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If the options for Level 50 Buoyancy Aids and Youth Inflatable PFDs become accepted, what uses, conditions and restrictions should be allowed?

7 months ago
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  • sailor109 8 months ago
    It's not fair to group these two issues into one question. 1. Level 50 Buoyancy Aids have become increasingly popular (in the sailing world) due to the rise of high performance sailing dinghies which require a level of agility often impeded by their bulkier counterparts. I know TC views all recreational boaters as being equal but in the context of sport, there are specific use-cases in sailing, kayaking, canoeing and rowing where performance is increased by decreasing bulk. To take it a step further, those sports are arguably safer as a result of wearing a thinner / smaller buoyancy aid because of the improved mobility and decreased likelihood of getting caught in gear or rigging. 2. The average recreational boater will not be anymore or less likely to wear a level 50 buoyancy aids or youth inflatable PFDs, than they would a normal PFD. The slight decrease in bulk will not be enough to convince people to wear a PFD if they were otherwise unwilling to do so. The issue is a matter of enforcement, and the inability for the coast guard, (the student IRB program in particular) to educate, inform, issue warnings, tickets or otherwise enforce PFD requirements on the water. In summary, approve the use Level 50 Buoyancy Aids, but do so knowing that you're doing it for athletes...most of us are wearing them already anyway.If you want the rest of the recreational boating community to put a PFD on, empower the people on the Canadian Government's payroll to engage with the boating community and get people informed.
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    • Slowboatin 8 months ago
      If we’re trying to reduce death by drowning by educating boaters it’s not recreational boaters who need to be the target as much as fisherpeople/kayakers/canoeists/personal watercraft users/pedal boat users. It’s unrealistic to expect enforcement of laws on the thousands of water bodies in Canada to have any effect. If a lighter PFD saves one life, I’m all for it.
  • Sam1 8 months ago
    The adoption of these two device formats into our Canadian regulations is important for the boating and recreational water sport industry. As mentioned in previous comments; the use of level 50 buoyancy aids is already prolific in many water sports, sailing specifically comes to mind. In other parts of the world level 50 devices have been around for a long time and have not lead to higher drowning rates. From a safety perspective, if we can persuade more boaters to wear a life jackets through the use of more comfortable, lighter, and thinner level 50 devices that will be better than no life jacket or PFD at all. With regard to conditions and restrictions: Level 50 devices should likely remain as their description suggests; only approved if worn; for near shore use only, or for use help is close at hand. The enforcement of these should be no more difficult than the way we enforce regular inflatables which are also "approved only when worn".I would suggest that a distance from shore could be defined to dictate where these level 50 devices could be used and considered safe and approved. And "when help is close at hand" can be defined as being part of a regatta or event where organizers or team members have a safety boat out on the water. Some thought should be placed into other possible scenarios in which athletes and the general public are wearing these vests, and how the regulations may effect these scenarios. I would hesitate to dictate a specific sea state related to when the devices are approved due to the inability for law enforcement to accurately measure this, and the use scenarios. Often sailing regattas are run in locations that have wind and waves. I am sure there is also a use case for white water kayakers in that I cant imagine white water is ever referred to as flat water.In regard to youth inflatable life jackets, again the case can be made that these devices have been around for many years in other countries without any increase in drowning risk. I do not believe that there are any statistics that prove that the use of youth inflatables leads to any more drownings when compared with regular foam life jackets. Again I think it is important to create more opportunities for users to wear as apposed to regulating them away. As for the conditions and restrictions. one major concern with youth inflatables, and inflatables in general, is that they have not been properly maintained and kept in good operable condition. One way to combat this could be to create a restriction that states that youth inflatables are only to be approved if worn AND if serviced within the last two years... one year...To address some of the concerns of previous comments. All of these devices will still need to go through a certification process, which has the well being of the wearer in mind. A certified product will show the consumer that the product, when serviced and worn correctly, will not injure the wearer. Ultimately with any product or level of life jacket there is always risk associated with going out on the water and it is up to the consumer to make the correct choice when purchasing their life jackets. To help consumers make the correct choice and be informed about the differences in youth inflatables and level 50 devices, TC could consider working to provide educational content in a format that is as easily digestible as possible to help people make safe choices when purchasing and wearing.
