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jbfilms

Inflatable Pfd Question

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If you are thinking you might need one to keep it from getting wet and setting itself off, that's not how they work.  Getting wet or moisture on them should not bother it, other than possible mildew.  They are set off by the difference in pressure when they are submerged a few inches.

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While I very much respect the opinions of Way2slow, I must disagree with him on this issue.  I made the mistake of leaving my Mustang auto-inflate PFD in my boat for a couple of months.  Not only did the PFD mildew badly, it also self inflated.  It no longer is left in my boat any longer than overnight.

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I guess I was being rather narrow minded about the different arming systems and was only looking at how mine worked, it's the hydrostatic, and not thinking about the other 1/2 dozen different arming systems out there. So, I guess the first thing you should do is find out what arming system yours uses. Check out this link. http://www.sailingproshop.com/lifejacket.aspx

Went to their web site to make sure I was not getting confused and found they had a recall a while back on some of their HIT arming systems. I guess if you have been keeping yours up to date, it doesn't mean anything but for those that have the Mustangs here is their recall. http://www.mustangsurvival.com/sites/default/files/pdf/Mustang%20Survival%20HIT%20Inflatable%20PFD%20Safety%20Advisory%20-%20US%20Consumer%20Alert%2004Sept2012.pdf

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I had a Mustang auto inflatable that I won in a BASS Weekend Series tournament several years ago. Got caught in a downpour once and was sitting on the thing to keep it from getting wet (no dry storage in the boat). It didn't work and I almost got blown into the lake when the thing went off. I sold it and bought a manual inflate. 

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I don't know when Mustang started using the Hydrostatic

Inflater (HIT)or if they use it in all models but during the southern summers we have afternoon thunder storms pop up all the time and I've been caught in several down pours with mine. They have gotten totally soaked a couple of times already the last couple of months, and they have never inflated. Just getting a Mustang HIT model wet should not cause it to inflate. I know mine stay in the boat 24/7 and they don't stay in plastic bags. If they didn't, I would probably forget them.

Maybe the sitting on it somehow changed the hydrostatic pressure and caused it to arm itself, or maybe it was a model that didn't have the HIT.

I guess if in doubt, get the plastic bag and keep in it like he was asking about to start with, and take it off every time it might get wet.

However, if he doesn't have one with the HIT, he might want to keep it in a plastic bag anyway.

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It depends on what type you get. As far as I know, almost all the automatic models have a water soluble bobbin that holds back a spring loaded device that punctures the Co2 canister. These can be affected by moisture no matter where it's found, storage included. The rearming kits are fairly cheap, and as long as you're somewhat careful with it, you shouldn't have too many premature inflations.  There may be others by now, but the high end Mustang inflatables use an automatic inflation system called H.I.T. It uses hydrostatic pressure to release the puncture device and must be completely submerged in 4" or more of water before it will inflate. I can attest to the fact this system will not fire in the rain. I've fished in multiple downpours with it on and I'm still on the original arming kit. The down side to them is they cost a bit more to begin with, and the rearming kits cost more, but overall that's offset some by not needing as many. Either system has an expiration date when the critical components need to be replaced. 

 

So to answer OP's question, you probably don't need a bag, depending on what type arming system yours has. If it's a HIT model, you don't have to worry about it being in a storage. If it's a normal automatic, unless you storage is truly a dry storage, you might want to get one. If it's a manual inflatable, you again have nothing to worry about.

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My Auto/Manual Cabela's model just went off in the trunk of my car Saturday night or Sunday Morning.  Saturday I had a tournament, it was sunny and 80, not even a drop of rain...  I always keep it in the garage when not in use, that night was the first time I didn't unpack and just went in after a tournament.  My understanding is that humidity and heat will set them off (IE Hot days in a closed boat locker could be enough).

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