Chest Waders - to shuck or not to shuck

Discussion in 'Waterfowl Hunting' started by artcarney_agr, Jan 16, 2009.

  1. artcarney_agr

    artcarney_agr Banned

    Oct 9, 2007

    I've heard several opinions now about what to do with chest waders if you do happen to go overboard. I would like to hear everyone's opinion and see if maybe we can come to an agreement on the issue.

    Option 1:
    Shuck your waders immediately: waders will fill with water and drag you down.

    Option 2:
    Pull your knees to you chest to trap any air into your waders: trapped air will help you float. Also, modern day waders can be made of thick neoprene - neoprene has a natural buoyancy that can help you float whether they fill with water or not.

    For years, I've always been told that Option 1 was what you're supposed to do. No questions asked.

    Option 2 was mentioned in a safety article I read not long ago, and was the first time that I had heard that. I had a buddy about a year or two ago sink his boat while hauling brush out to a blind - he was not wearing a lifejacket. Once he hit the water, he started struggling - another guy that was with him said that he should relax, and let the waders float him...which he did and he swam his way to shore with his arms while keeping in a ball to stay afloat.

    Now with that being said, what does everyone think?
  2. quackrstackr

    quackrstackr Welcome to Fantasy Island Staff Member

    Nov 19, 2003
    The Island
    Neoprene waders will float you so long as you are not struggling.

    Sort of like jacking around in a swimming pool vs just laying on your back and allowing yourself to float.
  3. ducknbuckhunter

    ducknbuckhunter 10 pointer

    Aug 3, 2005
    there was something on espn or the outdoor channel testing if waiters would sink you..... from what i remember you are suppose to lay back and you will float but do not really remember??? i would also like the answer to this.... but when im in the boat i usually dont have them on... just always scared me:eek:
  4. Tim T

    Tim T 12 pointer

    Mar 29, 2007
    Not sure what the "perfect" option would be, but if it came to taking off my life jacket to shuck the waders, then I would leave them both on and take my chances.
  5. quackrstackr

    quackrstackr Welcome to Fantasy Island Staff Member

    Nov 19, 2003
    The Island
    mrdux can tell you from firsthand experience.

    I watched him accidentally test the theory one morning last year.
  6. eDuck

    eDuck 6 pointer

    Nov 3, 2004
    Webster Co
    Leave them on.

    1) the will help you float
    2) the will help insulate you

    It's simple science - waders, full of water and in the water, cannot "pull you down" because they don't weigh anymore than they do when you are (and the waders) are dry.

    I have had first hand experience with something similar to this in the Army when I had to do a drown-proofing class. Obviously we didn't have waders on but we did have a lot of gear on.

    Something to consider for non-believers: your life preserver probably has enough flotation ability to float you AND your waders half full of rocks.
    Last edited: Jan 16, 2009
  7. hillbillyhunter3

    hillbillyhunter3 6 pointer

    Jan 28, 2008
    I guess if you were out in the middle of the water or in swift current and couldn't swim out of it, I would just leave the waders on and hope for help. As long as you don't panic, I only see waders helping insulate and provide a little flotation.
    If you decided to try to swim to shore, I would probably ditch the waders to make it easier to swim, but than you risk loosing the little bit of insulation you have in case you don't make it to shore.
    Just my thoughts.
  8. addicted to Quack

    addicted to Quack Spike

    Sep 28, 2006
    Leave them on.

    I put on my waders & bailed off into my pool. I'm not a complete idiot (although non-duck hunters think otherwise) as it was only 4' deep. I could stand up if needed. If you lay on your back & pull your knees up & you will float. I do think it would be better with a wader belt on, but have never tried it since.

    The main thing is that most people panic & go into shock due to the cold water. This cold water theory is something I am not going to try on purpose. If anyone is willing to take one for the team, I can find a pool.

    It's a pretty good exercise for everyone to try this summer, because it does limit your ability to swim.
  9. Pugs

    Pugs 8 pointer

    Oct 3, 2005
    Exactly. I'm a retired Naval Aviator and if nothing else the water survival training we did every four years got you very comfortable being in the water wearing 45 lbs of flight gear and treading water and drownproofing for 30 minutes. It's all neutral, you're more likely to hurt your self trying to get out of it. Relax, breast/side stroke your way to safety, if you're with the boat stay.

    I'd highly suggest a little swimming in the summer with waders to build confidence.
  10. hcpwaterfowl

    hcpwaterfowl 6 pointer

    Dec 6, 2008
    ohio county

    juss dont wear them in a boat and if u sink swim to bank. but i dont hunt much big water. so i have no idea about ky lake and stuff like that. But i wood defently say shuck them man. i juss dnt trust my waders to float me wen they are full of water.
  11. B.M. Barrelcooker

    B.M. Barrelcooker 12 pointer

    Jan 12, 2006
    raise your knees and float.....try it this summer in a swiming pool. Not only will you float but the neoprene will help retain precious body heat.
  12. jeff

    jeff 8 pointer

    Dec 15, 2004
    E-Town ky
    Chest waders will help you stay afloat

    Surviving Water Emergencies

    Always wear a U.S. Coast Guard–approved personal flotation device (life jacket) while you’re in the boat. Life jackets will not only keep you afloat, but they’ll also help you keep warm. Hunters 12 years old and younger are required by law to wear a life jacket on board a watercraft in Arizona.
    If you get caught in a storm and your boat swamps or capsizes, stay with the boat. Most small boats will float even when upside down or filled with water. Signal passing boats with a bright cloth, or raise an oar if one is available.
    Placing an oar under your back and shoulders and another under your legs can help you float. If decoys are in reach, stuff them inside your jacket.
    Chest waders and hip boots also will help you stay afloat.

    • If in chest waders, trap air in the waders by bending your knees and raising your feet. Lie on your back.
    • If in hip boots, trap air in the boots by bending your knees. Lie on your stomach.
    • Use a wading belt to keep chest waders and hip boots from filling with water.
    Equip your boat with a means for re-entry (ladder, sling, etc.) to use if you should fall into the water.
    [​IMG] [​IMG]
  13. stickman

    stickman Fawn

    Dec 26, 2008
    Florence, KY
    Wear a wader belt. This will help trap air.
  14. kyblackmallard

    kyblackmallard 10 pointer

    Sep 18, 2006
    Wear a life jacket and keep the waders on.People talk about the water being cold ,but on days like today and yesterday the water is warmer than the air.I realize you have to get out of the water ,but you are not out of the woods yet.I have taken several dunkings with waders on, and I would rather have water in my waders when I got out than not.Wear the life jacket and be careful out there.
  15. GreatWhite

    GreatWhite Fawn

    Jan 13, 2009
    Recent studies by the USCG show that most drownings that occur in cold water result from what is now known as Cold Water Immersion. Hypothermia does not begin until the body core temp. starts to drop, usually after 5 to 10 minutes depending on water temps. and clothing conditions. Cold Water
    Immersion can take place in as little as 30 seconds. It is the bodys Involentary Gasp for air that takes place when a body is suddenly plunged into frigid waters. If you are lucky enough to have your head above water when this happens, you may survive long enough to actually get Hypothermia. I agree with all those that vote to stay in your waders, and always wear the PFD's when boating or hunting the big waters. Try not to hunt alone;)
    Last edited: Jan 16, 2009

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