If there is one thing I don’t like about inflatable life jackets it’s that they are single taskers. The rest of the garb I wear while fishing performs two or three functions. Gloves keep my hands warm, protects them from the sun, keeps them clean and wards off sticks from sharp walleye fins. Shirts, pants, hats and other wearables are multi-taskers as well.

Inflatable life jackets are single taskers. Granted, that task is important and can be a life saver, but since accidentally falling out of a boat or off a fishing pier is extremely rare, too many people don’t habitually wear them.

Evidently, the designers at Absolute Outdoors, maker of Onyx inflatable PFDs, realized this so they created the deluxe version of their popular and ultra-comfortable Auto/Manual Life Vest – “deluxe” means they’ve added pockets. It’s a simple thing, but now, instead of the life jacket being just a safety harness strapped on “just in case,” there are two zipper-close pockets (one on each side) to hold a cell phone, gloves, bait box or fishing tools. Or just stick you fingers inside the pocket to warm them up a bit on a chilly morning.

Onyx is a leader in the life jacket industry, with a variety of throwable cushions as well as inflatable and standard PFDs  in sizes to fit infants to adults. All (including the A/M 24 Deluxe) are made with tough, long-lasting materials and constructed to exacting standards. The A/M in the name is for automatic or manual activation.  The auto-inflate feature which causes the vest to instantly self-inflate when submerged in water can be disabled (if desired) for when the user is in a relatively non-dangerous situation – kayaking in relatively warm or shallow water, for instance. In the manual mode the vest won’t pop open if all the wearer needs to do is stand up or climb back into the boat or kayak but in an emergency a quick pull on the ripcord will inflate the vest.

Onyx life jackets are widely available from online sources as well as brick and mortar stores. Check out the M-24 A/M Deluxe Auto/Manual Inflatable Life Jacket and other products at www.onyxoutdoor.com. 

Remember, life jackets only work if they are being worn and the more comfortable and more useful they are, the more likely it will be to make wearing one all the time an every time habit.

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