What do YOU do with the ^%^&* lifejacket?

OC-1 question:

So you've decided not to wear your lifejacket today, but the Coast Guard requires you have one.

Where do you stow it?

What non-inflatable brand and model is easiest to stow?

Submitted by YankeeHookele on Tue, 07/29/2008 - 2:48pm

I put mine under my bungees on my OC-1s or use a bungee cord and wrap around the Iako. If I am not wearing it I make sure I have a foot leash on.

#1 Tue, 07/29/2008 - 2:51pm

Oneill makes some pretty streamlined PFDs for wakeboarding etc. which would be easy to stow or wear.

#2 Tue, 07/29/2008 - 4:08pm

We use the ones from west marine when we are on the sailing canoe that are fannie pack style. I turn mine backwards so it isnt sticking in my gut when i paddle!


#3 Tue, 07/29/2008 - 4:35pm

Since when are they required? I regularly paddle by Coast Guard, Sheriff's or Police boats without a PFD and have never been stopped.

#4 Tue, 07/29/2008 - 5:25pm

They are not required here in Hawaii. If I had to have one I'd buy an inflatable one, store it in me bum, and have the string ready to pull should the need ever arise. Hmmm I think I might buy one anyway....

#5 Tue, 07/29/2008 - 7:43pm

I must admit mine is hanging in my bedroom... bought it 5 months ago and still not using it... what a shame !

#6 Tue, 07/29/2008 - 8:19pm

I have the west marine waist pack PFD but it doesnt help you if your ama hits you in the head. The surfski guys dont seem to mind their jackets, seems to me like it would chaf you up overtime

#7 Tue, 07/29/2008 - 11:17pm

Just for the record, under Federal law you are required to have a lifejacket and a whistle in the boat. If you are paddling after dark you must "show a light.".

The states may have their own supplementary requirements.
"Anyone can steer the ship when the sea is calm" - Syrus Publilius

#8 Wed, 07/30/2008 - 1:49am

I guess I`m a criminal , my pfd rarely makes it to my boat.


#9 Wed, 07/30/2008 - 2:20am

Law was probably passed by some damn Republican.
Anyways, I would argue that because we're sitting on top and not in, that an OC is like a surfboard, paddle board, windsurfer, etc. and PFDs are not required. Damn Republicans.

#10 Wed, 07/30/2008 - 2:55am

The law in all likelihood would have been passed by a passle of Republicans and Democrats. Perhaps they said to themselves "how long can you tread water?"

In board surfing you must from time to time plunge underwater to surf. I don't believe the same can be said of outrigger canoeing.

If I were in charge I'd design more portable and comfortable lifejackets, and places to stow them.

I'm wary of leashes. The old standby is stay with your boat, but there are points when you DON'T want to be tied to the boat and dragged along by your foot. The recent NZ fatality comes to mind.

In 60 knot winds the boat would be whisked along at a very high rate of speed dragging you with it. What if you are injured? Personally I'd rather bob slowly like a cork.
"Anyone can steer the ship when the sea is calm" - Syrus Publilius

#11 Wed, 07/30/2008 - 3:08am

Whenever I paddle in a 60 knot wind , I always use a parachute for safety backup , If I get separated from my boat , I just toss my chute and barefoot waterski to the next available beach . When I hit the ground I` m running hard and cutting lines with a hook knife so as not to get dragged through a forest at a high rate of speed.


#12 Wed, 07/30/2008 - 3:28am

Odd. You jest, but that was just the situation I was thinking of.

I've done water parachute jumps and been dragged on my back underwater (holding my breath) until I could pop one of the quick releases.

We play among forces we can't begin to muscle. Always leave yourself a margin for error.

Ultimately this is for fun, not some sort of test.
"Anyone can steer the ship when the sea is calm" - Syrus Publilius

#13 Wed, 07/30/2008 - 3:33am

they ship to the USA .....its a waistpack and its small .I never have issues useing and it never gets in the way .You don't even realize you have it on


#14 Wed, 07/30/2008 - 5:44am

It's on sale at http://www.cabelas.com for $60.
Stearns® 32 lbs. Manual Inflata-Belt

#15 Wed, 07/30/2008 - 5:48am

Check out the Mocke Paddle Jacket pioneered by the surfskiers in South Africa. A link below takes you to an online retailer of these multi-purpose PFD/Hydration units. BTW, if I wear a 7-panel rash guard, I never get chaffed from my PFD.


#16 Wed, 07/30/2008 - 6:00am

I do not see the logic of having a PFD on your OC. If you're with the canoe it will float you. If you're not with the canoe, the PFD on board will do you no good. If you want the protection of a PFD, seems to me you should be wearing it and there are conditions (depending on one's skill level) where it probably makes sense.

#17 Wed, 07/30/2008 - 6:04am

Early season (cold water) I wear mine. During the warmer temps I either take it (lash it), or I'm leashed to the OC1.

