Ever done this?

Last summer, while getting ready for the Mac Race, I decided to test my life vest before replacing the expired inflation pack, per race regulations. Nothing too exciting, but if you’ve never seen one of these things in action, here you go. You’ll notice in the video that I discovered a strobe already attached to the vest – after I bought two others specifically for the race. Oh well.

It turns out that the recharge kits for this particular vest runs around $75. Ouch! I suspect the charge was perfectly fine, but it had expired about four years prior.

6 Responses to Ever done this?

  1. Chris says:

    I had one of these go off in a compartment once. Came back to the boat and had to figure out how to deflate it to get it out.

  2. Skeep says:

    Good idea to test it. The excitement of a crisis at sea is made even more dramatic with a small device shooting oxygen into an otherwise trendy looking apparel. With the price of a recharge it makes other passive PFDs perhaps more inviting for most applications.

    • David says:

      Yes, the recharge kit is ridiculously expensive – especially for this brand. I don’t recall how out of date the charge was, but I suspect it would have worked as intended in the event of submersion. This model has an indicator, which was green when I tested/replaced it. Sad to waste a perfectly good CO2 cartridge, but I didn’t want to risk a penalty during inspection at Mackinac Island. (And, no, I didn’t want to risk drowning due to a faulty vest, but I felt that risk too low to warrant serious concern).
      As far as wearing other passive PFDs, I think you’re right – as long as it is actually worn. I suspect a lot of people would not wear a passive PFD as often as they would wear a slim, comparatively comfortable inflatable vest. If that’s true, the odds tip toward the inflatable, I think, especially since the inflatable doubles as a safety harness. Personally, I’d don an inflatable more often than a passive PFD, unless it was equally comfortable and conducive to freedom of movement.

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