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View Poll Results: Do you use a PFD when paddling?
Yes 163 75.81%
No 52 24.19%
Voters: 215. You may not vote on this poll

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Old 05-17-2010, 11:44 PM   #21
ALGonquin Bob
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Always.
The more experience you get on the water, and the more you know about paddling, the more likely you will always wear a PFD. In my experience, it's the newbies who don't and won't wear a life jacket. Last summer, while practicing self and assisted rescues, I was in the water and took off my PFD. It is very difficult to put on while you're in the water. Add to that the chaos of a capsize, and it's not likely that a swimmer will be able to put on a life jacket in the event of a capsize.

Edit: Note that I usually paddle in large, deep bodies of water. If I was paddling on a narrow, shallow stream.... I would still wear it.
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Old 05-18-2010, 08:11 AM   #22
Adk Keith
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Put me in the always group. I have a small Sterns belt PFD that I will often leave on during carries as well.
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Old 05-18-2010, 09:36 AM   #23
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Now I feel like I've been driving around without my seatbelt on!

The response is kind of surprising, frankly, so I'm glad I asked. I was expecting that a small majority would say yes, but not a pretty much unanimous response of yes.

As for my lame excuses and rationalizations as to why I don't:

1. I'm always on flatwater - if I were ever in rocky sections where I felt there was a higher probability of dumping my boat and knocking my head, I'd wear one.

2. Whenever I'm on large bodies of water, it is in some sort of clunker tank of a row boat or guide boat, which are a heck of a lot more stable than canoes. If I were in a canoe, I'd feel compelled to wear one.

3. Within my immediate family no one else uses them, and as kids we were only mildly encouraged to wear life preservers, which seemed to date from the 1960s.

4. Dumping the boat seems like a very, very low probability event, and I like to keep it that way. This means treating snags with respect (opting to drag the boat through the brush, rather than trying to go over it), not doing anything idiotic like standing up in the boat to make a cast (the only time I ended up in the water, that's what I was doing), and staying off the water when conditions are sketchy.

ALL OF THAT SAID, it seems like a PFD should be on my list of gear to buy this season. Thanks for the responses!
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Old 05-18-2010, 09:42 AM   #24
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Originally Posted by fisher39 View Post

ALL OF THAT SAID, it seems like a PFD should be on my list of gear to buy this season. Thanks for the responses!

Keep an eye on SteepandCheap.com - I just bought one there. Haven't received it yet, so don't know what I'll think, but it looked like a better option than what I had before.
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Old 05-18-2010, 10:00 AM   #25
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ALL OF THAT SAID, it seems like a PFD should be on my list of gear to buy this season. Thanks for the responses!
Spend a bit of time going to shops and shows and look at your selection. There are many out there. A decent Fishermans PFD might be a good choice if you are active fishing on the water allot.
So many choices and many different fitments and options. Don't be afraid to spend more than you were hoping too. For many a top of the line PFD is a one time purchase and buying the one that really suits you will make it more attractive to wear.

Years ago I did allot of paddling in a barge and sat on my cheap PFD as a cushion. Not anymore, I wear an MTI Play, fits me fine and has a great selection of pockets that are always full. Now it is a PIA if my vest is not on me.
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Old 05-18-2010, 10:59 AM   #26
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Originally Posted by Awetcanoe View Post
Spend a bit of time going to shops and shows and look at your selection. There are many out there. A decent Fishermans PFD might be a good choice if you are active fishing on the water allot.
So many choices and many different fitments and options. Don't be afraid to spend more than you were hoping too. For many a top of the line PFD is a one time purchase and buying the one that really suits you will make it more attractive to wear.

