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Go Back   SailNet Community > On Board > Gear & Maintenance
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  #1  
Old 07-07-2010
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Life raft

I'm leaving for the Bahamas departing from Montreal in september (via the intracoastal to New York). The last big piece of equipement left to buy is a life raft. I'm planning to travel along the coast from New York to Miami so mostly coastal cruising there, then do the crossing towards the Bahamas. I have two options for life a raft (the choice of life rafts is very limited in my area, I'm not looking for advice telling me I should go for other model, but advice on wich one of those two I should go towards), the first one would be a very basic Viking Rescyou Coastal 6 person. The second is a Viking Rescyou Pro 6person, which is a offshore life raft. Price wise the first is aroud 2.3k with canister and craddle, the second is around 4k with canister and craddle. My main goal is not to try to save money by all means, but I'm trying not to go overkill if I don't have to. Btw I don't care alot about the packs options that comes with the raft as I have a very well equipped ditch bag. What do you think ?

coastal model:


offshore model:
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Old 07-07-2010
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Check with Viking for boat show specials

I bought a Viking 6 person offshore raft 18 months ago at the New York Boat Show (a useless visit other than for the raft btw) for $2400 not including the special bracket to mount it on the stern pulpit. They only had this model on special and even included free delivery in the spring to our marina (this was about five months after the show and also meant the certification was dated to delivery). I would contact Viking's US office and see if they will have a boat show special at Annapolis or elsewhere that you can take advantage of. I doubt you actually have to go to the show to get the special if there is one. In any case you might well be at Annapolis since it is a popular spot to visit on the way south.

As to which model, I think either would be fine if you are going just to the Bahamas. If you decide that you want to go further you might want to have an offshore raft and it would be cheaper to get it now.
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Old 07-07-2010
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I had a new life raft shipped to me by air freight - Miami to Sint Maarten for $300. So I guess you should be able to get one shipped to you. Try Defender.
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Old 07-07-2010
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I just went through Safety at Sea training and learned first hand that we are all kidding ourselves if we don't get the best life raft features available. An item like an inflatable entry ramp is not just nice to have, its almost mandatory if you expect to get in from the water. An inflatable floor is more important than you might imagine as well. Also know that a 6 person raft is extremely uncomfortable with 6 people in it. Bigger is better.

Since you've limited the choice, get the better equipped of the two.
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Btw we are are crew of 2, and we may have 2 guests but not while doing any crossings. So I think a 6 person raft should be big enough.
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You don't want a raft that is too large since stability might be a problem with too little weight in the raft eg 2 people in an 8 person. A six person makes sense for 2 to 4 people. Six people would be very tight and uncomfortable, I think they allot a 2' x 2' square per person.

Viking make a nice raft for the money. I could not justify the cost of a Givens or other top-end raft.
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Old 07-07-2010
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life raft for sale

I just sent you a PM. I have an 8 person raft for sale.
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Old 07-07-2010
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For 2-4 people, an eight person raft is probably too large. The people are considered as part of the overall raft's ballast in the design phase, and having a raft that is too large is not safe. The six person raft is a bit large for two people and probably about right for four... and a bit tight for six.

Get an offshore quality raft with an insulated floor, double tubes, inflatable entry ramp, etc.
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Old 07-08-2010
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reference

Quote:
Originally Posted by sailingdog View Post
For 2-4 people, an eight person raft is probably too large. The people are considered as part of the overall raft's ballast in the design phase, and having a raft that is too large is not safe. The six person raft is a bit large for two people and probably about right for four... and a bit tight for six.

Get an offshore quality raft with an insulated floor, double tubes, inflatable entry ramp, etc.
I'd sure like to know if you have a reference that says a liferaft that is designed for off shore use is unsafe if there aren't enough people in it because all liferafts that are designed to ISO9650 standards are required to be self righting even if they are empty. I'm especially curious how you know about how a raft is designed. I mean after all if you feel you can comment about the design phase of a raft I'd like to know your qualifications for same. Otherwise it's just an opinion.
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Last edited by DwayneSpeer; 07-08-2010 at 07:04 PM. Reason: details
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Old 07-08-2010
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While not a designer or aerodynamicist, I could see how having too few people bouncing around inside a large raft as waves hit it in rough weather could be less fun and more dangerous than the blowup bouncing castle attraction at the fair. My understanding is that the tight fit in liferafts is on purpose. The eight people in an eight-person raft are wedged in so none of them go flying. They become fixed ballast instead of loose cannons. If there are only four people in an 8-person raft, a wave could shift them all to one side and flip the raft. (Is there something to hold on to, or be tied to in the center? I don't know. ) Once flipped, you'd hope the ISO 9650 self-righting standard would work without them all having to get out of it, to make it empty, first.
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