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Old 02-18-2013, 06:52 AM
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Default Water Safety

Reading the recent thread on wading staffs has brought this topic to mind. What do you do in the interest of safety when wading in water over your knees, especially when wearing "chest waders"? The use of the inflatable preservers commonly used in sailing looks like something that wouldn't be bulky and a hinderence while casting. They resemble a small flat "horse collar". This type of preserver only inflates when it comes in contact with water such as a fall. I can see this useful when wading in fast water. I also see a new pair of waders that have an inflatable unit built into the waders. (William Joseph). Can you give me your thoughts?
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Old 02-18-2013, 07:09 AM
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Default Re: Water Safety

Orvis used to make a fishing vest with the inflatable collar built in. I think a couple of other vendors still do.

I don't bother with flotation, though. If I'm wading in deep, fast water, I will just take along a wading staff and cinch down my wader belt. Maybe I'm foolish, but I don't expect to find myself in water so strong and deep that I would get knocked unconscious and/or couldn't swim or drift to a shallower spot if I miss my footing.
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Old 02-18-2013, 07:11 AM
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Default Re: Water Safety

Cinch down my wading belt. This year before runoff hits I will be buying a wading staff to hang on my belt. My buddy also hangs about a 6"knife off his belt in case he needs to cut off his waders. I might go that route too.
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Old 02-18-2013, 07:47 AM
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Default Water Safety

Same as above just tighten up on my belt..however I'm rarely in water above my waist and during the hot months I just wear some thin pants.
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Old 02-18-2013, 08:25 AM
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Default Re: Water Safety

As a kayaker and wearing waders during the winter I use to worry about what to do if I fell off and waders filled with water. So I conducted a test in my swimming pool wearing waders with no belt(I do wear a belt), and no PFD. The results were not to panic and just tread water or lay back and float. I had zero problems staying afloat and waders filled with water just above ankles. What I concluded was water weighs nothing in water so it does not weigh you down. I also discovered in my case that the outside water pressure tightly pressed the waders against my body so little water could enter. Granted this was a controlled test but my results.

My test results have put me at ease and taught me the importance not to panic. Wear my wading belt and very little water has a chance of entering waders. When wading I do use my staff to poke ahead of me when unsure of depth ahead of me.

CONCLUSION: CONDUCT YOUR OWN TEST AS YOUR RESULTS MY BE DIFFERENT THAN MINE. If you conduct a test then when the true situation arises you will already be aware of what is happening and what action or inaction you need to take. Train yourself to save yourself by learning in advance. For me it's no different than training to cast. So why not train to save myself.
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Old 02-18-2013, 08:58 AM
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Default Re: Water Safety

I've gone for a good dunking in deep fast water more than once over the years.
Try to ride it out feet first and with your legs up high in the water. Getting your feet stuck in the rocks is the main issue.
I've never had a wader problem. You just don't ship that much water.
Granted I was wearing neoprenes at the time, but the worst dunking that I ever had, my pants didn't even get wet.
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Old 02-18-2013, 09:13 AM
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Default Re: Water Safety

So far my worst one resulted in one wet arm. Knock on wood. I have given some thought to wearing a PFD though. I also used a wading stick for the first time last year. I'm not as graceful as I was in my younger days.
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Old 02-18-2013, 09:50 AM
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Default Re: Water Safety

I have been contemplating the purchase of waders since this will provide more freedom to cast especially in cooler temperatures. I don't get that with hip waders. My concern about safety comes from a slip that I had last season and it has made me think. I found myself up to my arm pits and one shoulder under water (not the rod)! I was carrying a Hardy bag over my right shoulder that filled up. I have since purchased a small sling pack from SIMMS providing me better balance. After reading the comments posted here I am more as ease that a pair of waders might not be as big an issue as I thought. The belt seems like an added safety measure and a wading stick of some sort, an excellent suggestion. Thanks for the feedback.
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Old 02-18-2013, 10:12 AM
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Default Re: Water Safety

Last fall, I was out fishing a stretch that I have fished many times and was quite familiar with...or so I thought.


As I went to cross the river to get to fish some new structure I saw, the water went from waist deep to much deeper than I am tall within 1 step. It was a straight drop that caught me completely off guard.

Naturally, this meant water filling my waders and the current quickly moving me down stream.

I stayed calm, turned on to my back and swam towards shore trying to keep my path on a 45 degree angle to the shore. In less than minute, my feet were touching ground again as I was able to stand up.

The key to my success here was a tight wading belt and staying calm. Those two things are the number one safety devices that I have.
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Old 02-18-2013, 10:45 AM
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Default Re: Water Safety

I wear a pfd in the Nor Cal surf, in my float tube and when wading deep fast water...and use a staff as well. I tried unsuccessfully to kill myself a few times as a kid...at 64 I'm a little less macho and more interested in living to see Patagonia and land another big steelhead in BC.

I'm a poor swimmer and used to write some checks I wouldn't be able to cash. Now, not so much...better to wear it and not need it, etc...
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