Welcome to our show notes for Episode 2 of the Flow State, where we talk about rescue PFDs. Show notes are here to explain some fine points, offer some outside resources, and give you a good overview of the show itself.
Feel free to leave comments, questions, or suggestions for future episodes in the comment section below. Enjoy!
- Come see our new location at Saluda Outfitters! You can find lots of necessary rescue equipment, including PFDs, knives, and throw bags at the shop. If you’re a student of ours, you can gain a 10% discount off any essential paddling gear in the 7 days prior and 7 days after your class with us. (Less than $100 = 10%, more than $200 = 20%).
- Don’t just stand there, do something! Common Sense Rescue, August 25-27, now with a Friday evening chalk-talk. Focus in on quick, simple rescues and prevention.
- Rescue PFDs are Type V, a special use rating from the US Coast Guard, and specific to whitewater. Details for the PFD are inside the PFD itself:
- UL Rating System- Underwriter Laboratories test equipment to meet specific standards.
- User weight range and chest size should also be found on the inside of the PFD.
- Permitted trips through the National Parks system require US Coast Guard approved PFDs in good conditions. PFDs outside of this process- albeit fully functional and appropriate- are not sufficient if they do not carry the US Coast Guard approval (ie. PFDs made internationally may not have this rating).
- Type V PFDs are ‘near-shore,’ not ‘life jackets.’ They are designed as swimming aids as they will not roll you over if unconscious.
- There’s a few things that set a Type V Rescue PFD apart:
- Built in rescue harness. Quick release is sewn in to place so that it does not move. That’s the danger of using an after-market harness on a vest that was not intended to serve as a rescue vest!
- Webbing loops x2: this prevents the O ring from walking past these webbing loops. Keeps webbing flat, untwisted, and bearing a load relatively evenly.
- Tri-glide: US Coast Guard way v alternative threading. The Coast Guard recommends a full thread through the tri-glide.
- Personal preference dictates how you thread the tri-glide. When you’re clipping in to a life line, proper threading is mandatory. When you’re using your rescue harness to tow gear, etc. you may want to consider alternative threading to relase more quickly.
- Webbing is cut at an angle to help with threading.
- More so than clipping in to a boat, a tow tether can be very helpful in maintaining your own equipment while you’re managing a situation.
- Chris uses a Black Diamond Magnetron locking carabiner on his tow tether as it offers the quickness of a non-locking carabiner with the security of one with a locking gate. Keep an eye on sand and sediment getting in to the lock.
- Do NOT attach your tow tether to a hard point! Releasing your quick release with the tether attached to, say, your PFD strap, you’re still attached.
- Be mindful of zipper storage pockets for the tether as these can be difficult to manage after you’ve released your quick release.
- Exercise caution buying a PFD second hand. It can be difficult to qualify the quality of a vest from an owner, and it’s tough to know what kind of stress or wear a vest has endured over the course of its life. This is your life line!