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View Poll Results: Would you be interested in a liferaft designed to be self-serviced
Yes 41 83.67%
No 4 8.16%
Maybe 4 8.16%
Voters: 49. You may not vote on this poll

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Old 27-10-2011, 05:23   #1
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A Self-Service Liferaft Design - Interested ?

Just kicking over the idea..........

Same old inflatable inner tubes with a tent on top .......except designed for ease of owner servicing (it's not rocket science).

For regulatory purposes may have to be termed something like a "Survival Raft" rather than a "Liferaft" and probably wouldn't meet any requirements (race etc) as a Liferaft. But nonetheless as the raft was designed and purchased for DIY servicing can't be criticised for doing so, unlike for a conventional (out dated ) Liferaft.

But my thinking is that a Life.....errr....I mean Survival Raft would be both more reliable from being serviced every year ("Safety" is a constant thing, not a 3 or 5 year event) and from the Skipper / Crew simply becoming familiar with the raft.

Given that a re-pack won't be measured in the hundreds of $/£ no reason not to kick it overboard to see what happens...........and to realise that any sort of emergency rubber ring should really be part of a Plan C when trouble strikes, not Plan A


Be aware that if you do NOT have a "SURVIVAL RAFT" you, your family (including those onshore) will all die in a ball of flame. twice (early marketing draft ).
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Old 27-10-2011, 05:30   #2
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Re: A self service Liferaft design - interested?

the first step needed is to come up with a good marketing name or axiom
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Old 27-10-2011, 05:40   #3
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Re: A self service Liferaft design - interested?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Don Lucas View Post
the first step needed is to come up with a good marketing name or axiom
A name is the easy bit (CF would be a first stop for that!), and the Liferaft makers have done most of the hardwork in establishing the rules of the game over the last 30 year (no raft = die!).

The hard part will be making one, at the right price. Anyone know the Chinese for Rubber Ring with Tent on top?

Just to make clear to all (before the orders start coming in )........the odds are strong (99% ) that this won't hit the market (at least not from me), but nonetheless fits in with an idea I have long had about a MOB device.......
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Old 27-10-2011, 05:44   #4
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Re: A self service Liferaft design - interested?

Here you go for a few confidence inspiring Marketing Acronyms:

SWIM: Salt Water Immersion Method
FLIPPER: FLotation In PolyPropylene Evacuation Raft
THIRST: Twin Handled Inflatable Raft & Survival Tent

Just trying to help
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Old 27-10-2011, 05:51   #5
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Re: A self service Liferaft design - interested?

--and have a 2-part, chemical based, inflation system that converts to rigid foam. No puncture problem from the fish hooks.
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Old 27-10-2011, 06:17   #6
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pirate Re: A self service Liferaft design - interested?

Already I'm confused....
Too many big words being chucked about....
I'll stick to the dinghy.....
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Old 27-10-2011, 08:14   #7
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Re: A self service Liferaft design - interested?

You're proposing an attractive concept, that's just not practical. A liferaft is like a parachute. It's got to work right the first time, every time.

Here’s how Winslow service liferafts.
WINSLOW® Liferaft Company

How many of these steps will a typical owner be properly equipped to perform? Which would you eliminate? Would you be prepared to warrant that anything has actually been done, merely on the owner's word?
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Old 27-10-2011, 08:29   #8
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Re: A self service Liferaft design - interested?

How about a personal flotation device designed to lift the individual out of the water when inflated. It could have a pocket stuffed with bottled water and energy bars. I think when inflated the wearer would resemble the Michelin Man.
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Old 27-10-2011, 08:30   #9
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Re: A self service Liferaft design - interested?

Quote:
Originally Posted by boatman61 View Post
Already I'm confused....
Too many big words being chucked about....
I'll stick to the dinghy.....
That was the MK1 version
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Old 27-10-2011, 10:41   #10
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Re: A self service Liferaft design - interested?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Don Lucas View Post
the first step needed is to come up with a good marketing name or axiom
NOT first step to design a good thing????

OMG, this world has changed this much.

;-)))
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Old 27-10-2011, 10:44   #11
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Re: A self service Liferaft design - interested?

Quote:
Originally Posted by GordMay View Post
You're proposing an attractive concept, that's just not practical. A liferaft is like a parachute. It's got to work right the first time, every time.
Which is exactly why many folk pack there own parachutes.

