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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hi, I'm curious how many sailboats carry extra survival equipment such as liferafts, survival suits and EPIRBS. I'm in the process of trying to find space for mine and I guess I'm going to have to be creative.
 

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EPIRB does not take much room at all, dry suit only a little bit more. If you only do coastal sailing a good unsinkable dink may be substituted for a life raft.
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
I realize that this type of equipment is a considerable expense and not applicable to every situation, I happen to already own more than my share of these items due to my commercial activities but I also believe that what the USCG requires for recreational craft is a joke. Anyone who goes more than a mile from shore in New England would be well advised to carry survival suits for all aboard, I have seen more than one unfortunate victim wearing just a PFD. I would add an EPIRB if going much farther. Rafts are the real problem when talking cost and stowage and probably only needed well offshore if the preceding items are aboard.
But I didn't want this to be a debate about who needs or doesn't need this equipment, I was really interested in stowage solutions.
 

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i carry raft,epirb,survival suits,also from previous comercial fishing,all gear is up to date.i would hate to leave any of it ashore and need it when out there.also great when i round hatteras in a gale ! also i find et all a comfort to crew
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
I agree, assistance needs to be very close at hand to go without. I have been fortunate to have participated in a considerable amount of emergency training due to licensing and employment requirements as well as having dealt with a number of rescue situations, anyone thinking that they can effect a self rescue at anything more than a few yards from safety is fooling themselves. I've seen strong healthy young men drown while alongside a sinking vessel trying to save them. The sea is an alien environment for humans and can be very unforgiving in the best of circumstances.
 

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Fish53, welcome to the forum. As a suggestion, it helps greatly to put your boat make/model/length in your signature line, so answers can be in context.

I would say to put the raft on the cabin top, in a case, or on the rail. Hard to say they are practical for your boat.

I see you are in Maine, so I consider a raft or survival suit to be pretty critical. I hear many do not have them anyway. Water temps are the killer and with temps in the 50s at the height of summer, you have very limited survival time if immersed unprotected.

If you sail away from heavily trafficked areas, an EPIRB is also essential IMO. You don't have forever to wait for rescue, but even an EPIRB response time will be longer than you have, if you're not dry and warm. First, they are going to try to track down your contact number, then your marina and be sure it isn't a false alarm. They will wait to be called back, if they have to leave a message. Then, when they finally deploy, it could take an hour to get to you. Look up how long you have to survive in 50 deg water (under two hours).

While a dinghy is better than nothing, I disagree as to its appropriateness. If you have seas of any kind, it will be flipped and you'll end up in the water anyway. Murphy's Law says you'll only have trouble with no one around, in rough seas and cold water......
 

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p.s. we carry a 6 person coastal raft and EPIRB. We also keep a fully stocked separate ditchbag that floats and contains a GPS/VHF radio, extra batteries, food, water, first aid, etc.
 

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Hi, I'm curious how many sailboats carry extra survival equipment such as liferafts, survival suits and EPIRBS. I'm in the process of trying to find space for mine and I guess I'm going to have to be creative.
We are sailing a 42' yacht primarily cruising the southwest coast of Florida, the Keys and the Bahamas. We carry an ACR GPIRB aboard the yacht and a second in the "day-bag" that we carry in the dinghy whenever out and about in that. The day-bag also includes a hand-held VHF, flares, and water packets in case we get stuck somewhere or blown away from the yacht/anchorage (which we have seen happen). We also have inflatable PFD's for each crew-member, each fitted with whistles, small mirror reflectors, "Pencil Flares", and an ACR PLB 375 ResQLink, just in case someone goes over the side. We also carry a 4-man "Coastal" life raft as virtually all of our cruising is within 100 miles of shore making rescue, if needed, a relatively near term proposition and because the compact size and relatively light weight of the equipment ensures that even my (much) better half can deploy it, if necessary. Our "ditch bag" includes the usual compliment of safety/signaling gear and is attached to the raft with a tether so that it can be separately deployed but remains attached to the raft. Some argue that the raft is unnecessary for the Gulf but, having had more than one visit by curious black-tip and hammerhead sharks while we waited out windless lulls, I would not want anyone to be floating around in that water for any time if it can be avoided. We do not carry "survival" or "Gumby" suites as we simply don't traverse cold water nor ever intend to.

All up, I would guess that we have about $6K invested in safety gear and probably spend $150 per year on its maintenance. Of course, when one is hip-deep in water in one's cockpit, the stuff is priceless, Non?

FWIW...
 

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My boat is 28ft. and I have run out of space a long time ago! So what's important has to take first place over extra toys. MOB horseshoes rigged with sea anchors and flag floats ride the rail. The abandon ship kit in the cabin and ready. Tools under the stairs, Life raft on the inside cockpit locker door. All plugs wired to thru hulls. First aid kit in V berth . The abandon ship bag stores a lot and is only one thing to grab but covers lots!.....Dale
 

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Discussion Starter · #13 ·
Good points all, I'm new to this forum thing so please forgive my clumsy attempts. I just purchased a Tartan 27 as my sort of sail training vessel, not much room for survival equipment and due to my sailing ignorance I'm not to sure where to put things and not interfere with the vessels sailing operations. It appears to me the only place for a raft canister is over the hatch forward of the mast, an EPIRB can be mounted almost anywhere so long as it's readily at hand, survival suits below near the companionway.
 

