Inflatable PFDs, something to think about


New Member's Liason
Staff member
BBM Staff Member
Feb 3, 2013
Overbrook, Ok, USA
Javelin Venom 17
Saw this on the Bass Blaster

> As he zoomed into the mouth of the shipping channel, the bottom of his boat struck a large pipe protruding inches above the water off an underwater break wall. The heavy pipe shredded the fiberglass hull of Bergren's 21' Ranger boat on impact and ejected both men into the lake.

> Both anglers were jettisoned across the front deck, over the bow and into 30' of water. "It happened so fast neither of us had time to react," said, Bergren, who was knocked temporarily unconscious when his face slammed into the console on his way out of the boat.

> Fortunately for both men, the boat turned sharply away as they were tossed over the nose and neither man was struck by the propeller. The boat came to rest against channel rocks.

> Bergren had the outboard "kill" switch attached to his life vest but had forgotten to attach it to the throttle connector. Otherwise, the engine would have shut off as he was thrown from the cockpit. Because he uses a foot throttle, the boat did slow to idle speed when his foot came off the gas.

This part:

> Both anglers were wearing life jackets; Boston had a traditional foam-filled jacket that covers the back and chest; Bergren was wearing a harness style vest designed to inflate when submerged. But it didn't.

> "I just bought it a few weeks ago and even had the Coast Guard inspect it before I used it," he said. "I'll never wear one of those inflatables again."

Ever since that FLW incident, I don't use or even carry my inflatables anymore. A PFD has to work when you need it to, period. Not saying all inflatable PFDs are bad, just for me it's a confidence deal. Coincidentally just saw this on Bassin'

> Scott Rook quit wearing an inflatable life jacket the last time the Elite Series came to Lake Champlain in 2007. Rook was wearing an inflatable while trying to get back to the weigh-in site while fighting 5' waves.

> "I thought, if I go down here, it's 400' deep and 2-3 miles to the bank. If that life jacket fails to inflate, I can't swim that far in these waves. It was as scared as I've ever been."