“In order to work, proper lifesaving equipment must be worn at all times. Believing that you can locate, don and fasten a PFD in the water is dangerous for many reasons; adverse wind and wave conditions can make this extremely difficult, if not impossible; you could unexpectedly fall into water and the vessel (with the PFD aboard) could be unreachable; and, cold water can severely impede your ability to don and fasten a PFD in the water.
Never underestimate the protection a flotation device can afford you. It is called lifesaving equipment for a reason.”
Transport Canada Marine Safety
For more information on PFD’s paddle over to: Wear Your PFD.
Why JSCA Does NOT Recommend Inflatable Belt Pack PFD’s
Inflatable Belt pack PFD’s have become popular with some paddlers as they meet Transport Canada’s minimum requirement for a PFD, yet they may be completely useless to you just when you need them the most. The Jericho Sailing Centre Association has always been a strong advocate and recommends the wearing of properly fitting, approved personal flotation devices in good condition, for all of our users – we do NOT recommend the use of Inflatable Belt Pack PFD’s for the following reasons:
1. Not inherently buoyant
when worn normally they provide no floatation at all.
2. Require manual inflation and positioning
in order to become an effective flotation device they must first be re-positioned from back to front, manually inflated, and pulled over your head. If you are injured or incapacitated – a situation where you need a PFD the most – you may not be able to perform these functions.
3. Not approved for high speed, high impact activities -TC’s Safe Boating Guide states that “Kiteboarders and sailboarders should not wear a lifejacket or PFD that is fitted with an automatic inflator.” recognizing that someone involved in a high impact might not be able to activate it. Yet even the slowest of SUPers can be involved in a high impact collision with another craft and be left in dire straits with no effective PFD.
4. Requires constant care and maintenance
Leak and oral valve tests are required at the beginning of each season and a minimum of every 2 months during the season. When the CO2 cylinder begins to show signs of rusting it must be replaced.
How many inflatable belt pack users are following the maintenance requirements? In a salt water environment, how many are trusting their lives to rusty cylinders? Flotation equipment that is in poor condition is not considered approved by Transport Canada.