Sept 24, 2020

Inflatable PDF CareBy John Gullick, Canadian Power and Sail Squadrons, Manager of Government and Special Programs.

I often get asked if regular care and maintenance is necessary for inflatable PFDs. Here is a rather lengthy answer to the question and some recommendations. The sources of this information come courtesy from Mustang Survival. The information has been edited to reflect approved inflatable Personal Flotation Devices (PFDs) sold in Canada.

PFDs are preferred by many boaters because they are very comfortable to wear and this often outweighs their higher cost.

But note these important regulations:

1. They can save a life and in Canada, when the vessel is underway and the wearer is on deck, they are only approved when worn.

2.They are not approved for use by people under the age of 16 and those operating personal watercraft.

However many users are not aware that they need a level of regular care and maintenance.

Automatic inflatables are activated by a combination of a chemical bobbin and a carbon dioxide cylinder. The bobbin dissolves when immersed in a liquid. This allows a spring loaded firing pin to puncture the CO2 cartridge which in turn inflates the PFD in about 3 seconds with approximately 35 pounds of buoyancy.

If the PFD does not automatically inflate the wearer can manually inflate using the pull tab or orally inflate the PFD by blowing into a tube that has a one way valve.

At the start of each season and at regular intervals the PFD should be checked to ensure the mechanism is packed according to the manufacturers instructions and that a fully charged CO2 cylinder is in place and properly secured. For automatics with the bobbin, make sure it is secure in its holder (it only fits one way), the firing pin retracts and the green indicator is visible. If the red indicator is visible then something is wrong with the bobbin or the holder is not properly screwed down all the way. If the PFD has no bobbin holder then it can only be inflated manually.

In some models the tip of the CO2 cartridge screws in and others have a bayonet mount.

The screw in type needs to be firmly attached and the bayonet mount needs to be pushed in and given a 1/8 turn clockwise to a full stop. If the cylinder has not been turned the mechanism is will eject. The green indicator will not be visible without fully turning the cylinder and if it is not properly in place the unit will not inflate.

If an automatic inflatable is accidentally activated by moisture then it will need to be dried out properly before a new bobbin and CO2 cartridge are installed. Rearming a wet
PFD will only cause the bobbin to dissolve and activate the new CO2 cartridge.

A hair dryer on low heat can be used if you need to rearm the inflatable quickly but it is best to let it dry out in a warm, not hot, dry location before rearming.

A manual inflatable can be rearmed immediately.

When inspecting the bobbin be sure the “ridges” are still evident, there are no cracks and the white fill in portion is not discoloured. The date on the side of the bobbin is the date of manufacture, not an expiration date. If properly used and maintained most bobbins have a three year life span, dependent on usage, however it is recommended that they be replaced annually. CO2 cartridges can last for years.

When purchasing a rearm kit be sure it is the correct one for your model of PFD and that the CO2 cartridge is the correct size. High Lift models use a larger cartridge.

The latest Hydrostatic models activate by water presser when they reach a depth of 8 centimetres or more below the waters surface. If undisturbed the hydrostatic inflators require no maintenance for a period of five years.

Most inflatable PFDs have an indicator window which allows you to quickly check if the system is a go or a no go. Other models require the opening up of the cover to check the green pin on the activator.

Always refer to the manufacturer’s owner manual when reviewing the maintenance and basic care of your inflatable.

Meet John Gullick

John is currently Manager of Government and Special Programmes, Canadian Power and Sail Squadrons responsible for government relations and the management of two national programmes mandated by Transport Canada, Office of Boating Safety and Industry Canada, special projects and staff supervision.

John writes “Just Ask John for the CPS’ Port Hole. This article and others are “Second Time Around”

His many achievements in the boating field include:

• Past Chair Canadian Safe Boating Council, 1999 –

• Co Chairman, Recreational Boating Advisory Committee to the National Canadian Marine Advisory Council, 2007 -

• Management of the Pleasure Craft Operator Card and the Restricted Operator Certificate (Maritime) programmes provided through 150 Squadrons, 400 independent Recognized Providers/Examiners and a number of Provincial Partner Organizations.

• Past Chair of the Peterborough Dragon Boat Festival. Considered to be one of the world’s largest single day community event of its kind now in its 20th year.

Related Articles

Tuesday, 13 August 2013 11:36

SPOT adds customized tracking and enhanced power options to award-winning product line SPOT LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Globalstar, Inc. and leader in satellite messaging and emergency...

Tuesday, 23 February 2016 22:34

A question that I get asked a lot is “why should I take a safe boating course?”      

Wednesday, 13 May 2015 09:20

Ah, long weekends.  There are only four during the summer so each one is cherished by Canadians but this one coming up carries special significance for boaters and cottagers.    

Tuesday, 29 October 2013 10:44

A highlight of the Canadian Power and Sail Squadrons Annual General Meeting held October 24, 25 and 26 in Toronto, was the culmination of the nation-wide Flag Relay celebrating their 75th...

Friday, 05 July 2013 15:30

We were contacted by Jeff Rhodes, President of BC’s Coastal Craft Boats who was moved by a U.S. news story about a 5-year-old being killed when he fell off the bow of the boat he was riding...

Tuesday, 07 May 2013 11:45

North American Safe Boating Awareness Week will take place across Canada from May 18th to May 24th, 2013. The purpose of this initiative is to promote safe and responsible boating practices to the...

