-- Last Updated: Jan-31-14 10:35 PM EST --
If I am not wearing it for the sake of flotation I have it on because I have stuff in the pockets I might want fast, like the waterproof camera or a nut bar. For the little added money it costs to get one that is really comfortable, I don't see any reason not to do that.
BTW, saw a photo in the latest Eddie Bauer ad with three paddler offshore down in Baja somewhere, rock cliffs behind by at least a quarter of a mile so if they did capsize in any real trip it was going to have to be handled on the water. Guess what they were wearing? The prettily colored technical jackets that Eddie Bauer was advertising on that page, completely unblocked by anything as silly as a PFD. On the facing page, they listed their highly qualified guides in each of the sports.
I know that they were models, and there was a motor boat nearby just out of the shot as well as a guide telling them how to hold the paddle and go in to help if they did capsize. We saw a publicity shoot like this happening where we vacation on the coast on Maine a couple of years back. It was pretty funny when we came in from a paddle out to Eastern Egg wet, hungry and in faded PFD's and dry suits that used to be whatever color. Not exactly a match for the models in clean clothes trying to figure out which end of the paddle was up. We felt sorry for the kayak guide they had hired.
But I still find it galling that someone like Eddie Bauer will, on the facing pages, tout their highly qualified guides and place more emphasis on the cute colors of their clothes than fundamental safe practices. They are supposed to be about the outdoors, especially in this display. If they want to be about the new spring colors they don't need the boats to do it.
Later PS - I don't expect folks who do crew to wear a PFD, though I have seen less than comfy practices from the motor boat escorting the shell with all that stuff. I would probably try to make a waist mounted inflatable work if I cared about racing in a kayak. But I would as soon watch paint dry as race myself, so it is not an issue.
PFD's (Life Jackets)
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