Monday, March 25, 2013

PLEASE Wear your life jacket….



Come on folks, how many people have to drown for everyone to begin wearing a life jacket all the time when you are on the water? Just the other day on Lake Lanier, north of Atlanta, Georgia another angler has drowned while fishing when he fell overboard. Read more about this story; follow the link below - http://www.gwinnettdailypost.com/news/2013/jan/07/lawrenceville-man-drowns-when-boat-capsizes-lake-l/

Why does this continue to happen? The National Safety Council, Inc. tells us that almost 7,000 people drown in the United States each year. This number must decrease in the near future; I am tired of seeing fishermen and outdoors people die on the water.  To make this number decrease we must begin to ask others to put on his or her life jacket when they are near or on the water.  For those of you that do not fish in tournaments, it is the rule that every angler in a competitive fishing event must wear a life jacket when the big motor is under power. This is a sound practice that needs to be carried over into a common sense law for all boaters.

In Georgia, for example, all vessels must have at least one USCG–approved Type I, II, III, or V personal flotation device (life jacket) for each person on board. However, Type V PFDs are acceptable only when worn and securely fastened. These types of PFDs are for specific activities. To be acceptable by the USCG, they must be used for the activity specified on the label. Varieties include fishing, kayaking, water skiing, windsurfing, hybrid vests and deck suits.

The current Georgia law requires that all children under 10 years of age wear a U.S. Coast Guard—approved PFD while on board any moving vessel. This law does not apply when the child is in a fully enclosed cabin. In response to several fatal boating accidents this past summer, the Georgia legislature and Governor are expected to introduce legislation in 2013 to establish mandatory boater education, increase the PFD mandate to any child under 13 years old and possibly Personal Water Craft (PWC) education for those who rent PWCs.

Not only is it important to wear a PFD, but I believe it is just as important to make sure your fits properly. Sizing for adults is by using your chest size, not your weight. This will help determine the correct size. For children, their weight will determine the correct size. When trying a PFD on, they should be snug and fit like a glove, yet allow you to move freely and not restrict you while casting, paddling or just playing. To get the best feel and fit, wear similar clothing when trying on a PFD. Women should consider women-specific PFDs versus unisex styles. All PFDs will have a different design and foam placement to fit the contours of the body. Foam placement has more to do with comfort than safety. The more straps a PFD has, the more adjustments can be made to customize its fit. To assure a proper fit go to a repeatable marine store and allow a properly trained assist to help you.



Types of PFDs: There are 5 categories of PFDs.
Type I: Offshore Life Jackets. These vests are geared for rough, open or remote waters where rescue may take a while. Though bulky, they have the most buoyancy, a bright color and can turn most unconscious people face up in the water.
Type II: Near-shore Vests. Made for calm inland waters, where there is a likely chance of a fast rescue is the intent of these PFDs. They will turn some unconscious wearers to the face-up position but not all of them. They are bulky, but less so than Type I.
Type III: Flotation Aids. These are suitable for most on the water activties where there is a chance for a quick rescue. They offer freedom of movement and the most comfort for continuous wear. Type IIIs are designed so wearers can put themselves in a face-up position, but they may have to tilt their head back to avoid being face down in water.
Type IV: Throwable Devices. Cushions or ring buoys are designed to be thrown to someone in trouble and provide backup to a PFD. They are not for non-swimmers, rough waters or the unconscious. The USCG does not require these for canoes or kayaks.
Type V: Special-use Devices. These are specialized PFDs for specific activities. To be acceptable by the USCG, they must be used for the activity specified on the label. Varieties include fishing, kayaking, water-skiing, windsurfing, hybrid vests and deck suits.

Last week, I was given the opportunity to wear and test the new Type V Mustang Survival M.I.T. 100 Auto Inflatable Life Jacket. The new M.I.T. 100 with Automatic Activation is a premium product at a truly affordable price.  The jacket suggested retail is $149.99 at your local Bass Pro Shops. When I put on this PFD and properly adjusted it, I was amazed at just how much freedom of movement I had casting a rod and reel, and moving around in the boat. This life jacket was so light and comfortable I had it on all day and hardly noticed it! So the acceptance of wearing a life jacket on the water all the time became more plausible!


If you don’t know your own state's regulation on life jackets and PFDs, go to the Boat U.S. web site and locate the laws specific to your state.  Web page link: http://www.boatus.com/foundation/ljlp/staterequirements.asp

Please help me eliminate drowning on and near the water across the country this spring by asking others to wear their PFD. My hope is that you, and your family will never have to find out if your life jacket works when you fall into the water. Really, is $150 to much to save your own life?

