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drmnbig

Recommend me a lifejacket.

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I'm planning on buying an inflatable life jacket this year.  I've been fishing off a  bassboat for 13 years and have been lucky enough not to fall in but I know it will eventually happen.  It wouldn't be so bad but I'm not the most competent swimmer.  In the hot summer sun I HATE wearing a normal lifejacket because I sweat like a hog.  I'm hoping an inflatable will make me wear it more often.  Also, I'm no small chicken.  I weight in at over 320lbs and 6'5".  Will just the average inflatable be enough to float me?  

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I'm no expert in this field but there are auto inflate and manual inflate ones.  I think the manual ones are useless because if you fall over and get knocked out, what good is it?

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I would highly recommend the Mustang Hydrostatic. They are expensive but will only inflate if they are immersed approximately 4 inches. They will not inflate due to rain, humidity, etc., like the regular auto inflates. That's why I bought mine. If I couldn't wear it in all conditions, it wouldn't do me any good. I wear it all the time, even in the summer, and forget I have it on. I have worn one of these for several years in all conditions and can vouch for them. As a matter of fact, a year ago I had a steering malfunction and was thrown out of my boat while wearing my Mustang. It worked perfectly and literally saved my life.  

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Most of them state how much weight they can hold up if you look where you are buying them or on the manufacturers webpage. Personally, I have had trouble with the autoinflates (never had the Mustang brand though). I usually have to buy at least 1 new C02 kit a year because they go off when I didnt want them too. Most of the time they accidentaly got wet in a compartment, but I have had them do it for no reason as well. I got them for the same purpose. I don't doubt it would work when you fell in, you just have to be sure your C02 isnt out and it has a yearly cost associated with it (I believe they recommend replacing the cartridge yearly regardless). They are definately cooler though. I went to something like at the website listed below. It has mesh arms so your cooler and move very freely and the waist / chest are a normal lifejacket. Only thing is I dont know if they hold you face up very well incase of knockouts.

http://www.basspro.com/webapp/wcs/stores/servlet/Product_10151_-1_10001_50114____SearchResults

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I also sail during the summer time and I also would recommend the mustang. Here is some info. They are spendy but well worth the money.

Mustang Survival  Inflatable Vest  w/ L.I.F.T. PFD

The Inflatable Vest with LIFT PFD, featured in the Mustang OCX line, delivers a high level of safety for users in variable wind and wave conditions by elevating the wearers mouth out of the water by up to 9 inches (23cm). Known as freeboard, this increase in elevation has been shown to reduce underwater mouth immersions by 80%, increasing the chance of survival in accidental immersion situations.

The LIFT System LIFT [Life-saving Inflatable Flotation Technology] is a revolutionary flotation cell system, designed to lift you out of the water, & keep you there. By elevating the body & maintaining an upright position, LIFT ensures that you're less likely to swallow water caused by rough seas & chop. And by keeping more of you out of the water, it delays hypothermia.

The LIFT cell design delivers over 40 pounds of buoyancy & about 9" of freeboard (distance between the water's surface & your mouth) the highest ever seen in a PFD. LIFT is light, comfortable, & ergonomically designed. You can't even tell you're wearing it until you need it.

A perfect product fit for performance sailors and power boaters, the Inflatable Vest with LIFT PFD is also an excellent choice for individuals who desire added protection. Constructed with a highly durable wind and waterproof fabric, the vest is a lightweight product designed with a shorter length and a low and flexible profile ensuring users maximum mobility during even the most rigorous activities. A removable sailing harness is available for purchase separately (see below).

MD0450 Hammar 1F Hydrostatic Automatic Inflation

The hydrostatic inflator needs only to be submerged 4 inches (10 cm) for the hydrostatic pressure to open a pressure valve releasing a firing mechanism, automatically inflating the PFD or when wearer pulls activation cord.

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I prefer the manual to the auto inflate. I well understand the chance of unconscious, and the fact that at least one person drowned because he was knocked out. What are the odds of that? I can swim, and I prefer depending on me instead of the auto inflate. Am I right or wrong? No answer expected. I well understand many people will disagree, but...

Dr T

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Concerning the life jacket issue: This is a very valid concern, but have you thought about how you are going to get back in the boat?

We have already been through this process. My boat has a flip down ladder that makes boarding easy. If you do not have a ladder, another option is using the tilt-trim. With this option, straddle the foot of the engine and press the up button. If you do not have a tilt-trim, consider always fishing with a partner.

Dr T

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I prefer the manual to the auto inflate. I well understand the chance of unconscious, and the fact that at least one person drowned because he was knocked out. What are the odds of that? I can swim, and I prefer depending on me instead of the auto inflate. Am I right or wrong? No answer expected. I well understand many people will disagree, but...

Dr T

Oddly enough one of them manual high dollar ski type can drown a unconsience person. Only the standard manual cheapo type ones will turn a knocked out person upright.

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