Is the Wingman US Coast Guard Approved?
The Wingman uses 23 Gram 1/2 inch threaded CO2 cylinders which are approved for a Marine environment, these are coated differently than typical CO2 cylinders to prevent corrosion in a marine environment.
The Wingman is currently offered in a one-size-fits-all adult size, it has been tested and approved by the USCG for adults weighing more than 90 lbs with chest sizes from 30 to 50 inches. This is a very wide spectrum and the Wingman has been proven to fit men and women of all shapes and sizes very comfortably.
The Wingman is USCG certified for user's greater than 90 lbs though there is no defined upper weight limit.
Average sized adults need approximately 7 – 12 pounds of buoyancy to keep their head above water. The minimum requirement for an adult PFD is 15 ½ lbs of buoyancy, our general rule of thumb is, if it fits you, it will float you.
Generally yes, TSA policy allows travelers to take an inflatable life jacket with 2 spare cylinders on flights as a carry on or checked baggage (see formal policy HERE, section "CO2 Cartridge for Life Vest") however TSA leaves it
up to the discretion of the airline as to whether CO2 cylinders are allowed on board their company aircraft, either as checked luggage or carry-on. Therefore, we recommend contacting the airline prior to your flight to request information on their policy.
What activities are Inflatable life jackets NOT USCG approved for?
The USCG does not approve inflatable life jackets (including the Wingman) for high impact activities like water skiing, jet skiing or white water rafting where there is an increased likelihood of being knocked out.
What makes the Wingman different from other inflatable life jackets?
Hyde's patented innovations that have never been used in an inflatable life jacket before include our CO2 mounting plate which makes the Wingman the first USCG approved inflatable life jacket with the an over the shoulder ripcord and the CO2 cylinder on the users back, the ideal spot for all high performance activities; out of the way for paddling, fishing etc. and off the chest for swimming and surfing. The CO2 is high on the user’s back to ensure it doesn’t interfere with kayak seats.
Hyde’s patented Triple Bursting Zipper technology automatically opens at three points upon inflation which allows the bladder to escape the vest and float you to safety. Repacking the vest with the Triple Bursting Zipper is effortless and can be done in minutes. Our triple bursting zipper gives the Wingman its industry leading thin profile.
The Wingman is the first USCG approved inflatable life jacket designed to go in the water with you. It's slim, streamlined profile, and ergonomic fit make it the only USCG approved inflatable thin enough to swim and surf in without creating significant drag, buoyancy or bulk.
The Wingman is the only US Coast Guard approved inflatable life jacket with a built in hydration sleeve allowing you to insert a hydration bladder into the vest. The Wingman also has channels on the shoulders to keep your hydration hose locked in place and easily accessible.
What makes the Wingman better than inflatable belt packs?
Two Stage Donning Required - A huge advantage of the Wingman over inflatable beltpacks and waistpacks is the fact that you simply need to pull the ripcord and the Wingman instantly floats you to safety and turns you face up. Inflatable waistpacks require users to not only inflate the bladder but also then wrangle the bladder and fasten it around their neck, these additional steps can be difficult and even impossible in some emergency situations. Speed and ease of use can be the difference between life or death and the Wingman is second to none in both categories.
Does the Wingman provide any buoyancy when it is not inflated?
We like to say that the Wingman is neutrally buoyant, what this means is that if you drop the Wingman in the water it will float due to the neoprene layer. When you are wearing the vest the buoyancy is basically negligible due to the minimal amount of buoyancy provided by the neoprene.
Do you need to be conscious to pull the cord?
Yes, you do need to be conscious to pull the cord and that's by design. Here’s why:
We designed this product to be the first swimmer and surfers life jacket so it was important to us that it can be used in the water. We could make the vest an auto-inflate and that's something we'll consider down the road but that would negate what makes the Wingman truly unique for our in water applications.
The USCG doesn't approve inflatable life jackets for high impact activities like water skiing or white water rafting where there is an increased likelihood of being knocked out so those are the few water sports where the Wingman doesn't really apply.
The primary reason we created the Wingman was to get people who don't wear life jackets to wear one, if you don't wear a life jacket and are knocked out, you're in worse shape because you'll be harder to rescue. Wearing the Wingman will make an assisted rescue easier. If someone can reach you, all they have to do is pull your cord rather than risk their safety to drag you in.
Finally most people don't realize that the foam PFD's they wear aren't guaranteed to float them face up which can result in drowning if a wearer is unconscious as well. The Wingman has been tested to turn users face up from any position.