Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Why It's Always A Good Idea to Test Your Gear.

Especially when it's new, critical to your safety, and involves anything remotely doohickey-ish.

This was my first attempt at using the pull tab to inflate my relatively new Kokatat Sea-O2 hybrid inflatable lifejacket. The jacket comes with 2 inflation cartridges precisely for this reason - you are specifically meant to give it a test inflation under controlled circumstances, and it's a really good idea to do so. Witness the above if you have any questions why!

I did, as I said, set it up - however, I apparently didn't bother to read the instructions first, or even take a very close look at the trigger device before I did. That's weird 'cause I'm usually pretty good about both of those, but I'm strongly suspecting that the failure of the vest to inflate was probably entirely due to my setting it up wrong.

I'll be making a 3-parter out of this - now that I've actually looked at the doohickey in question & figured out how it works & what I think I probably did to make it NOT work (it's not a particularly complicated little thing), naturally I now have to inflict ALL of that on anyone who'll stop by to listen (although I don't know if that will happen this week, got a lot going on so this may be my last post for a few days) - and then Part 3 will be the 2nd test, with a properly armed inflation trigger, which I expect (and hope) will have something closer to the expected results.

Discovering something like this in a real-world situation would be much less of a laughing matter. There is still the manual inflation tube, of course, and of course this being a hybrid, it has got enough flotation to let you catch your breath and DO the blowing-up - but it would be so much nicer if the thing just inflates the way it's supposed to when you ask it to!


Pandabonium said...

I just discovered a problem with an item unrelated to the water. The owner manual showed a two step process with images, which I followed. But reading on, the next paragraph warned not to do things in the order shown in the images as it would render the item inoperative!

Doesn't matter what it was. Thankfully not a life saving device. But it does illustrate (pun intended) how details can easily trip us up.

Good for you for giving your gear a trial run.

bonnie said...

Ooohh, now that must have been frustrating.

I'd actually figured out how I'd messed up within a few minutes after I got back in my boat. TQ was ready to film again if I wanted to repeat, but he warned that the camera battery was running out of juice, plus as soon as I figured out my screwup I was thinking it would be fun to do a super geeky post about the way the thing was supposed to work, plus that water is now officially & inarguably cold, I was feeling a little chilly after the first swim & we were still a ways out from the club, so I didn't want to push it. We were out around low water & I decided to do the test pretty far out because the water here was going to be the last water deep enough to do the test for a good hour or so, by which time we were going to be losing the light.

TQ pointed out as we got back that we could've hiked almost our entire 9-mile route route. Jamaica Bay is funny that way - you can be half a mile off the closest shore & still be in knee-deep water!