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Old 08-24-2012
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Life raft. Pros and Cons'

We where having a lively chat on Life Rafts on Chat.
So lets hear your liftraft stories or opinions.
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Old 08-24-2012
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Re: Life raft. Pros and Cons'

I plan on getting one. The thing that puts me off is the test/recertification that is required every what 5 years or so. I would like a raft you could inflate and test yourself. Maybe this type of raft would not meet ceratain off shore race requirements, but for recreational sailor would be a less expensive alternative. And I have heard stories of the packed life rafts not inflating. By testing your own, you would see how it works and be more prepared for an emergency.

Until I get a real life raft, I keep an inflatable dingy in the boat. Thinking about rigging my scuba tank so I could inflate it in a couple minutes if needed.

Regards
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Old 08-24-2012
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Re: Life raft. Pros and Cons'

i had to buy one for commercial fishi ng[where you have to certify every year] its a 4 man valise which i keep inside the boat.since may of 2011 i have sailed 5000 miles from maine to bahamas single hand.at times it can be somewhat comforting to have a real plan.if your gonna stepUP into a raft make sure its a good one..a good raft will last a long time if taken cared of properly and not abused ...
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Re: Life raft. Pros and Cons'

When refit time comes for me Liftraft wont be on it most likely (new facts bring new opinions).

Many crew members have died after leaving a perfectly good boat for a liferaft in the mistaken belief that a liferaft was good for bobbing around in a storm. People get scared in storms. Novices more so. The brain will look for an escape. People will fixate on liferafts and die. A captain will not be able to stop them. This is MOB mentality.

In one of DrakeParagon's fine video's about a storm he admits to these thoughts even knowing a westsail42 is not likely to sink with or without a mast.

So if I don't have one I will be forced to think about a more appropriate response to the situation.

The only situation I can think of where the device might be of some help is raging fire. And then Valise types would be out because it would need quick deployment after firefighting failed. Deck Mounted rafts are more expensive and take up valuable space.
They are open to the elements and theft. More expense. Yearly repacking...another 1500 gone. 70 to 80 percent chance that they will work? Did the crewman attach the Painter or panic and the device floats away? Diesel engine fires are rare. Precautions can prevent these or at least contain them. Propane is an issue. Electrical fires should be preventable. AC is more of an issue and AC at dock wont need a liftraft. Unwatched AC use offshore is unseamanlike. At anchor a liftraft is not useful.

Over powered under build fast Open 60's and other racing machines are the most likely to have a sinking issue and I can see there need although a overturned hull would be safer probably. But for a properly built and maintained cruising boat I can't really find a condition that might be of some use given all recent stories.

Crash pumps? sure
GEPIRB? OF COURSE!
Materials and plans for dealing with puncture or dismasting..on my list.
Radio...Float Plan...only seems prudent
Good Tethers and PFD...Jacklines and all the other Salty gear seems wise.

Liftraft? Not so much. I think the dollars are better spent elsewhere.
Dinghy emergency use maybe

Given an unlimited budget I still think they are dangerous given I hear about more deaths from improper use then in proper use saving someone.
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Last edited by ParadiseParrot; 08-24-2012 at 03:23 PM.
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Re: Life raft. Pros and Cons'

Quote:
Originally Posted by ParadiseParrot View Post
When refit time comes for me Liftraft wont be on it most likely (new facts bring new opinions).

Many crew members have died after leaving a perfectly good boat for a liferaft in the mistaken belief that a liferaft was good for bobbing around in a storm. People get scared in storms. Novices more so. The brain will look for an escape. People will fixate on liferafts and die. A captain will not be able to stop them. This is MOB mentality.

In one of DrakeParagon's fine video's about a storm he admits to these thoughts even knowing a westsail42 is not likely to sink with or without a mast.

So if I don't have one I will be forced to think about a more appropriate response to the situation.

The only situation I can think of where the device might be of some help is raging fire. And then Valise types would be out because it would need quick deployment after firefighting failed. Deck Mounted rafts are more expensive and take up valuable space.
They are open to the elements and theft. More expense. Yearly repacking...another 1500 gone. 70 to 80 percent chance that they will work? Did the crewman attach the Painter or panic and the device floats away? Diesel engine fires are rare. Precautions can prevent these or at least contain them. Propane is an issue. Electrical fires should be preventable. AC is more of an issue and AC at dock wont need a liftraft. Unwatched AC use offshore is unseamanlike. At anchor a liftraft is not useful.