Years ago I did allot of paddling in a barge and sat on my cheap PFD as a cushion. Not anymore, I wear an MTI Play, fits me fine and has a great selection of pockets that are always full. Now it is a PIA if my vest is not on me.
I think you hit a key point....comfort is critical, otherwise you're less inclined to wear it. Last year when I bought my kayak I bought a water-ski type jacket...big thick thing, and not very comfortable.
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Old 05-18-2010, 11:52 AM   #27
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I only wear my very comfortable Stolquist PFD if I'm crossing large expanses of open water & it gets windy. My kayak is very stable, its hull resembles an Iowa class battleship. I don't go on open water in frigid temperatures or in white-water. It's my life, I'll do what I like. I don't need the "man" telling me about the law. It's like helmet laws for bikers. This poll is not accurate. People don't want to be politically incorrect by voting no. Not me. There should have been more choices besides yes or no. Maybe, depends on.. I see more people not wearing them than do when I'm out there. I recall watching on t.v. a rescue of some canoeists who "had" to go out in a storm swollen river, dumped over a dam & got trapped there. A helicopter came to hoist them out & one guys PFD was somehow snagged on something when they started lifting him out. Almost broke his neck.
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Old 05-18-2010, 12:18 PM   #28
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Originally Posted by WinterWarlock View Post
I think you hit a key point....comfort is critical, otherwise you're less inclined to wear it. Last year when I bought my kayak I bought a water-ski type jacket...big thick thing, and not very comfortable.
Yup! I bought mine on the same day I bought my canoe at Paddlefest a few years ago, because of deep discounts if you purchased a canoe. They didn;t have great selection and I picked the one I like best that day. Dumb!!

Should have waited and shopped for the "right" one. I wear mine, but I hate it. That's something that's on my shopping list this year.
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Old 05-18-2010, 12:56 PM   #29
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I have found if you get one that fits properly you do not even realize it is on.
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Old 05-18-2010, 04:04 PM   #30
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Originally Posted by fisher39 View Post
... ALL OF THAT SAID, it seems like a PFD should be on my list of gear to buy this season. Thanks for the responses!
I don't understand. Do you mean to say that you have not at least carried a PFD in the boat with you at all? You should know that it is required to have one for each person in any boat on the water even if you are not wearing it. There could be fine if you don't have a PFD with you. That has been the law since forever ago. And as already mentioned, you are now (as of 2009) required to wear (not just carry) a PFD anytime on the water between 1 Nov and 1 May.

I and many of my flatwater race paddling friends find the Kokatat low profile models to be extremely comfortable and practically unnoticeable to wear while paddling. For whitewater you might want something more head protective than the low profile style.
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Old 05-18-2010, 04:28 PM   #31
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I don't understand. Do you mean to say that you have not at least carried a PFD in the boat with you at all? You should know that it is required to have one for each person in any boat on the water even if you are not wearing it. There could be fine if you don't have a PFD with you. That has been the law since forever ago. And as already mentioned, you are now (as of 2009) required to wear (not just carry) a PFD anytime on the water between 1 Nov and 1 May.

I and many of my flatwater race paddling friends find the Kokatat low profile models to be extremely comfortable and practically unnoticeable to wear while paddling. For whitewater you might want something more head protective than the low profile style.
Never! But I also speed from time to time, only floss every few days, don't change my oil as often as I should, trespass and have "one too many" once in a while. I guess this needs to be added to that long list! Thanks for the recommendations and feedback everyone - it is eye opening and helpful.
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Old 05-18-2010, 04:45 PM   #32
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Wearing a PFD

Quote:
Originally Posted by 8thday View Post
I only wear my very comfortable Stolquist PFD if I'm crossing large expanses of open water & it gets windy. My kayak is very stable, its hull resembles an Iowa class battleship. I don't go on open water in frigid temperatures or in white-water. It's my life, I'll do what I like. I don't need the "man" telling me about the law. It's like helmet laws for bikers. This poll is not accurate. People don't want to be politically incorrect by voting no. Not me. There should have been more choices besides yes or no. Maybe, depends on.. I see more people not wearing them than do when I'm out there. I recall watching on t.v. a rescue of some canoeists who "had" to go out in a storm swollen river, dumped over a dam & got trapped there. A helicopter came to hoist them out & one guys PFD was somehow snagged on something when they started lifting him out. Almost broke his neck.

I'll agree with you on one count only. I don't like laws mandating the use of safety equipment (for adults). If an adult wants to jeopardize his/her life, it should be their choice. That being said, I wear a PFD virtually all of the time, just like I wear a seat belt in the car.

As for the guy that you claim got his PFD snagged during a rescue attempt, there is no validity to that argument. Number one, there is a great likelihood that if he'd not been wearing his PFD there would have been no rescue, only a body recovery attempt. Number two, for every supposed case of a PFD causing a problem, there are numerous instances where they have saved lives. It's like the old seat belt argument where the fear is that the seat belt will cause entrapment. The statistics are so overwhelming that seat belts save lives and minimize injuries that arguments to the contrary are inane.

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Old 05-18-2010, 05:42 PM   #33
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I always wear a PFD. And a drysuit when conditions dictate. I have never heard of a person drowning while wearing a PFD.

