How many boats carry liferafts? - SailNet Community
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post #1 of 68 Old 07-03-2019 Thread Starter
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How many boats carry liferafts?

In the interest of stopping thread drift in another topic I thought I would start a new thread, and because it is something I am now curious about.

We have never carried a liferaft, and I don't know anyone that does other than people who plan to go offshore. Is this just a localized thing because of the protected waters in my area? Or is it something that people forgo because of the cost, vs the likelyhood they will ever need one?

Bonus question: has anyone ever HAD to use a liferaft, and what were the circumstances surrounding that event?




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post #2 of 68 Old 07-03-2019
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Re: How many boats carry liferafts?

I bought one for the 91 Marion Bermuda race... sent it to Offshore Repair and they literally sold it to someone else. I sued in court and won and he was broke and judgement proof. Friend gave me his last year.... but it's in storage (at friend's house).

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Re: How many boats carry liferafts?

I carry a life raft. I consider it a relatively cheap life insurance item. Hope I never have to use it but things happen and they do save lives.
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Re: How many boats carry liferafts?

Have never yet had one. Itís a bit of an ongoing question in our little crew.

Given the rather high failure rates Iíve read about, the high initial cost, and the significant ongoing cost, plus the psychological danger they are said to present, Iím just not convinced itís worth the cost on our smallish boat.

Of course, if we ever really needed one, Iíll be lamenting my stance .
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Re: How many boats carry liferafts?

Have a 4 man Winslow which is inspected and serviced as per protocol. When buying one make sure smallest, weakest person can lift and deploy it. Make (if you are in the Caribbean) it can be put under lock and key when not set up for passage or weather.
On passage it lives under the helm seat and can be immediately deployed. Takes very little time for a sailboat to sink. Train all crew on ditch bag, epirb , and raft. Useless to have and not be able to use in an emergency.
Worthwhile to take safety at sea at least once even if not a ocean racer. Itís surprising how hard it is to climb into a raft unassisted.
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post #6 of 68 Old 07-03-2019
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Re: How many boats carry liferafts?

This is a topic of interest to me, but I know very little about it.

What's more interesting, is I don't think anyone else knows much about it either.

Just spent some time searching and was unable to find:
- Any statistics about how often life rafts are deployed in real world situations
- Any statistics about accidents that could have been less severe if a life raft had been available
- Any statistics about accidents where the lack of a life raft had no impact

Quite frankly, I've been unable to find any data at all about real world life raft deployment and how effective they are.

Makes me wonder if life rafts are outdated technology just waiting for some enterprising inventor to come up with something better ... At the least, makes me wonder if anyone really knows if they're an effective tool.
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Last edited by BillMoran; 07-03-2019 at 09:27 PM.
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post #7 of 68 Old 07-03-2019
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Re: How many boats carry liferafts?

Good topic. Iím curious as well. Any statistics on the time it takes for EPIRB retrieval ? Does sailing in warmer waters with good life preservers and an EPIRB negate the need?

We don't have one, but we are new. Iíve thought about it. I don't really have any room for one on a 28ft boat. On our next larger boat for longer passages, iíd seriously consider one.
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Re: How many boats carry liferafts?

Hello,

When i race in the Around Long Island Regatta we carry one. Only because the rules require one.

I do not have one on my boat and i no intentions of getting one. This is because:
-my sailing is in shore (Long Island Sound)
-the water is usually warm
-there are usually plenty of boats in the vicinity
-I almost always wear a pfd and have a hand held vfh on my pfd.

If i planned on doing trips in the ocean i might reconsider.

Barry
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post #9 of 68 Old 07-03-2019
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Quote:
Originally Posted by BillMoran View Post
This is a topic of interest to me, but I know very little about it.

What's more interesting, is I don't think anyone else knows much about it either.

Just spent some time searching and was unable to find:
- Any statistics about how often life rafts are deployed in real world situations
- Any statistics about accidents that could have been less severe if a life raft had been available
- Any statistics about accidents where the lack of a life raft had no impact

Quite frankly, I've been unable to find any data at all about real world life raft deployment and how effective they are.

Makes me wonder if life rafts are outdated technology just waiting for some enterprising inventor to come up with something better ... At the least, makes me wonder if anyone really knows if they're an effective tool.
Is Alaska they save a lot of lives. A gumby suit will keep you alive for 10-12 hours if you are a healthy afult, but not in a great state. A life raft increases your life-expectancy to days.

But boats dont like to sink straight down and many are covered with lines and snags and sharpe edges. These cause life rafts to fail and many times separate the EPIRB from the raft. So they find the Beacon, but the people are long gone.
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post #10 of 68 Old 07-04-2019
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Re: How many boats carry liferafts?

We have a 6 person Winslow raft in a dedicated floor locker in the salon. Plus a stocked ditch bag next to it. With our cold water temps, Iím sure it would take longer to locate us, in the event of an emergency, than weíd survive in the water. While Iíve practiced with a raft, Iíve never used one in an emergency. I have been in a dinghy in 2-3 ft snotty seas, which many claim is their alternative, and it was nearly life threatening itself. Certainly not dry.

They are undeniably expensive. I have mine vacuum packed, which should be unpacked, restocked and inspected every three years. Ours stay perfectly dry, so Iíve been known to push that to 4 or 5. A big passage/cruise, usually inspires me to get it done.

Risk is not solely about the odds of a loss. Itís also about the potential cost of a loss, if you lose that bet, which I view as life threatening.

Iíd say approx half of my friends around here have a raft aboard, maybe fewer. Even fewer still that are religious about inspections.


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