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Old 05-24-2009   #11
nicho's Avatar
North Denver, Colorado
Paddling Since: 2007
Join Date: Mar 2009
Posts: 442
Just looking to see what kind of deals are out there on PFDs right now.
Originally Posted by Tiggy View Post
Sorry Nicho, I was not aware you were a commercial guide. I guess I was puzzled why an experienced guide would pose this question..

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Old 05-24-2009   #12
Cisco, Utah
Paddling Since: Dawn
Join Date: Sep 2007
Posts: 351
Nico, Type V have the pillow, designed to float face up, but more importantly have more floatation than type III. Essentially 15 lbs to 25 lbs. If you are taking people who may or may not be comfortable in the whitewater environment, and or may or may not be good swimmers, you should get type V for your passengers. if getting a few you could always get a mix of both. Would be nice to have a Type V if I were to have a few PFD's anyway... good for a spare, Maybe for running big water....

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Old 05-30-2009   #13
Thronton, Colorado
Paddling Since: 2008
Join Date: Mar 2009
Posts: 665
I was wondering the same thing myself, being relatively new to the sport. Most of the experienced people that I asked said to get the type III vests. They said the type V vests aren't doing anything for you in whitewater anyway, because you're going to be tossed around and under the water anyway. The Coast Guard thinks the type V will keep your head afloat if you are knocked unconcious, but if you are unconcious in whitewater and being tossed about, what's it going to do for you? That comes from a guy with 25 years of experience and he sells type V PFD's if you really want them. He told me that if I am that concerned about floatation, get a hi-float PFD (longer in the torso).
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Old 05-30-2009   #14
Boozebay Harbor, Maine
Join Date: Dec 2006
Posts: 43
The Coast Guard system is a series of classifications:
Type I = Off shore - Bulky as all hell with a minimum of 22 pounds of floatation and designed to keep 90% of people face up even if they enter the water face down or get tossed around

Type II = Near shore - Usually still pretty bulky, the rectangular looking ones and they will help you stay face up pretty easily, but they usually have less flotation at a minimum 15 pounds. Also known as a universal lifejacket with one strap that can fit around some pretty large peeps/

Type III = Flotation aid - the common paddling, waterskiing, boating vest. Usually a lot more comfy and form fitting than anything so far. Minimum flotation of 15 pounds also.

Type IV = Throwable aid - such as a cushion or a ring. I believe that lifeguard tubes fall in this category also. You can't count these for passengers because they cannot be secured to peeps.

Type V = Specialized flotation devices - Here's where it gets messy and manufactures screw with you. Type V can mean everything from a basic rescue jacket to a full on deep ocean survival suit with a bazillion pounds of floatation and 15 mm of neoprene. How this category works is that every Type V flotation aid has a label describing use of the vest (suit). If you follow the instructions it will usually count as a class I, II, or III depending on what it specifies. Thus it has to meet most of the specifications for it's specified category, but it can modify or exclude some of those specifications. Thus rescue vests count as Type III when worn by someone with rescue training or experience, but if worn by any old cook doesn't count as a pfd.

If a manufacture (such as Extrasport) doesn't have a description of the Type V operation on the website then email them. I'm guessing the UT5 is considered a Type III when worn by clients in presence of a guide. If your just doing stuff on your own, then this wouldn't apply and you technically would not be putting them in pfds. I would say go for the UT3 or most other more simple Type III jackets that don't have a list of todos sewn into each that insurance can pick through later.

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