Join Date: Apr 2007
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Stowage of LiferaftsMy suggestion would be to have liferafts on deck utilising a release that activates if the yacht sinks. There have been plenty of cases where yachts sink in minutes and there is no time to run around below trying to get a heavy liferaft on deck.
247. PwC’s crew considered deploying a liferaft but was unable to get access to or launch a raft. The boat carried soft pack liferafts which were stowed below decks next to the mast. After the grounding the mess below decks was described as a ‘death trap’ – it was flooded, the motion was violent, there were heavy bags of sails, the liferafts and other gear which could pin you down and trap you. It was also pitch black.
248. A single crew member could not lift a liferaft. Two or more crew would have found it extremely difficult to work together in the conditions to lift a raft onto the deck. Fortunately the liferafts were not required.
249. The YA Special Regulation 4.19.2 (c) does allow boats with an age of series date before 06/2001 to use liferafts packed in a valise “not exceeding 40 Kg securely stowed below deck adjacent to the companionway”. In addition Special Regulation 4.19.3(a) requires “each liferaft shall be capable of being got to the lifelines or launched within 15 seconds”. PwC met the age date criteria but the liferafts were not adjacent to the companionway and could not be launched in 15 seconds.
250. The crew strongly recommended that all liferafts should be stowed on deck. The Inquiry notes the current requirements for newer boats and suggests boats with an age date before 06/2001 be reminded of the applicable Special Regulations.
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