry before storing.
* Don’t dry it in a dryer or direct heat, heat can destroy the buoyancy.
* Don’t store it in sunlight—UV rays can damage the fabric.
* Store in a cool, dry, dark place where there is good ventilation.
* Older foam PFDs may lose buoyancy and need to be replaced.
* Get rid of old PFDs by cutting them up and properly disposing so a person who finds one does not try to use the faulty PFD.


For more information in Central Queensland give me a call.  0408776405

To check out the PDF’s I have in stock click here.

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