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Buoyancy Aids

In the kayaking context, some means of staying afloat means a device known as a PFD or personal flotation device, and most of these look like a waistcoat with some form of buoyant foam lining. They differ from life jackets in that they are intended primarily as a means of keeping you afloat, but enable you to swim, the life jackets you are likely to see used by yachties are mainly the self inflating type, and on a kayak, where you are very likely to get wet without falling in, this type of jacket is of limited use.

Kayak PFDs are generally cut so that there is good freedom of movement around the shoulder area, so that you can still paddle, and are rated according to their buoyancy, usually measured in Newtons, more is generally better.

There is a huge choice of PFD out there, but most ranges are split according to their intended uses, and for fishing most people tend to opt for a touring  pfd. Make sure you try before you buy, after all you might end up wearing it for eight hours or more, and ensure you try it out sitting down, some PFDs can be very comfortable to wear when standing but ride up around the neck when sitting down. I use a Palm Kaikoura for most of my fishing, which fits me well, has a back pocket for a water bladder, and decent sized front pocket along with loads of loops and tying points. For those on a tight budget, Fladen do cheap but comfortable PFDs which are widely available.

When you end up in the water, for example when you are practicing getting back on your kayak, you will notice that your PFD tends to ride up. This is why it has to fit properly and you must make sure that all the straps are done up.  If the PFD has a strap below the main zip, then this has to be done up to let the PFD do its job, similarly, if it is fitted with thigh straps, make sure they are properly adjusted and done up whenever you are on your kayak.
 

Recommended book


Discover Kayak Fishing
by Andy Benham

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