At the moment if someone self services a liferaft and it fails to inflate at a critical time and with consequences (and you survive!) then it is an easy club to beat you with legally and financially (even if SFA to do with the self service)............. But with the DIY version, it's whole raison d'etre is to be DIY serviced. Designed, sold and purchased as such - so only thing that someone could be criticised for is not having a "proper" liferaft........in circumstances where a "Liferaft" is not a legal requirement that is not a great concern.

Of course no reason why someone could not get the DIY raft serviced proffessionally.

Really it will come down to cost and therefore how much they could hit the market for.........I suspect that a decent chunk of the Liferaft manufactures take is from Authorising Service Centers and selling spare parts.

Quote:
Here’s how Winslow service liferafts.

WINSLOW® Liferaft Company

How many of these steps will a typical owner be properly equipped to perform? Which would you eliminate?
NOTE: the Numbering below went out of Sync with the original

Red indicates not needed for a self service.
Green means DIYable.
BOLD Blue means the important bits (that are not patently obvious / will be doing anyway).



Each of these tasks is required to be performed by any authorized WINSLOW® service station pursuant to the approved life raft service manual.
  1. Log life raft as received in the Life Raft Receiving Log. - no actual need for a log,
  2. Open Service Work Order, and record the following life raft information:
    1. Customer information
    2. Shipment Information
    3. Incoming Dimensions
    4. Incoming Weight
    5. Life Raft Serial Number
    6. Date of Manufacture and Last Service
    7. Any special customer requirement(s)
    Again, for self servicing no need for any of the above (most is simply CYA for the service centre / padding out this service list ).

  3. Perform visual inspection of valise, canister, hard pack or Pelican Pac and general condition. Unless the Servicer has special x-ray eyeballs then, an owner's inspection can be done just as well. If not better (who could be using it?)
  4. Remove life raft from valise, canister, hard pack or Pelican Pac and unfold life raft. A monkey could do that
  5. Detach Inflation System and record the following information:
    1. Cylinder Serial Number
    2. Cylinder Weight
    3. Date of last cylinder Hydrostatic Test. (If past due or due prior to the next service due date, then Hydrostatic Testing must be performed)
    4. Firing head Serial Number
    All well within the scope of DIY (A Hydrostatic test being, fill with water - put under pressure and see if anything p#sses out - but that is not an every year thing, probably every 5, but the DOJ Raft will have that in the handbook (translated from it's original Korean. by an Italian ). If the cylinder is underweight and needs a refill that won't be a DIY job - and will cost to have filled commercially (note that the bottle contents are not simply compressed air). But (IMO) better to know within a year, rather than in 3 or 5 - or discover before..........
  6. If cylinder is under or over the required weight then the cylinder must be recharged. No sh#t
  7. Perform inspection of Inflation System and components. Again, my comments on X-ray eyeballs also apply here........
  8. If Inflation System Components need to be replaced then the cylinder must be re-charged after required components have been replaced. Spares will be available.
  9. If Firing Head and Cylinder Head are over the five (5) year service life span, or will be prior to the next service due date, then the firing head and cylinder head must be rebuilt. Seems quite sensible, Probably not DIY (for the average person) and I suspect a job that is outsourced by the average service centre.
  10. Inflate life raft using filtered dry air. Borrow a vacum cleaner - and disconnect the out end - and put a mesh over it. If needed add a heater on the in end of things.
  11. Detach Survival Equipment Package. Where's that monkey gone?
  12. Inspect life raft attachments, (grasp lines, sea anchor line, etc.) for security of attachment. Have a banana
  13. Inspect stencils for condition and conspicuity. Something like that is always important..........., when padding out a list.
  14. Inspect Canopy for condition and function. What else would you be doing with an inflated raft?
  15. Perform Pressure Retention Tests for Buoyancy Tubes, Arch Tube and Floor. - a technical way of saying "leave inflated and wait to see what happens". ( 2 or 3 days is a decent test for an inflatable).
  16. Perform Pressure Relief Valve Test. Depending on design, that probably involves the blunt end of a pencil or simply over inflating.
  17. Perform Arch Tube Transfer Valve Test. Much the same as above
  18. Verify Canopy lights for function and battery condition, (swollen Water Activated Batteries must be replaced). Not Rocket Science (self train by switching a torch on and off ).
  19. Perform inspection of Survival Equipment Components: Much the same as looking in a tool box or larder.
    1. Verify expiration date of all items with a limited useful life, replace any items expired or that will expire before the next service due date. Or you could just leave the old stuff in, and bill the punter anyway - he won't know. (just to clarify - I am sure Winslow don't - but other service centres?).
    2. Inspect all Pyrotechnics for general condition, (assure flares are not leaking chemicals, nor crushed). Same as for the onboard flares
    3. Inspect all Batteries. I would also test them, but that's just me.
    4. Test Flashlights. That's a good idea!
    5. Inspect Food Rations and Water Packs for leaks and general condition. as above, but don't include bananas
    6. Inspect First Aid Kit. as above, I suspect the Service Guy is not a Doctor either.
    7. Perform Service of PUR "06" Watermaker unit, if included, (service includes Re-certification and Biocide Treatment). Service is performed utilizing the WLR06BG Watermaker Test Unit.
the DOJ Raftwill not likely have a water maker, however instructions may contain details of rain dances.
  1. Apply WINSLOW® Magnesium Silicate Dessicant P.N. 3RZ00011. - applied like talcum powder, if not available (or equivalent) off the shelf will be available from DOJ Ltd (Note that Winslow claim to be the only folk who do that step).
  2. Repack Survival Equipment Package including any customer supplied items. Repacking the raft seems a good idea
  3. Deflate Life Raft and pull vacuum to -??? inches Hg. This is where the DIYable design comes in
  4. Fold life raft per Service Manual procedures and data for that life raft model and configuration. as above
  5. Place inside valise, canister, hard pack or Pelican Pac. Or wear as a hat?
  6. Place in Compaction Unit to achieve final required pack height. Life raft is compacted to size utilizing WINSLOW® Model WLR06BG Compaction Unit. (not required for canister stored marine life rafts) - Sit on and have a cuppa tea OR have the repacking / raft designed for DIY.
  7. Close and secure valise, canister, hard pack or Pelican Pac. I have seen padding documents before, but this is getting ridiculous
  8. Record the following information:
    1. Outgoing Dimensions
    2. Outgoing Weight
    3. Next Service Due Date
    Not needed
  9. Affix WINSLOW® serial-numbered Service Validation Certificate. Not needed
  10. Complete all service paperwork. wot paperwork? (handbook will have a version of the above, and online - with a checklist)
  11. Prepare life raft for shipment. Who to?
  12. Ship life raft to customer. carry to boat

