USCG Liferaft Certificate ??? - SailNet Community

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  #1  
Old 02-14-2009
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Question USCG Liferaft Certificate ???

Please excuse my abject ignorance: In getting a repack quote for my liferaft, the repacker mentioned a charge of $90 something for a USCG Certificate.
I asked him what that was...he just said: " You have to have it or the USCG gets snippy". Uhh... Huh???
Can someone kindly set me straight on this? -Is this just another hidden tax,or is there actually some good reason for it? And oh..." Compliance for it's own sake" isn't much of a reason by my reckoning...


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Old 02-15-2009
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Nical, Are you a commercial, fishing or passenger carrying vessel? If not, I don't think the USCG even cares if you have a life raft.
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Old 02-15-2009
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Quote:
Originally Posted by billyruffn View Post
Nical, Are you a commercial, fishing or passenger carrying vessel? If not, I don't think the USCG even cares if you have a life raft.
That's exactly it, the coast guard doesn't care if you have one if you are a private recreational craft. If you are a commercial charter boat then you are required to have life raft and various other equipment depending on where you are operating and how far offshore.
Sounds like the raft re-packer is trying to sell you something you don't need.
Brian
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Old 02-17-2009
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Thanks very much. I thought that USCG Certificate sounded...um...like a bit of a scam.
Nick L.
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Old 02-17-2009
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Well

If there going to repack and give you a Certificate for 3 more years whos standard would they be working to ?
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Last edited by tommays; 02-17-2009 at 07:58 AM.
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Old 02-17-2009
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Tell him to expletive off.
He will know full well that it is not needed for a recrreation boat.
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Old 02-17-2009
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Quote:
Originally Posted by tommays View Post
Well

If there going to repack and give you a Certificate for 3 more years whos standard would they be working to ?
The manufacturer's standard. You should pick a re-packer who has been certified by your raft manufacturer.

See the USCG "GUIDE FOR INSPECTION & REPAIR OF
LIFESAVING EQUIPMENT" at http://www.uscg.mil/hq/cg5/nvic/pdf/1960s/n2-63.pdf

The relevant paragraph from pages 19 and 20 is below:

Quote:
II. LIFE RAFTS
A. Rigid Types
(text deleted)
B. Inflatable Types

1. Except for external examination of the container and stowage of the equipment, this type of raft should be inspected and tested only at one of the inflatable life raft manufacturer's approved servicing facilities. The inspector assigned to witness servicing of inflatable life rafts at a servicing facility should use the manufacturer’s Coast Guard approved servicing manual to evaluate the repairs, conduct tests, and approve the servicing and repacking of the rafts. Each manufacturer's servicing manual contains a listing of the minor repairs that can be accomplished at a. servicing facility. Also contained in this manual is a listing of the major repairs which require the return of a raft to the manufacturer. Cognizant OCMI's should be provided with an office copy of the manufacturer's service manual to facilitate the inspection of inflatable life rafts.
My guess is that the reference to the "inspector assigned to witness servicing of inflatable life rafts at the servicing facility" may be that for which the inspector wants to charge the $90, so maybe he's not ripping anyone off, he's just confused as to what type of boat the raft is going on. Bottom line is -- if the USCG doesn't require a raft on your boat, you don't need to follow their guidelines in inspecting it, and you won't need a USCG certificate from the inspector. That said, you should only use a repacker who's been certified by your manufacturer.

I'd recommend that you witness the repacking if at all possible. You'll learn a lot about your raft and be able to see all the gear that goes inside.

Last edited by billyruffn; 02-17-2009 at 02:19 PM.
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Old 02-17-2009
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Quote:
Originally Posted by billyruffn View Post
The manufacturer's standard. You should pick a re-packer who has been certified by your raft manufacturer.
My guess is that the reference to the "inspector assigned to witness servicing of inflatable life rafts at the servicing facility" may be that for which the inspector wants to charge the $90, so maybe he's not ripping anyone off, he's just confused as to what type of boat the raft is going on. Bottom line is -- if the USCG doesn't require a raft on your boat, you don't need to follow their guidelines in inspecting it, and you won't need a USCG certificate from the inspector. That said, you should only use a repacker who's been certified by your manufacturer.

I'd recommend that you witness the repacking if at all possible. You'll learn a lot about your raft and be able to see all the gear that goes inside.
That's exactly it, very well put, good suggestion about watching the re-pack also.
I remember back in the 80's when I was sailing a Swan 44 around pretty regularly, the raft was due for re-padking and the owner of the boat said; Ok I think it's time for a life raft drill. We proceeded to act like we had an emergency and get the raft in the water and pull the rip cord, on a mooring in Newport harbor! I forget how long it took us exactly to be in the raft, but it was just a couple of minutes for the 4 of us to be in the raft with the grab bag. It was quite the experience, in a non-emergency...good practice.
Oh well, back to the question. Most manufacturers recommend repacking every year or 3 years, by a facitily that is certified by the manufacturer. It is important for it to be done when specified, because the more years you put it off, the more it costs, and then there might be the time when they say "sorry we can't repack your raft. If you are diligent you can get many years from a raft. Most times when I survey a boat with a raft, it is past due for inspection.
Keep you inspection current, you want to make sure it will open when you need it. Can you imagine needing to pop it open and finding that it won't!
Brian
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Old 02-18-2009
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Quote:
Originally Posted by billyruffn View Post
I'd recommend that you witness the repacking if at all possible. You'll learn a lot about your raft and be able to see all the gear that goes inside.

I'd highly recommend this as well...since it also lets you know what is really packed in your liferaft. There was a recent spate of liferaft repacking where the rafts were not repacked but stolen...and rocks and other such stuff were left in place of the raft. If you're watching them repack it, they're probably not able to steal the raft.
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Old 02-18-2009
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Man, you are getting pretty far down the pipe when you will steal the raft out of a cannister and put stones in there.

I guess I must stick to the valise type so I can see it.

I am 50 now, but it takes a long time to see just how low this species can stoop.

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