For those of you who may be sitting an exam or quiz, and would like to know where is the best place to put PFDs while you are out on your boat, this guide is for you.
Here’s a basic fact - personal flotation devices can save lives, but only when they’re worn. The issue though is that people don’t really like wearing them so much. According to surveys, the main reason why boaters don’t like sporting the PFD is because they’re uncomfortable. The second is that they might be inaccessible.
While the comfort issue is more of a personal problem, the accessibility issue is something you can change. As a general rule, the PFD should be kept somewhere where it’s easy to get to. But that could change based on opinion. So where is the best place to put PFDs while you are out on your boat? Here’s what the experts say.
The Best Place for a PFD
If you’re looking to test your recreational boating knowledge, Boat Ed would be the place to go. They have online quiz and study guides that help improve your knowledge of basic boating safety and protocol. Of course, that also means they have answers for this PFD predicament.
According to their online exam, the most suitable place for a PFD would be on the top deck. If you’re keeping it in some sort of storage of its own, see to it that it doesn’t have any locks or obstructions that could make it a chore to open. It’s also important that you don’t stow the PFD’s under anything that you would have to move out of the way to get to them.
Finally, make sure they’re easily seen. This makes it possible to instruct others to get to the PFDs in case you’re unable to retrieve them yourself.
Why Do You Need to Consider PFD Placement?
What’s the point of putting so much time into thinking about the placement and storage of your PFD’s? Well, it’s important to have them easily accessible because you want to be able to wear them as soon as any signs of danger appear. In fact, some experts even recommend wearing a PFD at all times on the boat, whether or not you’re moving.
You’d be surprised how fast a boat can sink and how quickly you might find yourself in the water. And based on studies, it becomes almost impossible to put on a PFD when you’re already overboard. So keeping them somewhere you can easily access them and wear them within a few seconds’ time is vital to survival.
However it’s also important to understand that PFD’s are prone to UV damage over time. So simply throwing them on board and keeping them exposed to harsh sunlight for extended periods of time can actually affect how buoyant they might be.
A storage bin like a large, solid yet light colored box or bag can be the ideal place for keeping a PFD. Just remember that your storage shouldn’t have any locks or fasteners that could take up your time to undo. And once you open it, there shouldn’t be anything on top of the PFD’s that need to be moved out of the way.
What Exactly is a Personal Flotation Device?
A personal flotation device is precisely what its name suggests. Its a vest or a suit that you wear to keep you floating in the water. The purpose of a PFD is to prevent a person from drowning, and there are a variety of designs intended for different boating and water activities.
Personal flotation devices are also designed to fit various body types. Some are inflated or buoyant as is, while others can be deployed to inflate when you need them to. It’s an essential piece of safety gear that can prevent over 90% of drowning-related accidents on the water.
Are PFD’s Different From Life Jackets?
Remember that a PFD is anything that’s intended to keep you afloat in water. So in essence, a life jacket is a type of personal flotation device. What makes the life jacket different from any other kind of PFD is that it’s designed to turn a person face up in the water. That makes it immensely effective at preventing drowning even when the individual is unconscious.
Other types of personal flotation devices may not be able to do this. But they’re designed to be more comfortable. Available in a variety of styles, PFD’s other than life jackets are easier to keep on for longer periods of time. However they will not turn a person face-up if they happen to be unconscious when they fall into the water.
How to Take Care of PFD’s
A personal flotation device will typically have a lifespan of 10 years, but that’s only if you take care of it properly. What a lot of people don’t know is that a PFD can lose its buoyancy if it doesn’t get the care that it needs. Here’s what you can do to max out that 10 year lifespan:
Avoid Direct Sunlight
UV radiation is the number one culprit for PFD damage. As the harsh sun is soaked into the material, it degrades the foam and cover, making them brittle and dense. While your PFD’s should ideally be stored on the top deck, it doesn’t hurt to keep them somewhere shielded from the sun.
Dry Them Out
Moisture and humidity can also play a role in PFD degradation. When a PFD is stored before it’s properly dried, you run the risk of encouraging bacterial and microbial growth. Air dry your PFD’s before you tuck them back into storage to prevent moisture damage.
Wear Them Properly
If a PFD is the wrong size, don’t force it. Wearing a PFD that isn’t your size can cause damage on the hardware and straps that are important for proper fastening. Using a PFD to help you float any other way than wearing it (i.e. using it as a paddle board) can also damage the device.
Stay Away from Harsh Chemicals
If you think your PFD needs a good cleaning, just stick with mild dish soap or liquid laundry detergent. Or better yet, hose it down. Avoid harsh cleaning chemicals like alcohol and bleach that can degrade the material.
More Exam Questions & Guides You May Be Interested In
Just Within Reach
The last thing you’d want is to have to struggle to get to your PFD’s when there’s danger afoot. Always wear your PFD when you’re out on the water, regardless of whether your boat is moving or not. Otherwise, make sure to keep it within reach. But where is the best place to put PFDs while you are out on your boat? Anywhere accessible on the top deck should be your best bet.