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Anyone wear float coats?

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Anyone wear float coats?
All~

Rich Geminski's post about the importance of wearing a life vest was timely for me because I have been thinking about getting a float coat for next season. I had been planning to say that "I used to have one" - but I just came across it in a box of old gunning clothes this afternoon. I have a Stearns that my wife bought me for Christmas when my kids were little. I used to wear it while gunning as well as while under way. (Surprisingly, it still seems serviceable - foam is not brittle or crumbly.)

I have conventional life vests - which I wear while under way and while gunning on float trips. I also bought an inflatable (with the pull cord, not the automatic) a couple of years ago but have yet to even charge it.

What do you use?

Thanks.

SJS
Steven Jay Sanford
Pencil Brook Farm
South Cambridge, NY
http://www.stevenjaysanford.com


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Re: Anyone wear float coats? In reply to
Hi Steve,
Sterns float coats........always. We bought several sets and then we did a bunch of field testing for Sterns and ...got more, of course. I ran a lot of marsh hunts as a guide and wouldn't venture out without a float coat......on. I wore it until the boat was on the trailer.
We had several sets of both coats and float pants.
I also wear one when layout hunting as well.
Lou
_____________________________________________
Helping You Enjoy Your Sport!
http://www.lockstockbarrell.com
http://www.eallendecoys.com
http://www.scfwa.net (our decoy carving club)
http://www.rccd.org (R/C Model Club-NL Editor)

Last edited by:

Lou Tisch: Jan 18, 2014, 1:17 PM
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Re: Anyone wear float coats? In reply to
I wear a standard life vest under power. A float coat is on the top of my list for next season and after looking over the Onyx, Sterns and Mustang, I am partial without having any in my hand to the Sterns. Not a fan of hoods unless it is miserable out and when the situation warrants a hood I would prefer my float coat to have one otherwise it will be an excuse not to wear it and the whole point is to wear it the entire time I am on or near the water.

Great post Steve as improving my personal safety on or near the water is top on my list since I am always alone. Thanks Lou for the vote of confidence on the Sterns.
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Re: Anyone wear float coats? In reply to
Steve, I've thought of float coats, just haven't looked at them yet. Curious of the operational range of motion to work long lines and such. I currently wear a shooting a PFD with emergency whistle, dive knife and floating VHF radio that are all attached to the vest. It works well for my daily applications on the boat and is manageable enough to gun with and paddle a kayak too. Will eventually look at the coats though.
[URL=http://s935.photobucket.com/...zps685e460c.jpg.html][/url]


[URL=http://s935.photobucket.com/...zpsb3d5eabe.jpg.html][/url]
"Pass the Tradition Along"
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Re: Anyone wear float coats? In reply to
I work the water all year long. We have Mustang jackets and bibs. They make several different quality sets. The less expensive stuff is actually more supple to work in. The bibs are nice and all of it is fairly waterproof...but the material on the outer shell can be pretty noisy when it gets cold...the foam can also get fairly stiff but once you warm the guts up, it loosens up. The last set I got was olive in color...ballistic nylon...and I imagine it probably reflects UV rays pretty good. They also have reflective stripes on them. They fit well enough and it isn't hard to work out of them once they do get some body warmth in them. They are very warm...lots of times we end up unzipping them while working.
I'd like to hear if anyone is using the Onyx...it is difficult to find camo float coats.
...
boykinsbuddy
...just a drop of water in an endless sea
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Re: Anyone wear float coats? In reply to
Bass Pro is clearing out or was last week the Mustang Float Coat in camo but it is long and will not work with waders for me at least. Nice part about solid color Mustang coats is the solas tape as if you need the coat for its intended use and search and rescue is needed camo makes it hard to find. Such was the case with the survivor of recent duck hunt in my home town that resulted in two deaths. The Coast Guard said they had a hard time finding the survivor because of his camo.
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Re: Anyone wear float coats? In reply to
I have the mustang in orange and the onyx in camo. For me foam coat are to bulky for gunning I do not need another inch added to my clothing, But not bad for motoring. Most days while gunning I wear the Columbia liner only, if its real windy or raining I will wear the shell.
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Re: Anyone wear float coats? In reply to
Almost all our hunters at the lodge I work at (AK) wear them when we go for jetboat rides. We tell them they're warm, so they throw them on. We keep a doz. or so in various sizes on hand. Doesn't hurt. No complaints.
-
Bill Stahl
AK Peninsula Hunting/Fishing Guide
11 years of seasonal bliss.