Over powered under build fast Open 60's and other racing machines are the most likely to have a sinking issue and I can see there need although a overturned hull would be safer probably. But for a properly built and maintained cruising boat I can't really find a condition that might be of some use given all recent stories.

Crash pumps? sure
GEPIRB? OF COURSE!
Materials and plans for dealing with puncture or dismasting..on my list.
Radio...Float Plan...only seems prudent
Good Tethers and PFD...Jacklines and all the other Salty gear seems wise.

Liftraft? Not so much. I think the dollars are better spent elsewhere.
Dinghy emergency use maybe

Given an unlimited budget I still think they are dangerous given I hear about more deaths from improper use then in proper use saving someone.
I hear ya, and I've herd it before. But life rafts have saved people no doubt. Even recreational sailors who know what they are doing. Before I make a channel crossing to another island with my kids on board, I will have a life raft. That life raft will be the final option after all other options have been exhausted. I would hate to be in the situation where the boat sank out from under me and have my two kids in the water at night with only life jackets on. I will have a life raft, even if there is only 70% chance it will work. I will also have my infaltable dingy, with a scuba tank ready to inflate it rapidly. I believe in options and back up plans, training and preparation. With these you are less likely to panic. And panic is usually what kills you.

Here is a recent story of a sinking, CG provided the life raft. And these were experienced sailors:

Coast Guard helps in rescue of 7 mariners | Local News - KITV Home

If you can afford a sailboat and all the associated costs of proper maintance and related safety gear, a life raft should not be that big of an expense. After all, one is probably tooling around in a $30k dollar car when a used $8k car would do just fine. Now you got $22k towards you boat and safety gear.
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Re: Life raft. Pros and Cons'

With kids on board I don't second guess your decision at all.
This comes down to personal decision.
And I don't doubt it makes the kids mother feel better.
I just doubt their of any use in a practical way and they cause a potential dangerous mindset in a storm.

Hmmm .....7 guys couldnt bail and stem the flow of water in a 30 footer?

Only took 45 mins to sink after CG were called and "said on the way".

"Insurance accident"?

Story is missing a lot of facts. And the liftraft didn't save them it was just a tool for the CG to use to rescue them.Anyone have a story showing a liferaft saved someones life? Last 10 years please.

Last edited by ParadiseParrot; 08-24-2012 at 03:57 PM.
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Re: Life raft. Pros and Cons'

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Originally Posted by ParadiseParrot View Post
Hmmm .....7 guys couldnt bail and stem the flow of water in a 30 footer?

Only took 45 mins to sink after CG were called and "said on the way".

"Insurance accident"?

Story is missing a lot of facts. And the liftraft didn't save them it was just a tool for the CG to use to rescue them.
Yea I would like to know why they sunk. Never saw a follow up. But these were all well conditioned. If it were just me and my two kids I would want a raft. Well if you did not like that story here is another:

Coast Guard: 7 rescued from ship west of Hawaii - Hawaii News Now - KGMB and KHNL
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Re: Life raft. Pros and Cons'

"the test/recertification that is required every what 5 years or so. "
Five years would be extreme. Three years is unusual. EVERY YEAR is the norm if you're required to carry one and two years is still for recreational users only.

You CAN inspect and repack your own raft if you are a recreational user. Not sure what to do? OK, but a cheap old raft on eBay and start practicing, you can't lose much. And even better, if it is ten or twelve years old, you'll get a chance to learn what leaks are, and how to patch them. :-)

Tell someone to give me a call, I've got an idea for a totally different way to make life rafts, that could put the repack guys out of business. There's a reason bicycles don't have six foot tall front wheels anymore. Time for life rafts to make a similar change.
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Re: Life raft. Pros and Cons'

Boat was still floating....Raft didn't save them.
Fire is a scary thing and brings about the whole propane or not issue
which was likely the cause.
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Re: Life raft. Pros and Cons'

Quote:
Originally Posted by ParadiseParrot View Post
Boat was still floating....Raft didn't save them.
Fire is a scary thing and brings about the whole propane or not issue
which was likely the cause.
Never could find a follow up on that story either. And not sure how much boat is listing, but if a large ship is going to sink, you want to be clear of it when it goes down or you might be pulled down by the suction.

In any case, I'll bet you will have a hard time convincing the Titanic crew and passagers that life rafts are over rated.

In any case, one has to know how and when to use a life raft.
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