Just to chime in, I bought one of those 4-packs of standard puffy Type III PFDs
from Gander Mountain while they were on sale for just 30-something bucks, just to be in compliance. They come in a handy and reasonably rugged rectangular zippered plastic tote bag thing. To each I've attached a whistle and a little waterproof flashlight doodad, but mostly they just sit in the bag. For myself and the wife, I also got a pair of Onyx M-24 Manual Inflatable Life Jackets
, since they're just so comfortable you don't even know you're wearing them, and to risk belaboring the obvious point: they won't save your life unless you're wearing them
. I think they were about $80 a pop plus shipping. If I were buying them again, I might go for the fully-automatic instead of manual model, which requires that one pull a little rip cord thing to inflate it...just in case one gets a "gyby" boom in one's ear and hits the water out cold. At least for the Admiral. Me? I'm quite sure that I am FAR
more likely to inflate the thing by falling off the boat while still at the dock.
I'm not usually a big fan of We$t Marin€ (Motto: "You'll think our prices are in some wA¢k¥ foreign currency!
"), but it turns out that just now they have a very highly user-reviewed fully-automatic inflatable on sale for just $54.99
. Frankly, it's the first time I recall ever
seeing anything like a bargain from We$t Marin€, so in semi-shock I just grabbed one for store delivery--chiefly for the wife. After all, we don't need the Admiral clawing around in the drink for some ripcord, do we? It's undignified, and she ain't exactly Getrude Ederle
Lastly, someone mentioned liking non-inflatables for the warmth they afford. It's sort of the opposite down here in Virginia. I'd sail in a thong if it didn't scare the fish and alarm the wildlife on shore. Still, I got one of these Chinese "New Outdoor Unisex Adult Life Jacket Fishing Safety Life Vest For Water Sports Drifting Boating Sailing Kayak Survival Swimwear
" jobs somewhere online for like $6 delivered as a bit of potential foul weather gear. It's even got a little hood tucked into a zippered compartment, reasonably sturdy dual tabs for attaching a harness, lots of pockets, and it zippers up instead of clipping. For the price of a 6 pack of Yuengling Lager it's a remarkably nice piece of gear, in easy-to-spot-at-night dayglo yellow with even bits of reflective material here and there. If it's suddenly a dark, cold and stormy night brewing up out there, this is what's going on: