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View Poll Results: Liferafts...Whats your status
Don't own one 16 21.92%
Have one, uncertified...Never taken a course 11 15.07%
Have one, uncertified...Taken a class 2 2.74%
Have one, certified...Never taken a class 21 28.77%
Have one, certified...Taken a class 23 31.51%
Voters: 73. You may not vote on this poll

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Old 04-12-2007, 08:05 AM   #1
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Certification refers to the servicing of the life raft. If you don't know it's date, or have never had your life raft serviced then select unserviced.

A class refers to you having deployed and sat in the life raft (preferably while it was being serviced).
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Old 04-12-2007, 10:39 PM   #2
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A note for the life raft owners.

Most liferafts have a 1 or 2 year service schedule. Then you take it to the shop and drop it off to be serviced. A better plan is to hang around and deploy the raft at the service center. It's something they have to do anyway. Pull the cord, deploy it, then hop in it and find out where everything is. There's a lot of hiding places for the tons of equipment on board. It will probably have an inflatable floor which is used to isolate the occupants from the cold of the ocean. Pump the floor up a bit so that if you ever need to do it you'll know how.

Ask questions! Most service center repairmen are well qualified and knowledgeable. Many give classes on life raft use.

All of this is free as the raft needs to be deployed to be serviced. Many will be surprised at how long the trip line is and how much effort it takes to deploy. First time I tried it I thought my raft was broken.
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Old 04-12-2007, 11:10 PM   #3
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@Spike_Dawg



Well done for initiating this thread. The information you give is VERY useful. I think we would all be surprised at how few ocean sailors know how this vital piece of equipment REALLY works. How many crew know all about it? What if the skipper/owner is incapacitated and the liferaft needs to be launched? Makes you think doesn't it?
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Old 04-12-2007, 11:42 PM   #4
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I'm looking to buy one...any recommendations?
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Old 04-13-2007, 06:49 AM   #5
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There a really good place in San Fran...a little up the road from you but well worth it.

SAL'S INFLATABLES

510-522-1824 510-522-1064

451 W. ATLANTIC #118 , ALAMEDA , CA , 94501

He's a life raft expert, teaches a life raft survival class, and will recommend something for you. Set it up so that you pick it up on a day he's willing to run you through another raft, of the same type, that he's servicing. Pretty sure you're going to be surprised at what you'll learn. Surprisingly he's also very affordable.
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Old 04-13-2007, 03:30 PM   #6
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Sal will be at the Oakland Boat Show as will Winslow and a few others. We went with Winslow, but so far haven't had to test it!
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Old 04-13-2007, 04:28 PM   #7
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Thanks Guys! I will do precisely that and report when I do.
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Old 02-08-2008, 07:47 PM   #8
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Thanks Guys! I will do precisely that and report when I do.
Have you bought one yet?
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Old 02-09-2008, 07:06 PM   #9
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From everything I have read. I am sailing my liferaft. I don't know how true that is, but when it comes time to leave for the Philippines. Y

From everything I have read. I am sailing my liferaft. I don't know how true that is, but when it comes time to leave for the Philippines. You can be assured that I will have one aboard.
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Old 02-26-2008, 12:05 AM   #10
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Bumping this thread up.
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Old 02-26-2008, 03:37 AM   #11
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Originally Posted by redbopeep View Post
Bumping this thread up.
Good Idea,

Having Resuscitated the Topic - which Life Raft is on your list ?

New Technology changes things - every day.

Richard
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Old 02-26-2008, 04:49 AM   #12
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Good Idea,

Having Resuscitated the Topic - which Life Raft is on your list ?

New Technology changes things - every day.

Richard
Dunno. Not on the short list right now since the boat goes back in the water in June and we don't get the rigging on her 'til after then. We'll be doing shake-down work-ups locally for a few months with just the 12' Tinker Traveler (and lifeboat conversion) which is fine for the two of us.

When considering more people on board, we could either purchase another Tinker Traveler with lifeboat canopy and keep it packed up to be deployed as a life boat OR go for a 6 man liferaft. Either way, we'd be able to have up to 6 people "covered" so to speak. The proper deployment of the Tinker as a lifeboat includes a bag w/sailing kit, btw.

I believe if a system for abandoning a sinking boat is not logical, easy, reliable for the folks onboard, something can easily go awry. We will usually sail with just the two of us but plan to have 2 people additionally onboard for passage making. I prefer the idea of a single liferaft or lifeboat with a larger group onboard. There is much comfort in the idea of using a lifeboat (with associated ability to sail, row, etc) rather than drift in a life raft. While there are numerous liferafts available, I don't know of ANY lifeboats of a size to fit 6 people that would logically fit a small yacht. Do you know of such a boat?
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Old 02-26-2008, 06:11 AM   #13
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Dunno. Not on the short list right now since the boat goes back in the water in June, and I don't know of ANY lifeboats of a size to fit 6 people that would logically fit a small yacht. Do you know of such a boat?
True there are many life raft designs - it would be useful to examine how latest the technology of all disciplines is changing as to what goes into the raft eg :- hand operated water makers - communication to and from the raft - GPS positioning of the latest location of the raft. The design of the raft itself has undergone many significant changes in terms of providing stability and protection from the elements - the materials, both for the raft and the canopy.

