Originally Posted by Frank Whiton
Hi to all,
Neil, don't you think a non-swimmer would be in a panic and may not be able to get the belt vest into position over his head?
Frank, you raise a good point - what does the panic of a non-swimmer add to the equation. I've tried my SOSpenders inflatable belt on in my swimming pool. Because it's in the front, even without being over your head (as it's supposed to be placed), it will ensure that the user is at least face up. But that doesn't mean that the user's face would necessarily be above water as it would be with the vest pulled over his head, although my life-guarding days told me that panicked swimmers would tend to grab for whatever was afloat around them, as the inflated belt vest would be. Nevertheless, a non-swimmer would certainly be better off with an inflatable vest rather than an inflatable belt, as you suggest.
Just curious, but the way these vests inflate, how could you ever hope to have a fishing vest roomy enough to allow a PFD under it to inflate, and still not be way too large for normal use? I guess by allowing the velcro attachment in the unzipped front to pop open when the PFD inflates?
This probably isn't helpful (or responsive) to the original question, but I would never
allow anyone under my influence to fly-fish at all - either from a boat, especially
floating or wading, or even from the shore/dock - without at least knowing how to dog paddle. I think this is really asking for trouble. Sooner or later the non-swimming fisherman is going to end up in the water, with possibly a malfunctioning PFD. Knowing how to at least dog paddle, as easy as it is to learn, takes the unpredictible results of panic out of the situation, and while dog paddling may not allow him to swim somewhere fast, it at least allows others to come to his assistance. FWIW.