Today’s Comfortable “Suspender-Type” Life Vests Should Be Standard Equipment In Lake Country

Whether you are a floatplane pilot or not, equipping your aircraft with “suspender-type” life vests should be standard equipment, especially when flying over lake country and especially in the vicinity of the Great Lakes.

An experienced pilot and her passenger were rescued January 27, 2013 after their recently purchased 1968 PA-32 sank following engine failure and ditching. After a superb water landing, the Piper floated for 5 minutes – allowing pilot and passenger to don life preservers stowed in back.

The pilot later admitted the life vests were there only thanks to the generosity of the plane’s previous owner, who included them with the sale. The vests kept these flyers afloat and alive in 35-degree water for another 23 minutes until they were rescued.

EAA Vice President Jeff Skiles of “Miracle on the Hudson” fame, told the Aircraft Owners and Pilots Association after January’s water landing rescue, “There will be little time to act when the engine fails – particularly at that altitude.” He noted that pilots may undervalue bodies of water as landing options in crowded metropolitan areas. offers the “Revere Comfort Max” suspender-type, fast-inflating life vest, specially designed for aircraft use and suitable for full-time wear. Consumer reviews note that the Comfort Max “fits under my shoulder harness,” “does not get in the way,” and is “comfortable for hours.”

Once deployed, the Comfort Max’s attached whistle and SOLAS retro-reflective tape panels can help pilots and their passengers attract attention. A USCG-approved Type III manual vest, it is intended for those 80 pounds and more, and ages 16 and up, with chest measurements of 30 to 52 inches. is offering the full-featured $119.95 Comfort Max wear-anytime life vest at a special price of $99.95 each for two or more. See the Safety and Survival section of for Product Code 18156 (

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