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River Safety and Education by Jim Cole. River Safety and Education. Background Past President and current Membership Chairperson of RICKA. ACA Certified Instructor. I have taken canoeing and/or rescue classes every year for 15 years. 20 + years teaching Canoeing and Kayaking.

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River Safety and Education

  • Background

  • Past President and current Membership Chairperson of RICKA.

  • ACA Certified Instructor.

  • I have taken canoeing and/or rescue classes every year for 15 years.

  • 20 + years teaching Canoeing and Kayaking.

  • 20 + years of teaching rescue and self rescue techniques.

  • 15 + years of white water canoeing experience.

  • Author of Paddling Connecticut and Rhode Island.

  • Paddled 300 + miles of the Northern Forest Canoe Trail.

  • I have seen hundreds of paddlers capsize during rescue practice

  • as well as accidental capsizes on canoe and kayak trips.



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River Safety and Education

Inflatable PFD’s – What you need to know.

  • Types

  • Uses

  • Maintenance (before each use)

  • Maintenance (At least annually)

  • Replacement parts $$$$

  • Common Sense Suggestions -Try it out.


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River Safety and Education

Types of inflatable PFD’s

  • Auto Inflatable PFD’s

    This type will automatically inflate when submerged in water.

    It can also be inflated using a rip cord.

    An oral inflation tube is also provided.

  • Manual inflatable PFD’s

    This type requires the user to pull a rip cord to inflate.

    An oral inflation tube is also provided.


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River Safety and Education

Uses for inflatable PFD’s

  • Used on commercial aircraft in case of water landings.

  • Approved by USCG for use in most watercraft.

  • Not approved for anyone under age 16.

  • Not approved for use with swift water sports including:

    • waterskiing or other towed devices,

    • PWC (personal water craft),

    • small sailboats,

    • sailboard,

    • white water or

    • kayak surfing.


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River Safety and Education

Maintenance (before each use)

  • Auto Inflators – inspect the auto inflator “bobbin”, and arming device. A RED indicator means the inflator or arming device needs to be replaced. Green means GO.

  • CO2 cylinder – inspect for signs of corrosions or rust. Check weight of CO2 cylinder.

  • Bladder – Check for signs of wear, puncture, scraps, or cracks.

  • Oral inflators – check to see value is closed.


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River Safety and Education

Maintenance (at least Annually)

  • Manually inflate in fall and leave inflated for off season to prevent dry rot or cracking of bladder.

  • While inflated check for leaks (leave inflated for minimum of 24 hours to find slow leaks).

  • Coat CO2 cylinder with Vaseline to prevent corrosion.

  • Check the inflator (and bobbin on auto inflate models)


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River Safety and Education

River Safety and Education

Replacement Parts (in waterproof container)

  • Always carry at least 1 spare CO2 cylinder. ($6.95)

  • Always carry a spare arming kit for auto-inflators. ($19.95)

  • Always carry a repair kit (if recommended by the manufacturer).

  • On multi day or wilderness trips, you may want to carry a spare PFD.


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River Safety and Education

  • Common Sense suggestions – Try it Out

  • Try the PFD on in the water. Yes, jump in the water and inflate your PFD. That way you will know what to expect in an accidental swim.

  • Re-arm the inflation device. You don’t want to try and figure this out in the middle of no-where without the instructions.

  • Replace the CO2 cylinders. Again, don’t wait for the emergency to try and figure it out.

  • Practice restoring the bladder to the un-inflated condition.


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River Safety and Education

  • Problems encountered with inflatable PFD’s

  • Accidental inflation because of weak “bobbin”.

  • Accidental inflation because of ripcord catching

  • another object.

  • No rearming kit or CO2 cylinder available.

  • Unable to put on an inflated PFD.

  • PFD unable to stay inflated.


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River Safety and Education

As a result of several problems, the following organizations not longer allow inflatable PFD’s

on their Canoe and Kayak Trips:

  • Rhode Island Canoe Kayak Association

  • Blackstone Valley Paddle Club

  • Southern New England Paddlers


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River Safety and Education

  • Questions ?

  • Comments?

    Thank You


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