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Location: Anacortes PNW
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Re: Better than a PFD. A wearable liferaft!!!
On the cold-water survivability I think that it would actually extend it a lot. If you zip it up tight, I would expect that you'd be shipping some water from time to time, but you would be isolated from the water by fabric, sitting in a small puddle of it, just as you would be if 4 of you were in a 4person standard liferaft.
It's the constantly flowing water that kills the MOB as the body never gets a chance to warm the water close to it because it flows away and is replaced with more cold water. Remember, a diver in a wetsuit is constantly wet but the suit restricts flow of the water around him. The MOB would be wet (but wearing foulies) and I think he'd be pretty warm and wet in those foulies as long as didn't constantly have cold water flowing all around him (if he were swimming IN the water).
I think cold water survival time would be significantly extended over a PFD. Remember also that hypothermia quickly makes it impossible for the MOB to keep their head out of the water (even with the 4"-6" freeboard a PFD allows) and they drown. I would expect that you could be quite hypothermic in this little raft and still be keeping your airway out of the water.
I would also agree that a gumby suit might be better, but I don't think that's an apples to apples comparison. This thing can be worn instead of, or with, a PFD. You can't easily be carrying around a gumby suit all day on deck. The're just too big and bulky.
If you FALL OVERBOARD at night in the Oregon offshore race, for example, you won't have a gumby suit in your hand when you go over. I think you'd stand a much better chance in this thing than with a standard PFD. With a PFD you're toast in under an hour. With this raft, I expect you'd have several hours, if not even a day or two. Long enough for your boat, or the CG to have a fighting chance to come get you. With FLIR the coastguard would spot you in this thing pretty quick I would think.
I have a sauna on my boat, therefore I win.
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Last edited by MedSailor; 03-16-2013 at 03:28 PM.