We do wear lifejackets (PFD--Personal Flotation Device) when the conditions in our judgement warrant wearing them. The primary considerations are risk of falling overboard and ease of recovery. At night we wear inflatable lifejackets and are tethered to the boat because one of us may be alone in the cockpit while the other is sleeping and recovery would be difficult or impossible. During periods of high winds and boisterous sea states or if we have to leave the cockpit for an extended time lifejackets are on. When seas are calm and we are in the cockpit, the risk of falling overboard is low and ease of recovery is high, we are unlikely to be wearing a life jacket.
There are 3 types of life jackets on board, standard foam vests (4), inflatable PFDs with a harness (2), and inflatable PFDs with a back tow harness and AIS/DSC locators attached. We choose the PFD to match the conditions we are in. The backtow PFDs are used at night as we are at greatest risk and the locating devices will wake the dead and enable a quicker recovery. In addition to the PFDs we have equipment to help safely bring a person back on board, a Lifesling and Switlik MOM8-A.
In the worse case scenario, if we should have to abandon ship, we carry a 6 person coastal life raft and an Emergency Postion Indicating Radio Beacon (EPIRB). The SPOT tracker we use also has an emergency panic button as does our VHF radios which will send a distress signal and our location. Should we have to continue our adventure in the life raft, we have ditch bag containing food, water, and other essential supplies allowing us to stay alive, if not comfortable, for a few days. The signaling devices will enable search and rescue operations to locate us quickly.