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Time to test your PFDs!


Your PFD (Personal Flotation Device) is your first line of defense on the water...your lifeline when you need it most.  Yet, itís surprising how few people treat them with the kind of respect a piece of gear thatís expected to save your life under the worst of conditions deserves.  The least you can do is give it a little care and maintenance from time to time and now, just before the season, is when most of us should be thinking about doing just that.

PFDs, especially the inherently buoyant ones (i.e., not inflatable), are often tossed in a locker after use, exposing them to dirt, abrasion, moisture and mildew.  Lifejackets, especially inflatables, should never be stored under anything heavy, oily or wet.  Heavy objects can damage the sensitive mechanisms, compress or damage the fibers, and make the PFDs difficult to retrieve.  Oil, if it spills on the PFD, can change the buoyancy.  Moisture can expose the fabric to mildew and can degrade the automatic inflation mechanism on inflatablesÖnot only causing a potential problem for inflation when you need it, but also causing the PFD to inflate when you donít want it to, which we learned first hand!    more...


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In all the info I've read about testing inflatable PFDs, I haven't seen anything about how long one can last, undeployed, before it should be replaced. Also, any ideas about whether firing off the inflator, then replacing the system, will compromise the inflatable?4/27/2005 9:01:20 AM
Michael Henk
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