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Old 04-01-2011, 05:10 PM   #1
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I am new to sailing and to this site- both of which are very exciting! I am an industrial designer at the Ohio State University. For my senior thesis I am going to redesign a 6 person life raft. I want to ask a couple of questions about the currents rafts and get different perspectives from experienced sailors!

My survey link is below- it's only 7 questions and won't take much time!

http://www.surveymonkey.com/s/WJPPVXN

Thanks, I appreciate all the help!

Jamiep.s. If there is additional information you want to provide I can be reached via email!
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Old 04-01-2011, 05:42 PM   #2
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Second or third time around on this one. Getting paid for posting this survey around all the forums?
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Old 04-01-2011, 06:46 PM   #3
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I hope you come back to this site to read any comments that are here rather than expect your "survey" to tell you enough to design a new life raft. This is a cruising forum where we share information, and private conversations aren't really in the spirit of the forum or the cruising community.

Because I hold pretty strong opinions, it is better for them to be aired for all other cruisers to see and comment on, particularly with regard to something as little-used but so important as a life raft.

On of the better resources that a cruiser should exploit is the book Adrift: Seventy-six Days Lost at Sea by Steve Callahan, an extremely literate and intelligent story of one man's survival in a life raft.

Another one: Albatross: The True Story of a Woman's Survival at Sea by Deborah Scaling Kiley and Meg Noonan.

There are others, though most deal with naval ships lost in the Pacific during WW II.

My next comments are actually to question your reason for designing a 6-person life raft. Seems a bit large for the average cruising boat, which will normally consist of no more than 4 people on board. Though I've heard people recommend getting the biggest life raft one can afford, I have been told by most people who have gone through a survival course or are professionals teaching such a course, that one should never carry a life raft larger than the maximum people expected to use it.

The reason is that comfort is not possible in a life raft, but stability and security is, but not if the raft is so large that the occupants are tossed around in it and cannot keep it upright, a possible problem if the raft is too large for the number of occupants.

So. How many people here have been forced to abandon their boat and board a life raft? How difficult was it?

How many people here have purchased a life raft after some research? What was the most convincing argument for your choice of rafts? Did you do a practice run at boarding the life raft from the water?

the survey seems to me to be more appropriate for choosing a bicycle or surfboard, not a piece of survival gear.
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Old 04-01-2011, 07:56 PM   #4
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Hi, Jamie,

Good luck in this senior project. Typically such projects are sponsored by a company as well as the university. So, which company are we providing responses to?

Who is the sponsor of the work?

Most Senior Projects begin at the beginning of the senior year or at least the spring semester. It is April 1st today. Shouldn't you be preparing your presentation of "solution" of the problem by now in the semester? What am I missing here?

Are you in a department of Industrial Engineering and Design? If so, the process part of the problem should interest you and one of the most important and interesting parts of life raft ownership and use is the maintenance and certification process. This process is different in different countries and the quality of inspection and repacking of the life raft has been questioned by many people. Further, the longevity of the materials (whilst sitting outside on deck in the tropics for multiple years) is also a problem.

If you are NOT sponsored by a life raft company (who will be providing you with information about the above issues), your industrial design problem for life rafts would do the most good in the real world if you considered a study of process improvement for the safety inspection/recertification of life rafts. The materials issue is also exceedingly important. Thus, a design project more focused on the life raft valise in terms of protecting the raft from heat-related degradation would be exceedingly useful and helpful to the cruising community. You may be able to come up with a nice design that could be used to enhance the temperature moderating capabilities of the vendor-provided valise.

If you ARE sponsored by a life raft company, then the market-related questions in your survey (and cited below) are most appropriate for your sponsor's benefit.

1. How many life rafts have you owned?

2. Which brand do you prefer...and why?

3. What do you consider the most important features of the raft?

4. What do you consider is the most important aspect of the life raft for a person in a hazardous situation? (ex: too keep someone dry, protected from water, provided insulation, ect.)

5. What do you look for when buying a raft? (ex: size, features, materials, etc.)

6. What are the current problems of your raft? How would you like to change them?

7. Your ultimate raft: What would it look like? What could it be capable of? What features would you add to it? What materials would you like to incorporate? How would you get into the raft? ect...

I also hope that you come back to this site to read these comments and let us know the full picture of what you're doing.

Good luck in getting going on your late-start project.
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Old 05-08-2011, 12:00 AM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by JeanneP View Post

I hope you come back to this site to read any comments that are here rather than expect your "survey" to tell you enough to design a new life raft. This is a cruising forum where we share information, and private conversations aren't really in the spirit of the forum or the cruising community.

Because I hold pretty strong opinions, it is better for them to be aired for all other cruisers to see and comment on, particularly with regard to something as little-used but so important as a life raft.

