Bladder Failure Sparks Inflatable PFD Recall


Mustang Survival recently issued an urgent safety recall of several inflatable PFD models with fluorescent green bladders. In the U.S., those models are the MD3183, MD3184, and MD3188; in Canada, they are the MD3153, MD3154, and MD3157. Note that the recall is only for those models with fluorescent green bladders that were manufactured between September 2014 and September 2015.

According to Mustang, there is a risk that the bladder may tear when the lobes are flexed apart while fully inflated. Mustang discovered the problem during an investigation of a reported failure in the field; the PFD performed as intended during the in-water incident, but the bladder tore when the user took it off while it was fully inflated. No other incidents have been reported.

If you own one of these models, stop using it immediately, read the recall advisory notice on the Mustang Survival website (, and follow the instructions to determine whether yours is one of the affected models.

If you own a recalled model, contact Mustangs customer service at 800/526-0532 for specifics on how to return the PFD for repair. The fix (adding reinforcement to the bladder) will take about three or four weeks to complete (including shipping time), Mustang reported.

The Mustang MD3184 was PSs Best Choice in the December 2006 issue, and it was named a 2007 Editors Choice pick. The model we tested was the one with yellow bladders, which is not part of this recall.

Darrell Nicholson, editor of Practical Sailor, grew up boating on Miami’s Biscayne Bay on everything from prams to Morgan ketches. Two years out of Emory University, after a brief stint as a sportswriter, he set out from Miami aboard a 60-year-old wooden William Atkin ketch named Tosca. For 10 years, he and writer-photographer Theresa Gibbons explored the Caribbean, crossed the Pacific, and cruised Southeast Asia aboard Tosca, working along the way as journalists and documenting their adventures for various travel and sailing publications, including Cruising World, Sail, Sailing, Cruising Helmsman, and Sailing World. Upon his return to land life, Darrell became the associate editor, then senior editor at Cruising World magazine, where he worked for five years. Before taking on the editor’s position at Practical Sailor, Darrell was the editor of Offshore magazine, a boating-lifestyle magazine serving the New England area. Darrell has won multiple awards from Boating Writer’s International, including the Monk Farnham award for editorial excellence. He holds a U.S. Coast Guard 100-ton Master license and has worked as a harbor pilot and skippered a variety of commercial charter boats.


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