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Inflatable PFD

  Discussion Boards > General Fishing Forum
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Joined: 08/30/2002
Posts: 940
Location: Smithtown, NY
 posted 09/13/2011 08:38 PM  

I'm looking to buy an inflatable PFD. I've done a little research and apparently there are two different inflating mechanisms. One uses a bobbin which dissolves in water which causes it to fire and the other is hydrostatic, which is fired by water pressure. The hydrostatics ones are definitely more expensive. I will be using it relatively calm waters, i.e Smithtown bay. Just wondering if anyone has any experience with them and which one they would recommend.

Joined: 09/23/2004
Posts: 410
 posted 09/13/2011 09:12 PM  

The hydrostatic inflator is definitely worth the additional money. It requires both water and pressure to inflate, therefore it won't pop open when you're getting soaked with rain and/or spray. The Mustang MD 3183 is a very good choice. It is USCG approved Type II (compare against the others), the inflator requires no maintenance for 5 years (again, compare), and provides 35 lbs of flotation. They're selling for less than $200...what's your life worth?


Joined: 08/22/2001
Posts: 394
 posted 09/14/2011 10:43 AM  

I have the hydrostatic mustang... I'm a very good swimmer but I figured if it came down to needing it, there's always the chance of being unconcious when you hit the water.

I found mine at a great price on amazon BUT it took and extra couple weeks for delivery

Joined: 09/20/2000
Posts: 871
Location: Astoria
 posted 09/14/2011 07:23 PM  

I have four bobbin types and everyone on the boat gets to wear one, my boat / my rules. When replacement time comes along I'll be going for the Hydrostatic.

Be safe.

Joined: 05/04/2005
Posts: 3407
Location: Western Suffolk
 posted 09/15/2011 06:50 AM  

Never had one misfire and go off when it wasnt supposed to. Since you really are not going off shore I would just get the bobbin one. If you really want to spend the money for the Mustang then go for it.
IMO the bobbin ones work just fine.

FIRST IN LAST OUT.....   of the water

Joined: 03/09/2002
Posts: 315
Location: Westerly, RI
 posted 09/15/2011 08:03 AM  

Think about it, chances are the only thing that will get you out of your boat inshore is something dramatic like collision or explosion , making it a bit more likely you'll hit the water unconscious and unable to pull the tab yourself. Get the automatic. Go to Jamestown Distributors website and they have a video where the guy gets hosed down with water, but the PFD does not inflate until he jumps in the pools.
Chris J

Joined: 08/30/2002
Posts: 940
Location: Smithtown, NY
 posted 09/15/2011 04:10 PM  

I am definitely getting the automatic, no question about that. I would love to get the hydrostatic but the cheapest I see the Mustang is $239 and I really do want to spend that much.

BTW Chris, that was a really cool video. My main concern about the bobbin type is that I don't want it going off if I take on a little spray. The video has me feeling better about that.

This post edited by SmithtownJoe 04:13 PM 09/15/2011

Joined: 09/23/2004
Posts: 410
 posted 09/15/2011 08:40 PM  

The Stearns vest in the video has a hydrostatic inflator. Comparing the two brands mentioned herein, Stearns recommends their bobbins be replaced annually, Mustang states their inflator is maintenance free for 5 years. The Mustang is USCG approved Type II, I don't know about the Stearns.

Mustang below $200:

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