Inflatable PFDs

Mustang_Survival_MD2983-263_63167_1In recent years, the comfort and ease of use of Inflatable PFDs has grown a lot. As a dinghy sailor, I almost never used one. But as I’ve done more cruising, a few deliveries, and gotten into stand-up paddleboarding, even I now have a couple of inflatable PFDs in my repertoire.

Generally, the up-sides are more comfort and less bulk for situations that have a low risk of going overboard or capsizing. The downsides are accidental inflation, mechanical parts that require maintenance, and complications when traveling.

Another important note, all inflatable PFDs are not the same. Some are manual inflate only. You MUST pull the handle to get them to inflate. Some are “automatic” inflate, that will inflate when simply exposed to water. They can be triggered by spray or high humidity. There is another “automatic” inflatable referred to as “hydrostatic” inflation mechanism. This means that it must be submerged before it will inflate. Read the documentation carefully before selecting one and understand the situation in which you expect to use it.

Get our full Definitive Guide to Sailing Clothing today!

Here is a short video of the Mustang Survival Elite 38 being deployed.

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