Although I've kinda always thought the same - if it's lashed to the boat and you get separated from the boat, what's the point...

#18 Wed, 07/30/2008 - 6:11am


The Ocean Paddle Sports site is great.

Gonna try some of those lash-its and yes, the Mocke lifejackets look darned interesting (though not USCG approved).

Pulling the lifejacket out of some bungee cord straps is a good compromise for unexpected emergencies.

If it is really rough, dark, or cold, I'll already have the jacket on. In most cases weather is NOT going to be an unexpected development.
"Anyone can steer the ship when the sea is calm" - Syrus Publilius

#19 Wed, 07/30/2008 - 11:08am

Crashed my V1 on the reef 2 days ago... Had it not "land" on the reef, it would have sunk, full of water...
If you are to carry safety items, carry them on you, not on the canoe...

#20 Wed, 07/30/2008 - 11:58am

Kanu The Rock
As I've said in previous threads, the Kokatat Orbit Tour is minimal, has large pockets for gear and I barely feel its on - Here on the North Atlantic, I never leave the shore without it (on me).

#21 Wed, 07/30/2008 - 2:00pm

G'day gang,

This argument raged big time here amongst paddlers about a year or so ago.........its basically the law here....ie "have one on board"......in some states its "wear one"....in my state our Maritime mob require us to be wearing it whilst crossing bars (ie river mouths opening to the ocean)

Bottom line, its easy to comply & whether or not you believe you'll need to use it there's still some useful equipment that comes inside my little bum-bag style inflateable pfd.....ie a whistle & a zip compartment for my phone/marine radio/food........all that & you dont even feel it......& importantly....it goes with you....not with the waka.....but that wouldnt happen, coz we're attached.....arent we

#22 Wed, 07/30/2008 - 3:10pm

Does anybody actually have the current articles of this law that state USCG-approved flotation requirements for racing canoes/kayaks/shells/sculls/etc?

Last time I dug around for same, there was a clause excepting "racing" hulls for requiring the kit that usually is specified for recreational boats.

I always hear people speak of it with authority, but I've had a difficult time digging up these laws to support what I'm hearing.

I too have paddled by harbormasters/EPO's/USCG in OC1 and generally get friendly waves back from them and I got nuthin' but a water bottle...perhaps I should write USCG Approved on my nalgene, eh?

#23 Wed, 07/30/2008 - 4:31pm

JC50-- I have wondered the same thing.

A friend of mine who sails a lot once commented about the fact that our OC-6's come in after sunset without lights and we aren't carrying life jackets. Later on, in a further discussion on the topic, he noted that we don't have to register our canoes with DLNR (regulatory agency) and that maybe because of that we weren't held to the same rules that other boats are. His thought was that we were treated more like a surfboard than a sailboat.

I imagine regulations vary from state to state. Does anyone know what the official rules are in Hawai‘i? Are they different for OC-1/surfskis vs OC-6?

#24 Wed, 07/30/2008 - 4:33pm

I can see the logic of lights after dark so you don't get run over. I can see the logic of wearing a pfd if conditions warrant it (that Stearns inflateable waist pack looks good). I still don't see the logic of having a pfd "on board".

#25 Wed, 07/30/2008 - 5:12pm

I am a Coast Guard licensed master with a 100 GWT coastal certificate with towing and auxiliary sail endorsements..

You must have at least one lifejacket on board for every one embarked on a recreational boat. You don't need to WEAR the lifejackets under Federal regulations. My state requires they be worn in kayaks and canoes during the winter up to May 31.

(I would say an OC-1 is a recreational boat when not participating in a race. Racing may not be viewed as "recreational. I'd say I'd be uncomfortable serving on the committee of any race where lifejackets were not required.)

See 46 CFR 180.71

All recreational boats must carry one wearable PFD (Type I, II, III or Type V PFD) for each person aboard. A Type V PF D provides performance of either a Type I, II, or III PFD (as marked on its label) and must be used according to the label requirements. Any boat 16ft and longer (except canoes and kayaks) must also carry one throwable PFD (Type IV PFD). (This only means kayaks and canoes are absolved of having an EXTRA PFD, not all PFDs.

PFDs must be

Coast Guard approved, in good and serviceable condition, and
the appropriate size for the intended user.


Wearable PFDs must be readily accessible.
You must be able to put them on in a reasonable amount of time in an emergency (vessel sinking, on fire, etc.).
They should not be stowed in plastic bags, in locked or closed compartments or have other gear stowed on top of them.
The best PFD is the one you will wear.
Though not required, a PFD should be worn at all times when the vessel is underway. A wearable PFD can save your life, but only if you wear it.
Throwable devices must be immediately available for use.
Inflatable PFDs

Inflatable PFDs may be more comfortable to wear.
The best PFD is the one you will wear.
Inflatable PFDs require the user to pay careful attention to the condition of the device.
Inflatable PFDs must have a full cylinder and all status indicators on the inflator must be green, or the device is NOT serviceable, and does NOT satisfy the requirement to carry PFDs.
Coast Guard Approved Inflatable PFD's are authorized for use on recreational boats by person at least 16 years of age.
Child PFD Requirements

Some states require that children wear PFDs (I believe this regulation has been updated to require children under 13 wear their PFDs.)

