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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
The straps on my PFD (NRS Big Water Guide) have a LOT of excess length - IOW a lot of strap sticks out past the buckles. It is acceptable to trim this, particular to river rangers (the ones at Lee's Ferry being the strictest out there, in my experience) ?

I fear if it's considered a "modification", probably not.
 

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I would say that if its obvious that you modified it...then they will probably fail it. If you do a nice clean job of it that doesn't look modified then should be fine. I think a big tell tale of will be the lack of the doubled back and sewn end that most PFD's have to keep the straps from pulling through the buckle easily. Maybe take it to an outdoor equipment repair place and have them do it for you and sew the tabs back on the ends of the webbing. I think if you did that they wouldn't notice. That is a very popular PFD on the Grand, so they are used to seeing them so just make it look legit.

Most other rivers the rangers are a lot less picky then the GC ones though...so a minorly modified PFD will probably be fine most other places.
 

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I don’t think you’ll get spotted for that. I’d be more concerned for actually damaging the integrity of your flotation device.
 

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GC Ranger Peggy doesn't miss much. She even commented back in '18 that one of our PFD's was the first of that model she had seen (Stohlquist Canyon).
 

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Years ago, Peggy put the hard eye on my near-new HiFloat because I had replaced the zipper pull tab with a whistle on a split ring. Somehow the tab had broken on a very early outing, and I thought I was being clever by installing the whistle there.

To this day, I'm not sure how I passed. I know that that hardass ranger MNichols probably wouldn't have let me go down WW with it. (Insert wry grin here).

Rich Phillips
 

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Past 2 recent trips I have been down the Grand, the friendly ranger checked every last buckle. I would not risk it.
 

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My wife and I both had our PFDs rejected because we had replaced zipper pulls. I did a very nice job on it and they looked very professional. The ranger tried to feed us a line of BS about replacement pulls somehow compromising the locking mechanism. In the end, there's nothing you can do if you want to go, except bring a bunch of spare PFDs. If it were me, I'd leave the straps alone until after the trip. Or bring a backup.
 

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Some PFD zippers do "lock" when the pull is oriented downward. These models usually have a small, elastic loop for the zipper pull. So a replacement pull would need that feature in order to make the PFD identical to what the USCG certified. Nit picking, to be sure, but not maybe not total BS....

I'm glad that my Green Jacket is a pullover. Now to see what they think of my glued-on name patch on the front pocket!
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
Years ago, Peggy put the hard eye on my near-new HiFloat because I had replaced the zipper pull tab with a whistle on a split ring. Somehow the tab had broken on a very early outing ...
That's exactly why I had to replace my HiFloat with the NRS one. Apparently a weak spot in that model, or planned obsolesence.
 

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agree with @adamread ... if you're gonna modify your PFD bring an extra un-modified one just in case. no sense risking a GC trip over it. you can always chuck the un-modified one back in the truck after your inspection.
 

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If it is really bothering you, bring a needle, appropriate nylon thread and sailors palm then cut it down and replace the backing after the inspection your first night on the river.

Or just roll up the excess and tape it so it doesn't flap around.
 
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Regarding finding a shop that would do a professional looking job on sewing the folded ends of the straps: We would never do ANY kind of modification to a PFD..... even just shortening the straps. I don't believe the "rules" have any sub-titles, like "minor modification" . Just sayin'.... Jan @ Stitches 'N Stuff.
 
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