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Old 7th June 2007, 09:11 PM   #2
o2bnme
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Location: Maine & North Carolina
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Default RE: repost: the life jacket problem

First off, a wetsuit will NOT stop you from drowning if you are unconscious, so she has been lulled into a false sense of security.

I'm not sure of what the Canadian equivalent is or if you use our USCG certification rules. If you don't have a USCG (or equivalent) personal floatation device, you can't be sure that you will turn over onto your back (face out of water) when unconscious. That's what they are designed to do. Floating is a good thing because it preserves your energy, but that's for when you are in the water and struggling to get the sail out of the water.

Ok, with that said, you can decide to (a) enlighten you Mom to the fact that you aren't secure with a wetsuit on if you are unconscious or (b) don't worry about getting a USCG (or equivalent) PFD for the summer ... just get one that has floatation but won't turn you over.

When I want a little extra buoyancy in the summer, I wear a competitive slalom ski vest. Most are NOT USCG approved, but they do add a bit of buoyancy. I like this option because it does not restrict your movement too much if at all. USCG might not either, but I don't like the bulk required to turn you over when unconscious.

More important, in my opinion, is to wear a helmet when heading out in high winds or conditions that will push your abilities. This includes when you are learning something new or expect to be crashing a lot. I have never had a head injury, but started wearing a helmet in 4.8 conditions and below. I've since realized that I am willing to push myself harder with the helmet on... and subsequently I've hit the helmet on the mast quite hard on two separate occasions (I would have had a concussion for sure during one of those crashes).

Also bear in mind that your life jacket decision should be based on how well you swim and how in shape you are. I image others will have dissenting opinions so wait awhile for others to chime in before making a decision.

$0.02
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