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Old 03-01-2018, 07:56   #1
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Life Raft on deck with negative temperatures

Left my 9 month old life raft on deck in NC with horrendous unforeseen cold temperatures and getting worse. I am now worried that the emergency rations will freeze and break open with resultant damage to the raft.
Will it be too late already???
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Old 03-01-2018, 09:17   #2
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Re: Life Raft on deck with negative temperatures

Where in NC are you? I am in Wilmington and willing to grab it for you and get it inside. Send a PM if you would like assistance.
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Old 03-01-2018, 10:25   #3
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Re: Life Raft on deck with negative temperatures

Ask the manufacturer of your raft about storage vs. usage temperature specs for your model.

If you have a good quality raft that is vacuum packed, it shouldn't be an issue.

"...horrendous unforeseen cold temperatures..." is relative. We [and the commercial fishermen, ferries, tub boats, ice breakers further north and south, etc. ] use our vessels in cool weather- typically below freezing [even occasionally below zero F] temperatures.

We all have life rafts that can handle such conditions.

Despite this treatment, our older offshore Winslow continues to pass inspection every 3 years... [The sun screen bag (not bottle) had leaked once- coating everything with goo... But that was a package failure- not because of freezing... It would not have affected use of the raft, but would have been inconvenient handling all the greasy items it leaked upon...]

The only thing in your raft that will freeze and swell is water. You may have small water packs in with the raft. They are in expandable packaging, and swelling is minimal due to their small size. We have never seen one that burst, but recognize they could be useless popsicles in winter if we ever had to deploy the raft. Therefore water jugs [with some air in them] are tied to our ditch bags and stored below decks where they won't freeze...

The worse that can happen- especially if your raft is not vacuum packed, or if the vacuum bag is compromized- is to have water intrude into the raft packaging and then go through multiple freeze/thaw cycles- possibly causing damage in the process.

This is a non-issue with good quality, vacuum packed rafts from our experience.

All that said, when we are not boating for an extended period of time, the raft is stored in climate controlled dry storage in an attempt to prolong its shelf life. We do this more to protect it from heat than cold as heat is the #1 enemy of liferafts according to our commercial repacking resource...

In case this is helpful...

Cheers! Bill

PS: I just checked the NC Wx and don't see any below zero F [negative] temps forcast, but there are some predicted to fall a little below freezing a few evenings. It that what you meant in your subject line? [i.e., Below freezing? Or perhaps you were thinking degrees Centigrade where minus temps are those below freezing?] If the local temps forecast are accurate, they will be just a little below freezing- and only overnight. Therefore it is unlikely that even water will freeze in your raft... Relax...
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Old 03-01-2018, 12:02   #4
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Re: Life Raft on deck with negative temperatures

PM sent, any experiences with similar scenario? Did the water freeze and explode?
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Old 03-01-2018, 12:40   #5
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Re: Life Raft on deck with negative temperatures

Bill, thank you so much for your great reply, I will sleep easier tonight. It is a Revere Offshore Commander 2.0 4 person canister life raft sitting on deck in a cradle.
The current forcast night temperature for the NC coast in Fahrenheit is 13, 10, 9, 20 for the next few days and the daytime temperatures are below freezing, hence my worry.
Again thanks for your reply, really appreciate that.
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Old 03-01-2018, 12:59   #6
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Re: Life Raft on deck with negative temperatures

Our boat was stored on the hard in Annapolis for 2 winters before we bought it. When I had the life raft serviced this year, they didn't note any issues.
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Old 03-01-2018, 13:19   #7
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Re: Life Raft on deck with negative temperatures

Quote:
Originally Posted by Tanzer4124 View Post
Bill, thank you so much for your great reply, I will sleep easier tonight. It is a Revere Offshore Commander 2.0 4 person canister life raft sitting on deck in a cradle.
The current forcast night temperature for the NC coast in Fahrenheit is 13, 10, 9, 20 for the next few days and the daytime temperatures are below freezing, hence my worry.
Again thanks for your reply, really appreciate that.
Tanzer, I'm glad it was helpful.

In case you haven't seen the manual for your raft, here are the stated storage and use temperatures for that specific model:

Quote:
[from p5 of above manual]
Operational Temperature Range: +33 to +130F (+1 to +54 C).
Storage Temperature Range: +5 to +130 F (-15 to +54 C)
And it says your raft is vacuum packed and has a 12 year warranty...

All of the above would help me relax were I in your situation...

I do agree, however, it is worth storing it in a dry temperature controlled environment during the off season in case that helps lengthen its life span...

Cheers! Bill
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Old 04-01-2018, 11:26   #8
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Re: Life Raft on deck with negative temperatures

Quote:
Originally Posted by sailingunity View Post
Our boat was stored on the hard in Annapolis for 2 winters before we bought it. When I had the life raft serviced this year, they didn't note any issues.
Where did you have your raft serviced in the Annapolis area... Looking for recommendations on getting our new to us raft, EPIRBs, and MOB serviced.
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Old 04-01-2018, 12:42   #9
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Re: Life Raft on deck with negative temperatures

Doesn't seem to bother these rafts @ -20C/-6F

https://www.dropbox.com/s/7zeqts86fo...20-6F.jpg?dl=0
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Old 04-01-2018, 12:59   #10
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Re: Life Raft on deck with negative temperatures

ISO9650 certified rafts are tested at arctic temperatures for performance.
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Old 04-01-2018, 18:41   #11
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Re: Life Raft on deck with negative temperatures

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Originally Posted by Tigidal View Post
Where did you have your raft serviced in the Annapolis area... Looking for recommendations on getting our new to us raft, EPIRBs, and MOB serviced.
We had ours serviced at Revere while we were in Jacksonville.

For EPIRBs, I found the cost of servicing it to be almost as much as buying new. The new models come with a 10 year, user replaceable battery, so a much better deal!
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Old 05-01-2018, 03:15   #12
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Re: Life Raft on deck with negative temperatures

Appreciate all replies and thank you, have now got a friend to store the raft down below.
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