On of the better resources that a cruiser should exploit is the book Adrift: Seventy-six Days Lost at Sea by Steve Callahan, an extremely literate and intelligent story of one man's survival in a life raft.

Another one: Albatross: The True Story of a Woman's Survival at Sea by Deborah Scaling Kiley and Meg Noonan.

There are others, though most deal with naval ships lost in the Pacific during WW II.

My next comments are actually to question your reason for designing a 6-person life raft. Seems a bit large for the average cruising boat, which will normally consist of no more than 4 people on board. Though I've heard people recommend getting the biggest life raft one can afford, I have been told by most people who have gone through a survival course or are professionals teaching such a course, that one should never carry a life raft larger than the maximum people expected to use it.

The reason is that comfort is not possible in a life raft, but stability and security is, but not if the raft is so large that the occupants are tossed around in it and cannot keep it upright, a possible problem if the raft is too large for the number of occupants.

So. How many people here have been forced to abandon their boat and board a life raft? How difficult was it?

How many people here have purchased a life raft after some research? What was the most convincing argument for your choice of rafts? Did you do a practice run at boarding the life raft from the water?

the survey seems to me to be more appropriate for choosing a bicycle or surfboard, not a piece of survival gear.
JeanneP - as usual for you, Right-on-the-money. Good on you, 'special chickie-babe'. Also to you Bob - Well 'shot' - right from the hip. I'm somewhat concerned that this person, 1/ has not told us much about themselves (no info in their 'profile') & 2/ has not been courteous enough to come back into these forums with more info. Having said that & acknowledging that I've no intention to spend hours answering their 'questionnaire' - I do make the point that the subject is VERY IMPORTANT. Back in the late '60's & early '70's several of the leading Ocean yacht clubs got together with the Australian government & staged a comprehensive set of sea trials off Sydney, Australia in order to more properly evaluate an 'up-to-date' programme for better safety at sea, which included the deployment of many yachts & more than 8 different 'life-rafts'. This whole programme was spread over months each year & over several years of pre-briefings, the actual sea trials & post-conferences. Much 'new' information was gleened from this extensive evaluation & in fact lead to the establishment of the current 'Marine Operations - Air, Sea Rescue' coordination center, head-quarted in our national capital (Canberra) which is used Australia wide & has saved hundreds of lives. This extensive evaluation also lead to many changes & up-grades in the design, construction & concepts of life-rafts all around the world. I was fortunate enough to take part in this whole programme & although my memory is a tad vague, I distinctly recall learning a lot of VERY valuable information - which I still use to this day. I'll not bore everyone in hear with the details of 'said trials' as it would take up to much room & time, however I'm sure that there must be much information officially available for anyone who wishes to look for it.

Nice to be 'back-on-line' & return to these great pages & wonderful people herein. We've been without 'telling-bone' & computer since the very close passing of Cyclone Yasi back in early Feb. but are now returning to the 'real-outside world' & trying to recover our property for both 'Yasi' & 4 long months of floods. We've had 2 mtrs of rain since Jan 1 & as 'murphy' would have it are now having to pump water from our creek so we have water to the house, plants & my lovely parrots.

Good adventures,fun sailing & great friendships to you all. Golly, it's nice to be back. Ciao, 'jj-geri-hat-trick'

PS - Sorry for any errors but I've forgotten how to type & my 'spell-check' isn't working either. Smile all, james

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Old 05-08-2011, 08:14 AM   #6
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Interesting to note that new member "Jstarr" has not been back here since posting his request.
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Old 05-08-2011, 11:27 AM   #7
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Quote:
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Interesting to note that new member "Jstarr" has not been back here since posting his request.
Gooday Bob. You're correct, she has not come back-in or made any comment. However, I've just posted a comment in her personal area & asked her to show some 'common courtsey' which like 'common sense' is not all that common. When we get finished (in 6 to 8 months) our cleaning-up after our small problems I'll get back to saving my coins - so when I get to your place I can bring a cold slab (beer) & some snags for the barbi, eh. Pleasant times for you, mate from an older (but not all that much wiser) 'jj-geri-hat-trick' - james PS. If I don't get any response, I'll then contact Ohio State Uni. so they can give us all some comment, as she IS their problem & without good manners THEY can bloody well keep her - all to themselves. Ciao, jj
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Old 04-02-2014, 10:27 AM   #8
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Hi there! If you're interested in finding the best liferaft on the market, I'd recommend checking that link: Liferafts - All boating and marine industry manufacturers - Videos. It really help me.
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Old 04-02-2014, 11:06 AM   #9
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Welcome outve1. Which one did you eventually buy and what most influenced your decision?
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