  • Jeff Evans 9 months ago
    Clearly the current PFD regs have the best chance of survival if worn but provide no protection if not.Youth inflatables increase survival rates as they will have greater acceptance by their target group.As such, I believe reduce flotation protection countered by increased acceptance and use will save more lives than put at risk.
  • karlahandy 9 months ago
    Definitely they shouldn't be used on moving water, unless used by athletes for white water slalom boating. For everyone else, they should be for flat non moving water conditions, and that should be for all inflatables and lower buoyancy jackets.
  • chaylock 9 months ago
    The definitions of "protected water" and "easily accessed assistance" are far too vague, and do not anticipate the types of activities that typically result in drownings. Unless that assistance is moments away, it is of no use. Also, activities that are remote, let's take canoe tripping for example, require that the PFD be very comfortable and allow movement for self-rescue. More remote activities require more self-sufficiency, and therefore a more agile PFD design - if the wearer is unconscious, no PFD is going to help, so it is best to design for self-rescue where it is possible. More effective would be a rule that all persons wear life jackets when outdoors in a watercraft, motorized or other. Competitive athletic boating (competition kayaking, rowing, etc) would be exempt from the requirement.Am I to understand that Level 50 BA is more or less equivalent to a buoyancy aid (Type 3) and Level 70 is equivalent to a life jacket (Type 5)? If that's so, all watercraft users under the age of 8 should use Level 70, and I'm sure insurers would require commercial clients of rafting companies to use the same. Otherwise, let the rest of us continue to use Level 50-type vests, or Level 70 where the chance of a knock to the head is possible and help is close by. So fishing boats.Also of vital importance to the Canadian market is a testing regime for products that is more efficient and streamlined that allows the designers of PFDs that are actually worth wearing to get them to this market. Women and smaller adults in particular are at a massive disadvantage because of the TC requirements that mean the best, most comfortable (and therefore most likely to be used) vests are unavailable to us. PLEASE SORT THIS OUT! We need shorter torso length vests, a cut that accommodates breasts, and a design that reduces riding up. This has been accomplished by designers (such as Stohlquist) but many models are not available here, because it is not worth their resources to submit them to the TC testing, which really can't be that different from USCG.
  • jmiller 10 months ago
    Regulations should change so that all operators/crew on open deck vessels must wear some type of flotation device. We drown 2-300 people per year, most on these type vessels. If you are intending to change the regulation, start with this premise first. Wearing flotation will give you a reasonable chance of survival, not wearing one (regardless of type) will not float you. Same a car seat belt!
  • jmiller 10 months ago
    Level 50 devices must be worn at all times while on the water.Youth inflatables I am opposed to. These devices require regular maintenance and if not worn properly can be dangerous.
  • evan gatehouse 10 months ago
    For Level 50 - acceptable for use on all waters. Otherwise you have to set up lots of boundary areas and define what areas are safe and it all becomes confusing to the users. For Youth Inflatable PFDs - If allowed - annual maintenance tag. Don't make it costly or it won't get done. Simple visual inspection protocol by Power Squadron, local yacht club / sailing club staff that will take 5-10 minutes. A oral inflation test but don't have to hold air for 24 hours or something tricky. Just make sure it holds air and listen for leaks.
  • Danielspry 10 months ago
    Yes, simpler, safer and become more user friendly.
  • Patricia Nelder 10 months ago
    I like the level 50 buoyancy aids but they should be restricted to use on protected water and with the understanding that they are 'swimming aids' and do not replace a life jacket. They should not be inflatable.
  • Michael Vollmer 10 months ago
    These should be VERY restricted and if approved (which I am opposed to ) should be a mandatory wear device.Youth inflatables are also problematic. The present restrictions on use (age based) should be maintained. If approved they should be auto inflate devices.Inflatables in general offer some interesting opportunities. Maintenance of the inflator mechanism and the cartridge have been found to be very poor in several studies. This means that people are putting their faith in a device that may not function when required. I wonder if there should be a mandatory replacement schedule for cylinders. Look at the aircraft side for maintenance perhaps, although it is a dramatically less corrosive environment compared to the marine environment.