Boat Reviews

Video Gallery

 

 

Beneteau Oceanis Yacht 54By Zuzana Prochazka

Beneteau saw an opportunity to add a little thrill to any cruising adventure, so they took the hull of the First 53 racer (introduced just last year), and with a few fashionable changes, created the Oceanis Yacht 54, the new entry-level of Beneteau’s swanky Oceanis Yacht line. The result is a performance cruiser that sails like a witch and looks like a grande dame.

Design

Roberto Biscontini is the naval architect and Lorenzo Argento created the details of the exterior and interior design. 

Read More

Destinations

  • Prev
Over the course of four days in September 1864, representatives from Prince Edward Island, Nova ...
The new owners of L’Orignal Marina offer boaters a new destination. Located in a charming ...
Commemorating 100 (+1) years of through-navigation on the Trent-Severn Waterway National Historic ...
On Friday, April 2 at 7 pm ET on TVO and streaming anytime after that on tvo.org and the TVO ...
Salt Spring Island, the largest among the Gulf Islands, has a certain mystique—much of it having to ...
Located in Lake Huron, the internationally significant Manitoulin Island is the largest freshwater ...
In Part I, Sheryl Shard ended the story at June and the start of Hurricane Season when they were ...
You likely aren’t quite ready to travel yet, but we have our fingers crossed that we can all fly ...

Riverest MarinaThe new owners of L’Orignal Marina offer boaters a new destination. Located in a charming francophone village in Eastern Ontario, this joined marina and restaurant venue is the ambitious initiative of long-time entrepreneur André Chabot and biologist Alexandra Quester, both residents of L’Orignal.

The purchase of the L’Orignal Marina was made official in November 2020. The new year was barely underway when all 50 available slips were already reserved. No wonder the addition of member and visitor slips is already planned for the 2022 season – the 2021 count is up to 62 power and sail already. At the moment, the Riverest Marina offers boaters a stop where they can launch their boat...

Read More

Lifestyle

  • Prev
Photograph taken on Sept 15 while drifting home after the last Wednesday evening race at Collins ...
On the afternoon of Sunday, October 3, fourteen exceptional sailors were inducted into the Canadian ...
My husband and I purchased this beauty in Gananoque two weeks ago and boated it from there across ...
Last issue we featured a story about the engagement proposal aboard Via-Mara, a 1969 Trojan 42 Aft ...
With thanks to Sail Canada, here’s a collection of photos that are Olympic quality. Clearly our ...
Wow. That was a lot of fun reading the collection of boat names that came in from all over the ...
No individual had a greater impact on the modern sport of sailing than Bruce Kirby. Known and ...
Just off The Ocean Race European Tour, Daniel is setting his sights on competing in The Ocean Race ...
After being our fearless leader and publisher since CYOB kicked off, Greg Nicoll, handed over the ...
Swim Drink Fish is spearheading the Vancouver Plastic Cleanup by installing, maintaining, and ...

Marine Products

  • Prev
Dockmate®, manufacturer of advanced wireless remote controls for yachts, has announced expanded ...
PORTS Guides are The Essential Boating Companion and Look Great in Gift Wrap!    
Updated features and benefits offer next level of product excellence by integrating innovative ...
AkzoNobel Yacht Coatings has introduced a new, easier to apply topside system with two new products ...
Whether for news, weather or just to watch the game, onboard television reception is important. But ...
Kanvaslight® was specifically engineered for a long life in a salty, sun-drenched environment. The ...
Watermakers take ocean water and create perfect drinking water using reverse osmosis. A Schenker ...
If you’re headed out for a weekend afloat or on a week-long cruise you often must park your vehicle ...
Ten years ago, St. Margaret’s Bay (Halifax), Nova Scotia-based SailTimer Inc. made the first ...
Between the odor and working in confined spaces, replacing an onboard sanitation line is never a ...

News

  • Prev
According to digital news outlet www.insuaga.com, a new, full-service and modern Port Credit marina ...
The Canadian Sailing Hall of Fame and the Marine Museum of the Great Lakes at Kingston are pleased ...
Paul Tennyson adapted from the reinforced plastics business to form Canadian Sailcraft in 1963. ...
Canadian sailors Antonia and Georgia Lewin-LaFrance from Chester NS won the bronze medal at the ...
Royal Canadian Yacht Club’s Defiant completed a six-race sweep of the Cup for Canada over Zing, the ...
On September 6, Groupe Beneteau laid out its course to develop new boating experiences, new ...
Last Friday, the first ever Canada’s Celebration of Sailing honoured the season for Sailing in ...
Boating Ontario is very proud to have Transport Canada’s Office of Boating Safety jump on ...
Montreal-based Vision Marine Technologies, Inc. is headed to the Lake of the Ozarks Shootout to ...
Summer is in full swing with Canadians enjoying time outside and on the water. So, while enjoying ...

Mia and Caleb's EngagementOn July 23 last year, CYOB published a piece on a beautifully restored 1967 Trojan 42 Motor Yacht in Oromocto NB. (That piece was also expanded in CY magazine later in the year.)

One of our Canadian Yachting contributors, Denise Miller, had shared the article on my social media and a young man reached out and asked if she could connect him with the owners of the boat, Dave and Barb. Denise leapt into action and Dave and Barb were thrilled. They concocted a plan that the young lady, Mia, thought she was coming to model for a sales brochure for Dave to do charter tours.

Read More