I've never been out in an OC-6 that did not have 6 lifejackets. I'm surprised to hear there are boats that go out without them.

As a steersman I would not leave the beach or pier without them.

Boating is like motorcycling. You may be the best motorcyclist in the world, but there are a good number of people and elements out there set on killing you.
"Anyone can steer the ship when the sea is calm" - Syrus Publilius

#26 Wed, 07/30/2008 - 5:38pm

Well im glad you arent in Hawaii. You can keep all those regs in the mainland. Water is a way of life here and id like to see someone come tell the locals here to tape a life jacket on their canoe or tell the canoe clubs to register all of their canoes which im sure would include a fee! I would be willing to bet that the percentage of accidents is similar in Hawaii to places that require those beautiful one mans to duct tape those orange life jackets on the back of them. Not trying to be close minded but im born and raised in the mainland and now ill never leave Hawaii and you can see what alot of the mainland influences have done here in non positive ways and this topic, in regards to Hawaii, just reaks of the same.

#27 Wed, 07/30/2008 - 7:00pm

I used PFD's in White water Kayaking. They were excellent. The PHD cushioned me when I wiped out and hit rocks. It also kept me warm.
But when I tried to wear my slim low cut PFD in my OC1 it chaffed me big time. I was able to adjust it to be less irritable...sometimes, but not most of the time.
In Kayaking we wear layers of clothing let it be jackects, wetsuits and poly prop tops.
In OC1 paddling we mainly wear a single top... or no shirt. depends where we paddle and what part of the year.

Just because a PFD is a great asset when Kayaking, it does not necessary mean it will work just as well for an OC1.

I tried to get the Maratime Safety Authority to consider the use of a leash.

I got no response.
This is a forum that can come up with ideas.

I personally would strap a PFD to my canoe if doing the Molo and a few other rough water events. But I would also have a leash as my primary safety asset.

#28 Wed, 07/30/2008 - 10:40pm

Dont get me wrong though. My leash stays on my canoe always just in case conditions change. I may be stubborn and close minded but im not stupid. There are other basics that Id rather employ like a leash and always going out in at least a pair. Im just out on all the talk about mandatory life jackets and registering 1 man or 6 man canoes.

#29 Wed, 07/30/2008 - 10:57pm

I agree with jpi92109, way too many laws , rules and regs on the mainland . Hawaii is alot more free than the mainland, hope it stays that way.

For crying out loud !!!, on the mainland we can`t even fill the back of a pickup truck with friends and ohana and head down to the beach for a picknic.


#30 Thu, 07/31/2008 - 1:02am

Found it! And yes, it's Federal, although obviously check your state/local laws first before voicing with authority:



Federal Requirements and Safety Tips for Recreational Boats

...(some statements about safety not pertinent to this thread removed for brevity)...

"Federal law does not require PFDs on racing shells, rowing sculls, racing canoes, and racing kayaks; state laws vary. Check with your state boating safety officials."


An Outrigger Canoe is [generally] a racing canoe; regs above appear to apply to the vessel, not the chosen activity on it (racing/training/sleeping).

Sensibility of course dictates, but here it is, USCG (Federal) stating an exception to laws that many say you must wear/carry a PFD when on any vessel.

Hope this helps.

Sorry to shift topic, Yank; to answer your initial question I usually just duct-tape a small Type II youth PFD behind the seat when races require a PFD. At least when I really need it I can enjoy the high-speed, low-drag cool factor before drowning.


#31 Thu, 07/31/2008 - 5:25am

Extreme sports
Medical conditions

I think there are ways to paddle that I would call extreme sports.
Paddling alone far out in the open ocean is an example of that, in my mind.

Regular paddling activities like going out on a run with a group of friends is not extreme and is probably less risky than swimming in the ocean.

Many people drown every year - should they all wear a PFD ? Would seem to make sense.

Medical conditions can cause problems during all sports and may be responsible for an accident. Heart, brain/stroke, muscles/ligaments etc..
This is a particular problem when on the water.

#32 Thu, 07/31/2008 - 11:24am

jibofo, to avoid not being with your PFD of you are separated from your boat do what I do, store it in your bum. That way you'll always have your PFD even in the unfortunate event you become separated from your boat. Well in my case I hope I have to pull the string. Sounds funnnn

#33 Thu, 07/31/2008 - 2:33pm

OK poops, this is getting a little bit too weird (not that's there anything wrong with that).

#34 Thu, 07/31/2008 - 4:26pm

poops, is it an infartable ?

#35 Thu, 07/31/2008 - 9:42pm

Holy crap Hiro, I haven't laughed at my computer for a while. Good one good one.

#36 Thu, 07/31/2008 - 9:53pm

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