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Re: How many boats carry liferafts?

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Originally Posted by drkeller View Post
I installed a yacht saver flotation system in my Orion It has 4 bags that can be inflated in the cabin. Wonder what happened to the company?
Hmmm, I wonder if you could keep the mother ship afloat with an inflated life raft inside. I guess the question is, what size life raft would you need given a specific boat.

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Re: How many boats carry liferafts?

Intuitively, Iím not buying the massive failure rate stories. Perhaps they were low grade brands or serviced in low end shops. I donít know.

What I do know is a country that will put you out of business for having the chicken salad above temp in the deli case isnít going to stand by while two thirds of all the rafts on all the ferries, etc, are prone to failure.


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Re: How many boats carry liferafts?

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Originally Posted by 4arch View Post
I know with most things in life rental equipment tends to be abused, but I wonder if for liferafts there might be a degree of safety in renting. Many of the rentals are offered by reputable companies who also perform recertification. Although I doubt rental rafts are recertified any more frequently than is required by law, I assume they undergo some level of basic checkout procedure every time they get returned to the vendor. I also assume (at least with the more reputable vendors) the rentals spend a good chunk of their lifespans sitting on shelves in climate controlled warehouses. By contrast, I know many liferaft owners strap the things to the cabin top and don’t give them another thought until the 3 year recert is due – all they while they’re sitting out in the elements baking in a little fiberglass clamshell.
I used to rent a liferaft once a year when fishing the WMO out of Ocean City, MD.

Certification was always current. I don't know if they opened them up after each use?

The sailboats that I have sailed in offshore all carried them.

Never had to use one fortunately.

I guess you never need it until you need it. And then...?
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Re: How many boats carry liferafts?

On one of our sailboats we had one, and I do carry one on my power boat which we fish offshore.

Perhaps the most dramatic experience I've had was I took a 1 day course where we put on survival suits and deployed a life raft in an indoor pool....absolutely benign conditions.

Here's what I learned -

First we donned Gumby Suits....they are more difficult to put on that I could have ever imagined. They are harder to move around in than you think. They are more claustrophobic than you think. But they float nicely and they'll keep you warm for a while. I think it would be interesting to try to put one on in adverse conditions, big seas, big wind as your boat is going down, in a rush....rather than on the apron of an indoor pool with an instructor.

Then we inflated a life raft. We tossed the container in the pool and yanked on the painter. It inflated inverted. In the calm pool, I was asked to right it. Grab that bottom strap, etc. Every right a 420....used to do that much younger. Yea, something like that, but again I was inside in a calm pool. Wasn't easy.

Then we were told to board it. Well the rope ladder swings under the raft when you try and board it. Again, harder than you think. We had one heavy set woman in the course, and we were asked to get her in the raft. She could not climb up on her own. The instructor said, make it work or if this was real she'd be in real trouble. We did it, again very hard. One guy pulling from inside the canopy, the other guy pushing from her hind end in the water...was quite a site. We were exhausted by the time she got in. And again, it wasn't easy to get in ourselves and we are quite able swimmers, we do triathlons and oceans swims.

If you have any of this survival equipment on your boat, I strongly recommend you take a course and try using it. It is eye opening. None of it works as easy as I imagined.

Would I have a raft if going offshore? Yes. For inshore work when I can time weather would I rely on an inflatable dingy? Yes. Do I feel stronger about this is cold water? Absolutely. Am I even more worried in a power boat offshore than a sailboat so my threshold for a raft is lower? Yes.

The bottom line is I think the major safety issue with rafts, gumby suits, etc. is the operator training. I would have never believed this until I spent a day in an indoor pool.

YMMV.
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Re: How many boats carry liferafts?

Cap is talking about the real deal. Itís extremely hard to get into a raft. Our thoughts are to throw it off the stern and snug it up close to the sugar scoop. That would allow one to go directly from boat to raft.
Have seen a few things which make me a strong believer in rafts.
Going under the James town bridge watched a ~45í power cruiser catch fire. Dropped sails, put on the engine and turned around while listening to 16. The CG response was very quick. By the time they got there the inhabitants were in the water and the boat in flames down to the waterline.
Was standby, communication relay vessel at CG request while a 65-70í steel fishboat was in trouble. Apparently they broke their back center fish hold flooded. Reasonable seas running and apparently the plates were bulging out and about to fail. Air rescue deemed not feasible. ~2-3 hours before the 44 showed up. Transfer was to line to boat in trouble. Then it seemed they went into their raft and it was pulled to the CG boat.
Have had occasion to ride my dinghy to cover 1/2 mile in chop in Maine in August. Not even significant seas. Doing what I can to prevent spray or anything coming in (very slow speed, head up for each wave etc.) was still soaked and shivering.
It takes us 10-15 minutes to launch the dinghy and then more time to put the engine on.
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Re: How many boats carry liferafts?

10-15 minutes seems like a long time to drop a dinghy stored on Davits in an emergency. Ever practice this?
We have , and itís 3-4 minutes and thatís without cutting straps which we would do if we had to making the process even quicker.


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Re: How many boats carry liferafts?

In that situation odds are good that dink wont be on davits
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Re: How many boats carry liferafts?

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In that situation odds are good that dink wont be on davits
Thatís assuming only one of the scenarios ......heavy weather.


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Re: How many boats carry liferafts?

I was in a situation many many years ago when sailing to Catalina Island in an all wooden 32' sailboat not equipped with an engine or life raft. There were four on board. the wind picked up in the 20's and we were 10 miles off the coast going up wind into 6 ft seas when two of the forward planks on the lower forward topside desired to come loose. We where shipping water about the same rate of the bailing bucket. anything else was to let loose and it would be going down to see MR. Jones. we deciding to turn and see if the flood of water coming in would be less with a following sea. Good thing for us it was and we were able to sail the 10 miles back into port safely.
So do I have a Life raft? Hell Yes. Do you think I am concerned about the odds of needing one, raft failure rates or how hard they are to get into? I Have been trained on the use of them and know how hard they are to get into. I would rather have one and not have to use it then stand there on a sinking or burning ship and wonder why I cheaped out on my crews lives.
what might have been the outcome if the Titanic had enough life boats for all the passengers?

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Last edited by overbored; 1 Week Ago at 10:21 PM.
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Re: How many boats carry liferafts?

We have set up where you use the main halyard to drop the dink. We store the engin on the rail. We need to turn the wind generators off, then drop the main. Then bring the main halyard back and attach it to the davits. Then pull the restraining pins out. Then the davits pivot. The you can climb in and remove the clips holding the dinghy. So yes it takes awhile.
Life raft. Pick it up. Throw it over the side or slide it back over the sugar scoop.. Done.

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