Join Date: Apr 2010
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Re: How many boats carry liferafts?
Good questions Bill. I’ve been in discussions with long time cruiser Evans Starzinger over at CF. He has done some studies on life rafts, including outright failure rates. I can’t recall (nor quickly find) the specific data, but my recollection is that they were high — on the scale of 30% not even activating. These were in controlled conditions with life rafts apparently properly certified. He also looked at the number of deployment failures, and came to the conclusion a life raft is not a good idea.
I was also recently speaking with a fellow who was involved in a raft re-certification. He too said the rafts he saw had a surprisingly high rate of failure. He is not a fan of rafts.
Add to this fact that there area number of reported incidents of finding the mother ship, damaged but still floating, but with no one left on board and the life raft gone. The crew is never found.
And finally, consider the psychological temptation a raft presents. All hell is breaking loose. Things are very bad on the mother ship. You are exhausted, depressed and likely making very poor choices. Does the life raft start to look like the silver bullet? Instead of focusing on saving the mothership, does your attention shift to the raft? We all know you’re only suppose to step UP into a life raft from your sinking mothership, but is that what really happens? I doubt it… And realize, if the sea state is such that it can take down your mothership, the likelihood that you are any safer in a life raft is, well, doubtful.
I don’t have any definite answer to any of these questions. I know if I ever really needed one, I’d be happy to have the option. But I also question the cost-benefit side, and I seriously wonder about the psychological dangers these magic rubber boats may present to me.
Why go fast, when you can go slow.
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Last edited by MikeOReilly; 07-04-2019 at 08:38 AM.