Life Rafts

Here is one of the most expensive 6 person liferafts (around $5,000) :-

Click image for larger version

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Although LIfe Boats are off the Liferaft topic - Check this web site for latest British thinking on the subject :

LIFE BOAT DESIGN
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Old 10-04-2008, 07:34 PM   #14
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When I was flying in RCAF and Canadian Pacific Airlines a liferaft made sense. Constant contact, position, route and ETA know on shore so if liferaft is used, rescue was hours or a day or two away.

A cruising yacht has guarantee the liferaft will actually work as designed; until you pull the cord you do not know if it will inflate.

Cruising yacht offshore may not be able to alert rescue services so will spend days, weeks or months floating around in a life waiting for "Murphy" to smile on them while their floating home deteriorates under them.

For me, a good sized hard dinghy with watertight compartments filled with needed gear and supplies complete with small sail gives me a chance to save myself.

But perhaps I am out of date. I was born before WW2 and was taught self reliance. When I go out sailing I try to be as prepared for all eventualities as possible and to call for help as a last resort.

Gary
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Old 10-04-2008, 08:28 PM   #15
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Hi Gary,

Good to have you with us.

Indeed you are a little out of date. Let me explain why.

The concept behind a ship's liferaft is that it will protect you from the elements until help arrives. There is an inflateable sole (floor) and a rooof tomprotect you from cold and sun. There is no sail because you are meant to stay where you are until help arrives so the idea is that you must alert the MRCC in you area. That is the concept of the GMDSS rescue. Old prop driven machines could survive touchdown in the sea due to their lower impact speeds but modern aircraft are not likely stay stay afloat at all never mind the minutes needed to launch the liferafts. In fact they will break up on landing.

I concur with the principals of self-reliance but the survival techniques deployed today are not based upon that. Self survival todayt basically means not ending up in the drink!

Aye // Stephen
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Old 10-04-2008, 11:56 PM   #16
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Stephen.

I agree with you about staying in one place, if someone knows you are in trouble and ifthey know where to find you. All this new this new technology is great if Murphy is not around. Use the modern technology and have a backup.

Good sailing.

Gary
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Old 10-30-2008, 02:06 AM   #17
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I'm with Gary on this one and, if you don't mind me saying so, the concept of 'staying in one place' at sea in a floating object is somewhat unrealistic. In the kind of conditions that will usually be at cause in crew having to step up into their liferaft, it is unlikely that the raft will stay in one place for more than about ten seconds. It's great to think that experienced rescue service personnel will be able to work out where to look for you from your last known position by calculating set and drift etc., but in practice that is not as easy as one might think, especially when storm conditions prevail.

A friend's boat was broken into, in a Spanish marina, a few years ago. One of the things that was stolen was the E.P.I.R.B. (Emergency Position Indicating Radio Beacon) a device that many yachtsmen have long considered a sure way of being saved if the ship goes down. The device was activated. It took nearly 14 hours for the device to be tracked down to an apartment about 400 yards from the vessel...

In rough storm-lashed seas, it is unlikely that the device would have been any easier to locate...

Frankly, although we have a liferaft on board, I wouldn't consider it as any kind of life-preserving item in real terms - it's just there because some authority or other insists it should be and whoever is in charge of the insisting has probably never got closer to sailing than playing with a rubber duck in the bathtub, so it's easy for him or her to be certain of it's usefulness...

If we reached the point where we were unable to avoid abandoning the boat, (i.e. we were clinging to the top of the mast and even that was beginning to sink) we would perhaps deploy the liferaft as a secondary vessel but we'd want to use the dinghy to get clear of the boat with, if it were at all possible and take the liferaft along for deployment later, preferably under reasonable conditions.

Having said all that, there is no doubt that you should get training in the use of the liferaft if you do think you might ever end up wanting to use it.

Incidentally, we keep an emergency 'abandon-ship' grab-bag aboard, on the basis that it is better to have one and not need it than to need one and not have it... we once checked out what was stowed in the extremely expensive liferaft aboard and the answer was 'pitifully little of any real use'!
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Old 10-30-2008, 05:18 AM   #18
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I'm with Gary on this one and, if you don't mind me saying so, the concept of 'staying in one place' at sea in a floating object is somewhat unrealistic.
If a dinghy is the alternative to a liferaft , then just how far would one expect to get with a dinghy that has an outboard engine, 5 gallons of gas, paddles, no cover from the elements?
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Old 10-30-2008, 10:46 AM   #19
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In bad sea conditions, you would never stay in a dinghy. Large breaking waves will tumble a dinghy or life raft - the life raft has a roof, a dinghy doesn't!

