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  #1  
Old 02-23-2004
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Need used liferaft or recommendations on where to find one

I''m helping a friend prep for an Atlantic Crossing this summer and he''s still looking for a good quality but not-new liferaft.

If you don''t have one you would be interested in selling, perhaps you have some suggestons about where he might look. Consignment shops (Sailorman & Bacons so far), SSCA''s on-line Flea Market, eBay and the upcoming Dania Used Boat Gear sources are all being pursued...but we''d welcome any other ideas.

Jack
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Old 02-23-2004
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Need used liferaft or recommendations on where to find one

What about checking with the outfits that re-pack liftrafts as a business? Or maybe ebay? Be careful with ebay as your life may be on the line in one of these rafts someday.
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Old 02-23-2004
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Need used liferaft or recommendations on where to find one

You have quite a aresenal already but you might try the seven seas classifieds and also sites like http://www.usedinflatables.com/html/forsale_liferaft.htm#liferaft

Used liferafts are a dangerous proposition at best....make sure your friend knows that most rafts are only good for 12/15 years before you will actually be tempting the gods. Some like Plastimo and others have valve problems and have made recalls but because they do a horrible job of tracking their customers and/or their rafts, most people dont know about the recall and most shops who aren''t licensed dealers for the raft in question arent aware of the recall either.

I had a used raft fail on me, took three souls to pull the cord and release the valve, then the defective valve caused a freeze at the air entry point causing the air to slow and the raft material to freeze, took more than 20 minutes for that part of the raft to thaw and then allow enough air to pass to finally fill it to its capacity. Real scary stuff for anyone who cares.

In my opinion whereas your friend doesnt want to spring for a new raft he might be better off with a rental from one of the legitimate safety equipment rental houses. On the other hand a new raft undeployed will bring a good price at passage end, maybe with a difference less than a rental and he wont have to concern himself with getting the raft back to the renting agency.

Again, used rafts are a real crap shoot, you want to end up with more than a painter in your hand when you make that pull for life.

Capt. Bruce Gregory
http://www.boatskipper.com
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Old 02-23-2004
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Need used liferaft or recommendations on where to find one

BoatUS rents liferafts out to members, last I heard. They''d be a good place to try. A liferaft is certainly not an item to skimp on, though a used one that had been reviewed/repacked/repaired by a reputable outfit should be ok. Be sure to have your friend read "Adrift" before he goes.
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Old 02-24-2004
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Need used liferaft or recommendations on where to find one

The friend is not looking to rent. He wants to buy a used but serviced raft. If anyone has a lead or referral to a good consignment shop that would carry this kind of gear, we''d welcome it.

Jack
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Old 02-24-2004
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Need used liferaft or recommendations on where to find one

Given some of the posts so far about the ''safety'' of a used raft, perhaps it would be worth pointing out how a purchase of one can be done safely...or at least what we find experienced sellers are accustomed to and what we plan to do:

Seller and buyer agree on a price after seller discloses details of the raft''s condition/equip/etc. We are only considering mid-90''s rafts and newer. Seller is responsible for getting the raft to a repacker agreeable to both seller & buyer. If the raft subsequently passes inspection, the seller''s financial duties are over. If unexpected repairs are required and acceptable to the buyer, cost is covered as previously agreed between buyer & seller, when condition of raft was provided seller. Assuming the raft passes, the repack, updated gear, etc. plus shipping is the buyer''s burden and, meanwhile, s/he pays the seller. If the raft deviates from how it was represented and is unacceptable to buyer, it''s the seller''s problem and the buyer is not yet out any money.

I should add that we''re not looking at all available rafts but rather a subset. This is based on the 3 different raft tests published by Belvoir (Practical Sailor, etc.) Pubs over the years. I tested 38 rafts in the second round and saw bone-chiling designs, flaky construction techniques, and some very, very good rafts. The risk faced by a yachtsman who wants a raft doesn''t end by deciding to buy new....

Jack
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Old 02-25-2004
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Need used liferaft or recommendations on where to find one

FYI, within a few days we found a privately-offered 1.5 year old Switlik MD-2 6-person raft and the agreed upon price was $2200 + $100 towards shipping.

Jack
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Old 03-03-2004
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Need used liferaft or recommendations on where to find one

In practical sailor (march 2004) I was reading when in a letter to the editor was about liferafts . The PS had done a review about liferafts and the prices . I quote "I was appalled that you have to pay $1700 to get a 33lb liferaft that packs into 2700Cubic inches . I have a 4-6 person liferaft with full survival gear (food Water ,first aid ,flares , dye markers etc ) It weighs 23 lbs and consumes 1700 cubic inches " It cost $1163 new He list two websites to check out www.survival productsinc.com and www.aircraftspruce.com. Check out this for a new one at a used price .
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Old 03-03-2004
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Need used liferaft or recommendations on where to find one

Let''s all of us be very careful about considering all liferafts equal and the term ''liferaft'' a generic one. In fact, they not only range high/low on the functionality and build quality scales but they are typically manufactured for three customers: General Aviation (Pipers to biz jets), commercial aviation and marine use. (Rafts built for the large commercial carriers scare the hell out of me...but then, there''s little likelihood that an aircraft that must land at 120+ kts into the water is going to present me with an unpunctured raft).

Many GA types are extremely light because the aircraft are so weight sensitive, having only a single engine and struggling to carry the people and luggage that already must go aboard. These rafts are typically built of lightweight cloth, have one chamber, lack an inflatable canopy and floor, and ''full survival gear'', is a meaningless term that each manufacturer gets to spec except for a very few bits.

OTOH one manufacturer builds for both the GA (specifically, the high-end Biz Jet) market AND the marine market, and seeks to be the premium choice in cloth quality, build quality and design functionality in both fields. Consequently, there rafts are never as light as the FBO''s in e.g. Ft. Lauderdale rent out to weekend pilots heading for the Abacos in their Pipers and Cessnas (which is what I suspect is being described above). Practical Sailor repeatedly has awarded Winslow the top ranking in these raft tests (both GA and Marine) and, since they compare in price with Switlik and Givens, I''m not sure why one would buy any of the other high-end brands.

One last point: in Europe, rafts are mandated by some countries (e.g. France, which must have more offshore yachtsmen than any FOUR other countries, per capita) and so rafts are sold like VHF radios in the U.S. - minimum but functional standards and sufficient features to qualify for a ''raft aboard'' check of the box. When you see e.g. a Zodiac at a great price, even after import duty and shipping costs, that''s why.

In rafts as in life, in my experience there aren''t any free lunches.

Jack
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Old 03-26-2004
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Need used liferaft or recommendations on where to find one

I''m a bit late, but perhaps this will help. I was in the same situation for a cruise from California to Hawaii. I put notices up in my marina asking to "borrow" a liferaft for the trip on the promise that I would pay up to [whatever, my limit was $500] to have it recertified and return it to the owner when I returned. I also offered to put up a deposit to cover the eventuality that I''d have to use it on the trip. Got some offers, but they were too big for my humble boat. Might work for your friend
Good luck,
Richard Solomon
s/v Klarissa, Valiant 32
Santa Barbara, CA
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