Mustang LIFT vest, a real winner
Another contender in the safety category of the MAATS innovation awards—the one that I think should have won—was Mustang Survival’s vest PFD with LIFT. I say this because last summer I tested the vest, then in developement, along with 7 other top quality inflatable suspender and belt style PFDs, and thought it was the best by far. That’s me above, and I’m not standing on the bottom; the Mustang vest is holding my head and shoulders out of the water without any effort on my part. Plus it was more comfortable than the suspender types out of the water, uninflated, and significantly more comfortable than all the other models in the water. The latter is a big deal if you’re trying to keep your mouth out of the waves and operate “help me” gear like flares, strobes, laser lights, a PLB, and/or a handheld VHF. LIFT (Life-saving Inflatable Flotation Technology) costs more than other inflatable PFDs, but it’s a truly innovative design and could make a difference. I wrote the testing up for the Nov. 2004 Sail, unfortunately not online. By the way, some August vacationers at a local swimming hole were amused as I donned full foul weather gear, then repeatedly jumped off a rock and “blew up” as Jamie took notes and snapped pictures. Some fun.