View Full Version : Inflatable Vests

Westport Jeff
05-25-2006, 07:21 AM
Looking to buy one for myself and my son. I would like to get the automatic type but I am concerned with rain or splashing water setting it off. We fish rain or shine.

Any advice or experiece?

Thanks in advance.


05-25-2006, 08:39 AM
I have one made by Stormy Seas that I like very much. It looks like a nylon vest with soft (lightweight) fleece lining and has 2 zip pockets. You wouldnt know it was an inflatable unless you pull down on the breakaway chest flap to activate it. Its a nice garment that is comfortable so I ACTUALLY WEAR IT. My girlfriend has an SOS suspenders which maybe cooler but I think they look bulky and silly personally. Both will float you nicely, neither has an auto inflator so they dont misfire. My Stormy Seas wasn't CG approved because it isn't passively activated, so I keep other PFD's in the locker to be legal. Hopefully I don't conk my head on the way out of the boat. I wear the vest surfcasting and canoeing all the time- esp on flats wading where you can get caught on he wrong side of a "guzzle". Hope this helps, Jim

05-25-2006, 10:02 AM
I have the SOSpenders automatic - Im wet in it all the time - it's never inflated from rain. It appears to be built so that water has to go "uphill" (e.g. you have to be submerged) for it to fire. I wear mine whenever I fish alone.... Don't leave the dock without it!

Westport Jeff
05-25-2006, 12:23 PM

Thanks, that's what I needed to know.


Fish On
05-26-2006, 05:13 PM
I have a west marine model. fished in the rain and never had it go off. The pellet is well protected. Not to say it couldn't happen though.

05-26-2006, 05:16 PM
I use this model... stows nicely in my waders. I think Joe lyons carries them :jester:

05-26-2006, 05:19 PM
Should have been there the Day my son was giving me crap, I reached over grabed him and pulled the manual release!! Funny as all get out!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

05-26-2006, 06:05 PM
SOSP... World Class Classic pfd features the option to be automaticlly or manually inflated.

05-26-2006, 07:38 PM
I have the sospenders on my boat. I keep them in a front locker on the boat. I did take a wave over the bow in big seas 2 years ago and they both inflated. I had to reinstall new cartridges at about $18 a pop. However, I know guys in RI that fish the rocks and heavy surf and they report no such problems.

I bought a water proof zipper bag to keep them in now and have had no problems. However, the EPO inspected me last year off the Elizabeth's and gave me hell about having my life jackets in a locker and then in a zip bag.

What's a man to do? I have put them on in rough seas and took a lot of soaking spray over my center console and they did just fine. Maybe the first jackets were older and the "tablets" were already breaking down. Dunno.

Westport Jeff
05-27-2006, 08:31 AM
Thanks for all the feedback.

Buying two automatics this weekend.

This is a great site with knowledgable fishermen and boaters willing to share their experiences and advice.


06-01-2006, 08:51 AM
Remember they work best when your wearing them.

06-02-2006, 08:34 AM
Looking to buy one for myself and my son. I would like to get the automatic type but I am concerned with rain or splashing water setting it off. We fish rain or shine.

The ONLY time I ever had an automatic fire was being stuck on the bow of a boat for 30 minutes (repairs) going across the gulfstream in a blow and being submerged up to my neck every 2-3 minutes.

Needless to say I angrily slashes the crap out of those sospenders with my deck knife. :rotfl:

50 knot blow for 6 hours in big boarding seas, never fired.

so neither splashes nor rain will fire them.
i've got an extra bobbin and my sospenders need to be serviced this year so I think I'm gonna hop in the water with them on one of these days just to see exactly how long it takes for them to fire.

06-02-2006, 08:46 AM
if you go in at the right angle it takes about 1 second.
its all about the angle

06-02-2006, 10:41 AM
Most of the time I fish solo, and do run some distances.When I am running I wear a float coat.
When I am fishing from the casting deck I wear the belt type pack It dose not get in your way you don't even know it is there:btu:

06-02-2006, 08:14 PM
Mustang just came out with a new inflating mechanism this year; uses hydrostatic pressure instead of the dissolving pill to inflate.

06-04-2006, 07:57 PM
Just picked up a pair of auto inflatables. My feeling abour the inflatables is that if you go overboard the likelyhood of hitting your head is high. I'ld rather have a vest that inflates when I'm unable to pull the cord.
As far as keeping inflatables in a bag, as long as you have the number of "traditional" PFD's on board, it does not matter what you do with your inflatables as long as the traditionals are accessable.

06-04-2006, 07:58 PM
BTW they are comfortable too!

06-04-2006, 08:47 PM
I use this model... stows nicely in my waders. I think Joe lyons carries them :jester:

Eben, you can't use that model with your waders on!!