PFDs Unnecessary?


I am a firm believer in debate. Civil, respectful debate. I asked Aaron LaDuke to give me his thoughts on PFDs. His response surprised me because I think it’s not one that is often given blog space. It is often an opinion that shows up in the comments section or discussed at the launch point. I wanted to give him some space today to say why he feels the way he does. If you feel differently, please feel free to discuss but keep it civil. I think my stance on the issue has been clear but for folks not familiar with my take, you can go here: I wear my PFD 100% of the time and have even toyed with the idea of legislation to make it unlawful to go without it. Our guest blogger today doesn’t feel that way. Thanks to Aaron for being willing to offer his thoughts, knowing people will disagree with him.

Contributed by Aaron LaDuke

As a kayak angler on a budget, simplicity is important for me. When out on the water I often find it an inconvenience having to have a Personal Flotation Device.
I purchased my kayak end of May. I needed the bare minimum to get out on the water. I purchased the generic, orange, around the neck PFD.

I first started fishing cold water mountain lakes and often would use the PFD as a seat pad. I never thought twice about ending up in the water.
Looking back I think it is smarter to wear a PFD when in waters that are 50 or below. I weigh 144 wet without much body fat so I don’t have much of a chance in really cold water unless I have other protective gear.

With so many regulations, it’s almost overwhelming trying to think about everything I need to legally be out on the water. I have since purchased a more comfortable PFD that was on sale. If I could afford the nicer inflatable PFDs I would most likely purchase one and use it all the time if comfort allowed.
I have proven to myself that I don’t need a PFD at all times. I have sometimes forgotten it and gone all day fishing without realizing I didn’t have one until after the fact.

I think it is very smart to have a PFD onboard at all times, but do not feel it is necessary. One reason I enjoy kayak fishing so much is the simplicity. For years people have found ways to get out on the water safely without the need for PFDs.

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