Mustang Survival Releases Statement on Lewis Smith Lake Incident

Mustang Survival has released an official statement following an incident at a recent FLW tournament in Alabama. You can read their full statement here.

BELLINGHAM, Washington – On Sunday, March 29, 2015, pro angler John Cox and his marshall, Bryan New, were thrown from their boat during an FLW bass fishing tournament on Lewis Smith Lake, Alabama.We are thankful both men sustained only minor injuries in this serious incident.

Media reports indicated Cox’s Mustang Survival Inflatable Personal Flotation Device (PFD) malfunctioned, however we have confirmed these reports were incorrect. Cox was wearing a manual inflatable PFD designed to only inflate upon pulling the manual inflation cord.

The incident highlights two key things for people to be aware of:

Inflation method – Mustang Survival suggests the use of automatic inflatable PFDs for bass fishing. In the event of unconsciousness, they will automatically inflate to float and self-right the wearer, keeping the mouth and nose out of the water.

Inspection & Maintenance – Inflatable PFDs are a technical piece of equipment that should be inspected annually at the same time as your regular boat maintenance. A visual inspection followed by an oral inflation test is all it takes to make sure your PFD is in good working condition. Check your user manual for detailed instructions.

“Our team is committed to building quality products that work when they are needed most,” said Jason Leggatt, Vice President, Commercial at Mustang Survival.  “We take these incidents seriously and will be stepping up our efforts to educate people on choosing the best PFD for their activities and on how to properly maintain them.” 

The Mustang Survival team recently completed PFD inspections at the Vancouver International Boat Show and the Bassmaster Classic to help educate consumers about proper maintenance and ensure their safety.  

Mustang Survival is pleased to provide both Cox and New with the latest addition to our product line – the Elite™ Inflatable PFD – so the pair can continue fishing with the highest level of confidence and comfort. The Elite features Hydrostatic Inflator Technology that will automatically inflate when submerged in 4 inches or more of water.

For more information on inflatable PFDs, flotation clothing and inspection & maintenance procedures, visit

Wired2Fish has an excellent recap of the incident—a single boat accident which Cox says was an aberration.