The above is of course only the Service schedule for Winslow (the "Rolls Royce" of Liferafts?) - will also be investigating what other brands do (or don't do?).

Quote:
Would you be prepared to warrant that anything has actually been done, merely on the owner's word?
No.

But a few receipts for liferaft related service items would be a good indicator, and with a DIY servicable raft can simply open it up for a looksee (and smell) - all without the sky falling in (or a few hundred dollars / pounds being spent)
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Old 27-10-2011, 11:45   #12
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Re: A Self-Service Liferaft Design - Interested ?

DOJ,

It seems to me that you are re-inventing the wheel
Who says that a capable DIYer couldn't inspect his own Winslow (or whatever brand).
Insurance bandits, race organizers doing due diligence on "CYA",etc.? make the rules.
If one is prepared to risk ones own life, based on ones confidence in ones ability, then go for it.
This is right up there with the cockpit-liner bath-tub survival dinghy.
Boat sinks-cockpit floats out.
How about a foredeck shaped module.
These alternatives to commercial-built, risk-related (think insurance premium) designs are not new.
The UK master himself, Uffa Fox, designed folding lifeboats 50yrs back, and the US Coast Guard used to fly B-17s with a parachute deployed lifeboat contoured to the fuselage bottom, back in the 50s. Look-up "Flying Dutchman" aircraft.
But don't give up David, Apple rehired Steve when things went bad.
If only Boatman 61 would fit a rain-catching hood, and cutouts for a couple of stubbies in the arm rest, i'd chuck some dinero in the IPO.
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Old 27-10-2011, 12:02   #13
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Re: A Self-Service Liferaft Design - Interested ?

I be in too.
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Old 27-10-2011, 12:17   #14
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Re: A Self-Service Liferaft Design - Interested ?

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I be in too.
Gonna need a bigger raft.........
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Old 27-10-2011, 12:55   #15
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Re: A Self-Service Liferaft Design - Interested ?

DOJ, I like your idea.

One suggestion that comes immediately to mind is to use a small SCUBA tank to inflate the raft. This would allow easy and low cost tank refilling, inspection, and replacement. Thus, the goal of frequent testing of the raft would be satisfied.

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