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Re: Anyone wear float coats? In reply to
I started wearing a Mustang vest under my Columbia parka this year. It is very comfortable and adds a layer for warmth but I'm still trying to get used to shooting while wearing it. I would prefer to leave it on at all times but am struggling getting used to shouldering the gun with an added layer(1"). I always seem to catch the stock on my coat before the gun is mounted.
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Re: Anyone wear float coats? In reply to
Hey guys...haven't posted in a while (years). Work....kids...gunning. But wanted to chime in here. Work on the water year round including taking hunting parties. Best experience I ever had was doing a cold water survival class where we got to try different products IN THE WATER. By far the best was the old fashioned "horse collar" vests...uncomfortable to work in but not only floated well but rolled you over if unconscious. Auto inflating mustang worked really well as well (key is adjusting properly before inflated...worth a cartridge to try this out!!!). Mustang and Sterns float coats were by far the most inferior. Nice and comfortable to work in, but floated you low and NOT self-righted in any chop or swell...."beavertail" snapped through crotch helped with stearns. If you are in waders and gunning clothes-- a float coat is a minimal help. Many folks will argue the point, but put one on and jump off the dock with good friends next to you to help out....if your experience is different than mine then I stand corrected. Just felt I needed to share that experience...BE SAFE out there boys...and gals. Don't want the next generation missing our experience! Cheers, PG
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
P.G. Ross

Ross Decoys

http://www.rossdecoys.com

Eastern Shore of Virginia
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Re: Anyone wear float coats? In reply to
Steve,

I wear an Onyx inflatable until the temps get to the freezing mark. I'm not sure that Co2 will charge properly in those temps so I wear a Stearns float coat in the later season. The coat is going on 15 years old and has become a little to snug so I'll be investing in an Onyx float coat before next season.

Take care,

Ed L.
East Moline,
Illinois
_________________________________________
“If I'd had asked what they wanted they would have said faster horses" - Henry Ford

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Re: Anyone wear float coats? In reply to
I always wore one of those shooting pfd's like troy mentioned above.

Never leave the dock without it on.





Don't just do something, Stand there!
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Re: Anyone wear float coats? In reply to
P. G.~

Thanks for this information.

I am curious whether your tests used neoprene waders. My colleagues have water-tested the combination of float coats with neoprenes and were more than satisfied. I have been assuming that my 5mm "farmer John"-style neoprenes would give me plenty of buoyancy and that the vest or float coat would keep me rightside up.

Your thoughts?

All the best,

SJS
Steven Jay Sanford
Pencil Brook Farm
South Cambridge, NY
http://www.stevenjaysanford.com


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Re: Anyone wear float coats? In reply to
Hello Steve...no to the waders. We were training for work and tried to have on the clothes we'd normally be in while working on small workboats. Thanks for the feedback from others who have done the waders in combo.

The float coats I've tried floated my entire torso...that is, I didn't sink. But my head rode very low to the water...the flotation is spread over a fairly large area. A 1-2' chop would smack me in the face almost every time without me physically exerting some level of effort to avoid it. That can become exhausting quickly in cold water. A horse collar style inflatable really rode the waves and forced my face up without me exerting effort. The old style uncomfortable horse collars actually gave my head the most free board. They also turn you over if you are unconscious...I guess because all the flotation is so concentrated around the head/neck area. For all, proper fit was crucial.

Anyways...that's my experience. Love reading what others have said so far. This is a great discussion! When I was younger, I never wore flotation...bulletproof. But with age and having some eye opening experiences (and learning from others) I now wear something on every trip. I guess I should also mention that my comments and experience are with open water in Chesapeake Bay and ocean. Other smaller bodies of water/situations might lead to different conclusions. Thanks for starting such a pertinent discussion! PG
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
P.G. Ross

Ross Decoys

http://www.rossdecoys.com

Eastern Shore of Virginia
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Re: Anyone wear float coats? In reply to
A float coat is on my wish list, although as a big guy (size 56 in a sportjacket) I am concerned about one big enough to provide mobility.

I will add that I used to be in the "wear a life jacket in the boat and take it off while hunting ashore" camp.

A scary experience this year has pushed me to the kind of life jacket Troy showed and keeping it on anytime I am even close to water. Cold day in the November salt marsh, and I slipped on some freshwater ice where I was expecting salt slushy mud. I ended up sliding down the bank and into about 6 feet of water. Fortunately I had not yet taken off my lifejacket, and wearing it over waders floated me high enough, combined with it's compressing my wader tops, that I barely got wet.

Without the lifejacket, at best I'd have been soaked and struggling in 6 feet of water on a cold day with a mile plus paddle back to my truck. With it, I wormed back ashore and continued my hunt.

"At first blush I am tempted to conclude that a satisfactory hobby must be in large degree useless, inefficient, laborious, or irrelevant."
— Aldo Leopold
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Re: Anyone wear float coats? In reply to
 Steve great post, lots of input from the guys. You have me thinking about the float coat. Will have to take a look at them next trip to the store. I'm also a big guy and thinking about shouldering the gun. Any input guys that use them? Laying in the boat and shouldering is a little difficult.
I use the inflatable pfd, only fell into 2' of water, but still got wet. Gonna be more careful from now on, missed the falling tide for brant...
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Re: Anyone wear float coats? In reply to
I wore a floater coat for a few seasons back in the mid 90s but found it bulky, too hot and damp (not breathable) and hard to shoot in. I switched to a hunting pfd in camo that I often forget I have on. I have a whistle and strobe attached and keep the floating vhf radio in the pocket. The strobe I use is found at the link below and I use a Fox 40 whistle so I don't worry about the pea freezing.
I am aware that it is harder for searchers to find you when you are in camo but I have to note that the best safety device is the one you use. I can't see myself hunting ducks in high visibility orange.
http://www.westmarine.com/...4&classNum=50501
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Re: Anyone wear float coats? In reply to
I wear a Mustang when layout hunting....