THANKS FOR READING..... BRANCH

About the author: Tom is a freelance outdoor writer and full time Firefighter, Paramedic/Lieutenant in Georgia for the past 28 years.  He has been working and consulting in the Outdoor Industry for over 18 years and is currently creating and managing a pro fishing team, developing new products, promoting products through demonstrations, designing packaging, and he participates in different forums, radio & television shows.  Tom and his wife, Kim are volunteers with Operation One Voice. They live north of Atlanta near Braselton, GA with their lab “Jake”.

Follow him on www.facebook.com/tombranchjr   and http://twitter.com/tombranchjr   
Blog: http://outonalimbwithtombranchjr.blogspot.com/



Monday, March 4, 2013

It’s more than a just protection for your phone….



Last week, the good folks at LifeProof contacted me and asked me to test one of their “brand new" LifeProof iPhone cases, and they wanted my opinion on the “new” LifeProof Life Jacket.  Let me first tell you guys, I am pretty tough on a cellular phone. Most of the time I am either toting my phone in my pants pocket on a fire/medical call, or I have it on me in the woods or on the water. So I think I can do a good test on a phone case. The iPhone is a phone that must be protected from the elements and any surprising falls. These types of phones are prone to damage. A reasonable price of $100 will cover a replacement screen is expected if you don’t protect your phone from falls.  On LifeProof web site ( http://www.lifeproof.com/en/ ) and all their advertising it says the cases are waterproof, dirt proof, snow proof, and shock proof. Well guess what, I believe I can test all those words in one week of testing.
 


The LifeProof products I received did not come with instructions; but once you go to their web site, there are a lot of videos to help you install your phone into its new case. The case itself consists of two pieces that are constructed with polycarbonate. Polycarbonate is a durable material. Although it has high impact-resistance, it has low scratch-resistance and so a hard coating is applied to polycarbonate eyewear lenses and polycarbonate exterior automotive components.  The two-piece case will snap around your iPhone on either side. It is important when assembling the case to be careful and take your time. When doing this you must make sure the internal latches are locking together. All the latches must connect to make the phone case 100% waterproof and dust proof. Snapping the case together did not seem to be an issue, but taking it apart requires a bit more time and effort. I really felt after putting the phone in the case, there is no reason to continually be disassembling the case. LifeProof does state you can open and close the case about 50 times before its latches might become too worn to ensure your device’s protection.

Once your iPhone is in the case, you should ensure that the “Charge Port Door” is completely closed & locked. LifeProof does have a mechanism that folds over the iPhone to protect you’re charging connectors. You can open that door whenever you need to connect your charger or sync your iPhone. The door is also made with the polycarbonate material which will keep it study and strong. You are going to have to open this door thousands of times during the life of your phone so strength and durability are very important to this feature.  To keep all the dust, dirt and grime out of your iPhone's headphone jack, the LifeProof case includes a cover that screws into the opening of the jack.
 
You can access all of your iPhone’s features when your phone is in the LifeProof case: The cameras remain exposed, and all the buttons can be accessed through the case. The volume, sleep, wake, and Home buttons are easy to access with a touch. The ringer & silent switch is a bit tougher to access because of the case’s strong constructed material. It might take you a few tries to get your iPhone to mute the sound, but it can be done.
 
LifeProof claims their cases remains are water-tight down to 2 meters of water, and it can survive drops onto smooth concrete from the same distance. The LifeProof cases are able to withstand temperatures between -40 and 140 degrees Fahrenheit. I don’t believe I will be testing this feature right now!  Overall, this case is very light for the protection it offers. Well, I tested it and they are true to their word. This case is tough, durable and meets my test with flying colors.  


If you are an outdoor's person I highly recommend buying another idem from LifeProof, and that is the “Life Jacket."  With the Life Jacket accessory, your iPhone will actually float. The “Life Jackets” is an incredible handy extra for those who take their phone out on the water. The big orange Life Jacket wrapped around your phone (which should already be in a LifeProof case) you will not have to worry about it sinking to the bottom of the lake or ocean if your phone should go over the side of the boat. This “Life Jacket” will keep your phone safe and secure, which means it shouldn’t get wet or even sink into the water.
 
I value my electronic device's way too much to use a cheap $10 case you can buy online. Spend a few extra dollars and get a dependable LifeProof iPhone case. The cases retail for $79.95, but you might be able to find them on sale. The Life Jacket can be purchased for $39.95, and it will save you the heartache the next time your phone falls into the lake.


Thanks for reading…… BRANCH



About the author: Tom is a freelance outdoor writer and full time Firefighter, Paramedic/Lieutenant in Georgia for the past 28 years.  He has been working and consulting in the Outdoor Industry for over 18 years and is currently creating and managing a pro fishing team, developing new products, promoting products through demonstrations, designing packaging, and he participates in different forums, radio & television shows.  Tom and his wife, Kim are volunteers with Operation One Voice. They live north of Atlanta near Braselton, GA with their lab “Jake”.