Comfortable Confidence: Why Wouldn’t You Wear a Flotation Device?
The vast majority of boating-related fatalities (approximately 90%) could have been prevented if only that person had been wearing a personal flotation device (PFD). It’s a staggering statistic given revolutionary advancements in flotation products. According to Mark Anderson, Director, Engineering & Quality at Mustang Survival, the design, materials and regulations PFDs are tested to have moved light years beyond prehistoric bulky foam-filled lifejackets. “We strive to continually innovate and make products that give people confidence to go on the water and do what they love to do.”
Low profile, inflatable devices are today’s preferred technology and advancements in materials continue to enhance their comfort, rendering them more supple and lighter in weight. Inflatable products come in a variety of models, each suited to different on-water activities.
Traditional collar models are the most popular, provide freedom of movement and comfort in all seasons; they can be worn over a bathing suit or on top of winter layers. The pouch model, or fanny pack, worn around the waist, offers even greater freedom. If you end up in the water, pull the cord to inflate it and then pull the collar over your head. While it’s an extra step to safety, it leaves you completely unencumbered while boating or paddling.
Of course, inherently buoyant foam devices are still readily available. According to Anderson, they strive to make foam products as low profile and comfortable as possible – and they are available at a wider spectrum of price points. There are also hybrid models that offer a combination of foam and inflatable flotation.
Anderson offers a reminder that inflatable products require an annual inspection. Consumers are required to do a visual inspection of the device, ensure the inflating mechanism is properly armed and that no damage has been done to the inflation chamber. This inspection is easy to perform and details can be found on most manufacturer’s websites. Inflatable products are built to last and rarely will you find an issue. As Anderson points out “I’ve inspected product that has been in use for decades and it’s still perfectly good.”
The standards to which flotation devices are developed and tested have also evolved considerably. “We now have a harmonized standard that enables us to produce products that are approved in Canada and the US,” said Anderson “The new standard also opens the door for lower buoyancy products that can be worn by most recreational boaters inshore. The lower the buoyancy requirements are, the less bulk and weight the device will have.”
No one ever plans to end up in the water, and with so many models of flotation devices available, why not invest in a product that is comfortable and offers the freedom and confidence that you’ll arrive home safely? As Anderson said, “If you won’t wear it for yourself, wear it for your family and those who love you.”
Headquartered in Burnaby, BC, Mustang Survival strives to bolster performance, encourage exploration and inspire adventure in the marine environment through constant innovation and inspired technical solutions.
For more information about flotation devices, safety tips and requirements for pleasure craft in Canada, check out Transport Canada’s Safe Boating Guide. And for more safe boating tips, visit our page here.