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Though we do carry a liferaft, I consider my 11' Zodiac a much better vehicle for the purpose. A couple of oars and a sail would suffice as a sun cover, but the ability to run 30+ miles at 20 plus knots sure beats sitting there watching a ship pass within easy reach.
Obviously, the combination of the two is the best of both worlds, but a proper inflatable dink will considerably outlast any liferaft and is easier to keep inflated, more resistant to holes and abuse, which is why our inflatable travels well secured to the foredeck (with the motor attached) with easily cut lines.
 

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I carry all of it -- life raft, multiple Epirbs, para anchor, drouge device, survival suits, you name it -- but I'm blessed to have a big boat and so I'm not as "spacially challenged" as many of my fellow sailors.

That said, for years the only floatation devices we carried were inflatable PFDs because the traditional life vests took up too much room. When someone finally convinced me that in a true abandon ship situation (e.g., where you're climbing up a cargo net on the side of a freighter) you don't want to be depending on a device that can be popped like a balloon, I broke down and bought six adult offshore life vests. I opted for vests like this one

LIFEVEST COMMERCL TYPE 1 FOAM ADULT REF TAPE USCG 748930

because they appeared to be more easily stowed. The solution I came up with was to stow them over the foot end of the quarter berths. The vests are only 3.5" thick and will lie flat against the overhead. I used small stainless steel straps screwed to the overhead and a length of 1/4" shock cord hold them in place. By locating them at the foot of the berth they don't interfere with use of the berth. The disadvantage is you have to look at them all the time.

For our trip across the Atlantic last summer I broke down and bought survival suits. I don't have a place to store them so they seem to migrate from place to place in the boat. I knew it would be a problem, but I also knew that having to abandon ship in the Labrador Current would put the crew immediately at risk of hypothermia. It's a classic dilemma for space limited sailors.... Do you stuff the boat with gear you hope you'll never use, or do you put those who sail with you at an increased risk? Every owner/ skipper must choose for themselves (and their crew).
 

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Discussion Starter · #16 ·
Billyruffn, I love the name, Nelson would too. The space issue is a tough thing to overcome but there are a lot of things that become meaningless when the sh*t hits the fan, I'll find the room.
 

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Though we do carry a liferaft, I consider my 11' Zodiac a much better vehicle for the purpose. A couple of oars and a sail would suffice as a sun cover, but the ability to run 30+ miles at 20 plus knots sure beats sitting there watching a ship pass within easy reach.
Obviously, the combination of the two is the best of both worlds, but a proper inflatable dink will considerably outlast any liferaft and is easier to keep inflated, more resistant to holes and abuse, which is why our inflatable travels well secured to the foredeck (with the motor attached) with easily cut lines.
I beg to differ with Capta on this one. Those who sail offshore where the most likely abandon ship scenario might involve high winds and big (possibly breaking) seas should think very carefully about substituting an inflatable dinghy for a life raft. Launching a dinghy in a survival situation is very problematic. Like Capta, we store our dinghy on deck -- but the engine is on the aft rail and the gas can and related gear needed to operate it is stowed below. The only scenario that I can imagine in which we would be able to launch the dinghy safely is in a relatively flat sea and little wind. (I have a hard enough time launching it in a windy anchorage.) If the dinghy is stowed on davits it's it would be easier, but with even a 5-6 ft sea running it would not be a simple matter. While it would never be easy, life rafts are engineered for emergency deployment in survival conditions.

More importantly, a dinghy is much more likely to be flipped by a breaking wave than a ballasted life raft. Read up on the experience of sailors who have abandoned ship with a big sea running. Many will tell of the life raft being rolled. This is exactly what happened to the crew of Rule 62. The boat was rolled, the rig collapsed, they launched the raft and successfully got all four people in the raft. The person who died in this incident was lost when the life raft was rolled by a breaking wave and she became separated from the raft. No inflatable dinghy would have survived in that circumstance.
 

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No room for a 4-place raft in a cockpit locker in a Tartan 27?

I don't think you need both a raft and survival suits, but that's a personal opinion. Pros and cons to each. If you have to board a raft from cold water, you could lose muscle strength in minutes and be unable, if you drifted away at first. However, you need some advanced notice of a potential sinking to don a survival suit.
 

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Though we do carry a liferaft, I consider my 11' Zodiac a much better vehicle for the purpose. A couple of oars and a sail would suffice as a sun cover, but the ability to run 30+ miles at 20 plus knots sure beats sitting there watching a ship pass within easy reach........
I think this is easier to say (although I still don't support it), when you're in Caribbean waters. You would float immersed for a day or two before succumbing to hyopthermia, if you flip a dinghy. Unlike the minutes to hours in Maine.

Interestingly, my wife, who is a very good swimmer, feels much safer when we cruise in the Caribbean. We were in 8 ft rollers about a mile or two from shore, when I had to go out on deck to unjam a halyard. We had no harnesses on the charter and I commented about not wanting to end up in the drink. She says it would be easy to swim to shore there, given the warm temps. I said it was a dangerous illusion.
 

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Discussion Starter · #20 ·
In 1971 when I was in the service I spent 26 hours floating in the South China sea wearing a life vest, the water was 79F and it wasn't much fun. I leave you all to your own decisions about your survival. A trained crewmember can done a survival suit in less than 30 seconds, during training exercises I've had a crew of thirty five in suits and in the rafts in less than two minutes, this of course is under ideal conditions and at a lower stress level than a true emergency. It's not enough to just have the equipment you must train and have a plan in place before an emergency.
 
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