Features June 2008 Issue

Comparing the Latest Inflatable PFDs

Practical Sailor considers performance, comfort, and functionality of 10 inflatable devices.

One of the most important pieces of boat safety gear is a PFD, or personal flotation device. This update test included the reigning top inflatable PFD, Crewfit 150N, from UK-based Crewsaver, as a baseline for comparison of the other nine life jackets tested. The test field included Three SOLAS (Safety of Life at Sea) rated vests from European safety-gear maker Viking; two Coast Guard-approved PFDs from the Revere ComfortMax series; the new MD0450 inflatable vest with hydrostatic activation from Mustang Survival; and the inflatable bladder from Float-Tech’s popular float coat. Rounding out the field were a manual and an automatic PFD from West Marine, both of which are made by Stearns Inc. None of these had integral harnesses, though some have alternate versions with that option. PFD/harness combinations will be reviewed in a future issue.

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