I also feel that if you are paddling with others and you choose not to wear a PFD you are putting a great deal of responsibility on your partners for a rescue attempt if needed. Think about the greif and sorrow of others if there was a fatality.

Having said that, I don't beleive in laws governing the use of PFD's for adults. I beleive in education, not mandates.

Last edited by bluequill; 05-18-2010 at 06:18 PM..
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Old 05-18-2010, 06:39 PM   #34
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I'll agree with you on one count only...
I think 8thday's point about the guy in the PFD having to be rescued after going over the dam in a storm swollen river is that the best safety equipment of all is your head - don't get yourself into situations where the PFD is needed. Surely the PFD saved him, but he shouldn't have needed to be saved in the first place.
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Old 05-18-2010, 07:30 PM   #35
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The times I wear a lifejacket are when the water is cold, or the waves are up, or the water's moving fast. On a slow shallow stream near the shore, in good weather, no. I acknowledge that it's safer to wear one any time you're in a boat, but I'll accept the risk of going without if an upset doesn't seem likely and the consequences don't look too bad. But I always carry a PFD in the boat, and I don't sit on it (except while eating lunch on shore).

Also, alcohol and water don't mix. No reaching for the wine box until all the paddling's done for the day.

Having said that last part--I'll edit this to say that the story about the two guys who drowned in Canandaigua Lake wasn't fully quoted here. The full version includes this:

A check of cell phone records found that Mr. Lis made a call at 1:23 a.m. Thursday. Authorities think the boat capsized at about 1:30 a.m.

...[Authorities] are looking to see if alcohol played a role.

Yes, let's hear about the booze. I'd bet money that they'd been drinking.
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Old 05-19-2010, 12:02 AM   #36
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As a local informed me, both were wearing waders to keep their feet dry, but no PFDs; proof of Darwin's theory!
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Old 05-19-2010, 01:01 AM   #37
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Quote:
Originally Posted by WinterWarlock View Post
I think you hit a key point....comfort is critical, otherwise you're less inclined to wear it. Last year when I bought my kayak I bought a water-ski type jacket...big thick thing, and not very comfortable.
Right! I always tell my customers (Gander Mtn.) to buy a comfortable PFD so they will want to wear it every time they're on the water.
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Old 05-19-2010, 01:17 AM   #38
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Originally Posted by 8thday View Post
I only wear my very comfortable Stolquist PFD if I'm crossing large expanses of open water & it gets windy. My kayak is very stable, its hull resembles an Iowa class battleship. I don't go on open water in frigid temperatures or in white-water. It's my life, I'll do what I like. I don't need the "man" telling me about the law. It's like helmet laws for bikers. This poll is not accurate. People don't want to be politically incorrect by voting no. Not me. There should have been more choices besides yes or no. Maybe, depends on.. I see more people not wearing them than do when I'm out there. I recall watching on t.v. a rescue of some canoeists who "had" to go out in a storm swollen river, dumped over a dam & got trapped there. A helicopter came to hoist them out & one guys PFD was somehow snagged on something when they started lifting him out. Almost broke his neck.
So you are suggesting that most of us actually don't wear our life jackets, but felt some pressure to come to this thread and post a false reply? That's a very weak argument, but there is no law requiring paddlers to wear a PFD in NYS, with the exception of children, and the new November to April requirements for small boats. Outside of those requirements, paddlers must only have the PFD accessible if needed, but like I said, if you need it, you probably won't be able to put it on when you're already in the water. Never had my PFD snag on anything, and likewise, I never was trapped in my car underwater and had my seatbelt jam, either. Nobody is trying to make you wear your PFD, but I do think most of us are experienced enough to know things just happen, and we care enough about other paddlers lives that we hope everyone will wear a life jacket. By the way, who's "the man"?
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Old 05-19-2010, 01:24 AM   #39
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As a local informed me, both were wearing waders to keep their feet dry, but no PFDs; proof of Darwin's theory!
That tragedy is too close to home and too recent to make light of, I think, but it's safe to assume they didn't think they would be falling out of the boat, and consequently they didn't need to wear a PFD. This scenario plays over and over again, but as adults, they made their choices that night.
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Old 05-19-2010, 07:05 AM   #40
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As a local informed me, both were wearing waders to keep their feet dry, but no PFDs; proof of Darwin's theory!
I bet it's real fun swimming with sea anchors on.
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