---------------------------------------------------------------------
***Phil (Chesapeake Boy) Nowack***

http://www.mapleridgetaxidermy.com
http://www.philnowackphotography.com

Nothing like the north wind pushing snow at your back, a bird in your hand, and chessie with ice on his coat at your side.

Birds brought to you courtesy of Nikon, Benelli, and Kodi
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Re: Anyone wear float coats? In reply to
While wear neoprene waders and a float coat, boat flipped on me, long story short, they saved my life! I've had the float coat for more than 20 years and it's as good today as the day I bought it.
Charlie
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Re: Anyone wear float coats? In reply to
Mustang Survival integrity deluxe bomber jacket in brown- I always wear it underway in the dark, but usually do not hunt with it on. A big plus is it is warm and breaks the wind. Definitely recommend them.




-Bill
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Re: Anyone wear float coats? In reply to
Some great content to this post. Certainly has me thinking about additional precautionary measures I can include for next season in addition to the float coat. Thanks Jeff for the inclusion of your safety items, the whistle, radio and strobe, all items I will include with my float coat for next season.

One item I would like to see discussed more and perhaps a topic for another post is the pros and cons of those that wear float coats have with the brand they use.
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Re: Anyone wear float coats? In reply to
I have had a float coat since the early 1980's. The first one was totally inflexible when the weather was cold. The new ones are much better. I only wear mine when conditions are rough. I did wear it last month when I had to drive my ATV across the ice to get it off our duck club island. I don't think we have had ice like that since 1989.
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Re: Anyone wear float coats? In reply to

In Reply To
P. G.~

Thanks for this information.

I am curious whether your tests used neoprene waders. My colleagues have water-tested the combination of float coats with neoprenes and were more than satisfied. I have been assuming that my 5mm "farmer John"-style neoprenes would give me plenty of buoyancy and that the vest or float coat would keep me rightside up.

Your thoughts?

All the best,

SJS


Contrary to a couple notes above, 5 mil neoprene waders work very well at keeping you afloat. I've tested them several times. Try diving in a wet suit...same idea. ;)
We were at the pool at Westlake several years ago and Jeff Coates jumped into the water with his waders on and couldn't get himself under water. He floated like a cork.
Just MHO.
Lou
_____________________________________________
Helping You Enjoy Your Sport!
http://www.lockstockbarrell.com
http://www.eallendecoys.com
http://www.scfwa.net (our decoy carving club)
http://www.rccd.org (R/C Model Club-NL Editor)
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Re: Anyone wear float coats? In reply to
While operating my boat I wear a safety yellow Mustang coat that has more reflective tape than highway workers safety vests. I stopped wearing camo life vests about 10 years ago when I experienced a circumstance when I had an outboard motor die while hunting and the USCG sent a safe boat to tow me in to port. Despite being in cellphone contact with the boat crew 300 yards away with a clear line of sight over open water, they could not see me and my partner while we stood on shore wearing camo life vests with attached flashing strobes. I told them exactly where we were and the Coasties said that we blended in so well we were invisible. Then about fours ago a local guy piloting a 65 foot sailboat in my home waters got knocked overboard and the Coasties searched for his body for three days before they found him. I made the decision to get the bright coat so if I every go down that they'll at least be able to find my body. Obviously I don't hunt with it on because it is so bright.

Yes there are big differences between classes of PFDs. Years ago I took an agency required boat operators course and we jumped in the pool with everything from gumby suits to just neoprene waders. All of them float you in different body attitudes. I think everyone should try jumping in a pool with everything from Type 1 (offshore, self-righting), to type III (typical comfy PFD) to float coats and inflatables by themselves or in combination with waders or even just neoprene waders. I guarantee that you will learn from the experience and that you'll make a better informed decision about how yo go boating.
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Re: Anyone wear float coats? In reply to
Many good points made here on the topic of float coats. I have bought three of them for me and my sons. A camo Stearns coat, an olive Mustang bomber jacket, and a camo Onyx jacket. We wear them all the time, they are plenty warm and therefore I haven't had to spend money on hunting parkas. Although we do shoot with them on (layout boat included), they sometimes seem a little stiff. However I don't think it is worse than a life vest/parka combination. The nice thing is that we have them on all the time. The different types of PFD's may float you better, but they will not help if you're not wearing them. I haven't hunted out of the boat alone in quite some time, so having a buddy there to help should you fall in is an added measure of safety.

I prefer the Mustang jacket style to the longer Stearns coat as it gives better mobility. I always end up sitting on my coattails with the Stearns. I haven't worn the Onyx as it is smaller for the kids.