What do you do if your inflatable PFD doesn’t inflate when you hit the water? During last week’s safety at sea seminar I discharged my HIT inflator. While putting the PFD back together I kept thinking it would be very challenging to try to figure out how to inflate it while wearing it treading water. After I figured out how to orally inflate my PFD I made this video demonstrating how it’s done:
After having experimented with my PFD I’ve started recommending to my friends that they try to orally inflate their own. You’ll definitely learn more about your PFD as you figure it out.
Even if you know how yours inflates without being charged you might benefit from inflating; I definitely encountered some surprises. One final warning from the manufacturer for in the water testing oral PFD inflation:
WARNING: Use only a previously fired hydrostatic inflator to perform this test. DO NOT test with a fully armed hydrostatic inflator as double inflation may occur, possibly resulting in cell damage.
“Cell damage.” That is code for “explode”. Don’t explode your safety gear. If your inflator is charged don’t go in the water with your inflated PFD and be careful with the manual trigger cord.
PS: This video always makes me chuckle because I look sillier than usual in it; I’m wearing that sweater with the neck zipped all the way up so I can clip the lavalier mic somewhere that doesn’t get completely covered when I inflate the PFD. It was very hot…