One word of advice - don't buy the largest liferaft you can afford - get one designed for the number of people that will be in it. If a large raft it is under loaded it will be more unstable, more prone to tumbling etc. As there is no head in a life raft, the last thing you want is to be tumbled all over the place when the raft floor is covered with faeces and urine.

Also go on a sea survival course where you learn how to right the raft after it deploys as they have a habit of opening upside down and there is a right way and a wrong way to try to turn them over.
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Old 10-30-2008, 11:41 AM   #20
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".. if you don't mind me saying so, the concept of 'staying in one place' at sea in a floating object is somewhat unrealistic."

No, I don't mind you saying so. You are wrong but I still don't mind as it is your life you are putting on the line and not mine. In fact, it is very realistic.

"In the kind of conditions that will usually be at cause in crew having to step up into their liferaft, it is unlikely that the raft will stay in one place for more than about ten seconds."

In a liferaft there is a sea anchor. Use it. Sure you will not remain in exactly the same place, not even for 10 seconds, but it will reduce your drift.

"It's great to think that experienced rescue service personnel will be able to work out where to look for you from your last known position by calculating set and drift etc., but in practice that is not as easy as one might think, especially when storm conditions prevail."

Yes, it is great isn't it? In fact, unexperienced personnel could do this too as it is done by a very advanced computer program.

Someone once said that, in theory, there is no difference between theory and practice but that in practice there is. Well, in this case that is wrong as the software takes account of the prevailing weather conditions, storm or otherwise to work out your position and area on uncertainty.

"One of the things that was stolen was the E.P.I.R.B. (Emergency Position Indicating Radio Beacon) a device that many yachtsmen have long considered a sure way of being saved if the ship goes down. The device was activated. It took nearly 14 hours for the device to be tracked down to an apartment about 400 yards from the vessel... "

When did this happen? The EPIRBs of today, operating on the GMDSS system are different beasts from the EPIRBS of the 80's which were simply radio beacons opereating on 121.5 MHz, the aircraft distress frequency. Modern units operating on 406 MHz with GPS locate a beacon with a precision of 100 meters, anywhere in the world, and send a serial number for identification (max 4 minutes). The GPS system permits stationary, wide-view geosynchronous communications satellites to enhance the doppler position received by low Earth orbit satellites.

So sure, finding the appartment could be difficult but maritime SAR is not dimensioned to send a SAR helicopter through a living room window but to find that beacon at sea.

"In rough storm-lashed seas, it is unlikely that the device would have been any easier to locate..."

Well, the aircrew or boat crew would get a bumpier ride but that is the only difference.

"it's just there because some authority or other insists it should be and whoever is in charge of the insisting has probably never got closer to sailing than playing with a rubber duck in the bathtub, so it's easy for him or her to be certain of it's usefulness..."

The people who decide these things are the national delegates at the IMO. They may or may not have had rubber ducks as children. They may even have them yet. Who knows? Nor may they have any sailing experience whatsoever. Not that it matters. What matters is that they have a vast experience of maritime search and rescue; and this they do. Your flippant comment underpins your lack of knowledge in this field.

"but we'd want to use the dinghy to get clear of the boat with, if it were at all possible and take the liferaft along for deployment later, preferably under reasonable conditions."

Ever tried getting into a dinghy in moderate sea conditions never mind a storm? Forget it! I have launched on numerous occasions RIB:s from ships specially equipped for this and so I can well imagine what climbing into a dinghy might be like and, believe me, you will mostly likely be tipped out of the dinghy. Also, ever tried sitting in a dinghy all day in a cold and wet condition or under a blazing tropical sun? Not a good idea.

"... we once checked out what was stowed in the extremely expensive liferaft aboard and the answer was 'pitifully little of any real use'! "

In an emergency situation we all want more than what the raft contains but how much can it contain and still be easily launched? How much space will it take on board and how much are you prepared to pay for it? All issues together with the fact that for commercial shipping there is a convention which states specifications for ship's liferafts and their content. This is the SOLAS convention but it is not applicable to pleasure craft. Also, in an emergency, I think you will find everything on the SOLAS contents specification to be useful.

Let me also point out that, in this field, I have quite a lot of experience. Twenty odd years as a coast guard officer, much of that at sea and commanding cutters also means that I have pulled one or two people out of the "drink". In fact, I forget how many people I have had the pleasure to help although quite a few of the incidents are etched into my memory. Incidentally, none of those we assisted ever asked about rubber ducks.

Aye // Stephen
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