well, I did go on a cruise a few years ago and didn't wear it on the ship. I wear it on whitewater, flatwater, lakes, river, saltwater marsh, creeks, and swamps- in a canoe, a kayak, a duck, or a raft.
That's me. You do what you want. Call it what you want as well: a lifejacket, pfd, lifevest- it doesn't matter. If you wear it your safer than if you don't. I've never finished a day of paddling and thought- I wish I hadn't worn my lifejacket today. On the other hand there have been many days I was glad I made the decision to wear it. Personally, I find "open water" to be one of the most intimidating environments,a place where I would want to wear a pfd the most. A change in shore topography/weather/wind/waves can result in a sudden shift in conditions. I'm an old boyscout, better to "be prepared". As far as shallow being safer, that's where I dislocated a shoulder - glad I had my lifejacket on that day as well. It makes a nice sling.
http://youtu.be/q7aSL6m4L5Y check it out at 4:17
The Kayak Wing
Sport Cases (Electronics)
Gedi Convertible Helmet
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