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Old 25-10-2016, 12:44   #1
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Do I Need A Life Raft

When is a life raft desirable? Protected waters, coastal, or offshore? Does water temperature of your cruising area influence the decision? Does boat size matter?
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Old 25-10-2016, 12:48   #2
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Re: Do I Need A Life Raft

Does your boat have positive floatation? As many in that size range do.
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Old 25-10-2016, 12:57   #3
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Re: Do I Need A Life Raft

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Does your boat have positive floatation? As many in that size range do.
No it does not. 650 lbs of lead ballast.
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Old 25-10-2016, 13:08   #4
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Re: Do I Need A Life Raft

When is a liferaft desirable?
1. Fire.
2. Boat sinking too fast to save it.

However, unless they've improved, they are not reliable (as in fail to inflate when you need it), they are expensive to buy and maintain. They vary considerably in quality, one from the other. And, if you have to abandon in heavy seas, it may just roll over and toss you out into the cold, cold water, especially true of unballasted ones, but also, they are very cramped, so people often buy the next size up, but then the raft is more comfortable but more unstable, too, because it is designed with more human ballast in mind...

Not the happiest picture.

Do you need a liferaft? You'll have to decide for yourself, unless you're going to be racing, in which case the race rules will state what you have to have. Some guys rent them for races. I would imagine, if you rent one, and it makes you feel more comfortable, you might want to have one, and if not, not. Also, if you will be sailing with others, that could affect your choice, as well. It's one thing to decide to dispense with one altogether for yourself, and another, entirely, when your choice will affect others. You'd need to be up front that they were taking the same chances as you. To me, they offer an illusion of safety, that can lead to not trying to keep your own boat afloat.

Now, watch this opinion get pounced on--it is not the way most people look at it.

Ann
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Old 25-10-2016, 13:39   #5
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Re: Do I Need A Life Raft

Definitely yes in cold waters below 65° and anywhere the waves can get above 5'.
You are responsible for your crew/passengers. And survival suits might be a good addition for offshore in the lats above 40°.

Once you leave the populated areas your chances of surviving in the water drop drastically.

Here around the San Juan Islands I use to drag an inflatable. But once that was sold I bought a life raft and brought it up to date.

As well, a ditch bag with extra supplies, batteries, a floating VHF/GPS/EPIRB and flares is recommended!

Q: How much do you want to survive?
Boats are a safety hazard and need as much safety equipment as one wants to live in the case of a catastrophic event.
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Old 25-10-2016, 13:43   #6
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Re: Do I Need A Life Raft

Note: Can you get your passengers to sign an "assumption of risk waver"?
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Old 25-10-2016, 13:58   #7
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Re: Do I Need A Life Raft

A liferaft is more of a necessity when you plan on being out of reach of most shore based rescue services. On a Catalina 22 which is basically a daysailer, you most likely won't be far enough offshore to warrant having one.

Answer to your thread title: No, you don't need one.
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Old 25-10-2016, 14:10   #8
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Re: Do I Need A Life Raft

I'll go ahead and share some of Ann's heat as I agree with her. Dogma says that you need one for offshore sailing, but I disagree for the following reasons:

1. A dingy with flotation, provision for shade and a sea anchor can serve the same purpose without the added expense, weight and hassle of a life raft. True, a dinghy doesn't have ballast chambers, but.....
2. Ballast chambers will help to keep the life raft from flipping when you get in, but are not going to prevent capsize if struck by a wave. The possible exception to this is the Givens raft, but they are out of production.
3. Very expensive and require frequent, expensive maintenance.
4. Unreliable. Stories abound of life rafts failing to inflate or deflating soon afterwards.
5. Provide false sense of security. Too often boats are abandoned in favor of a life raft that provides less safety than a swamped boat.
6. Storage can be a challenge, as can access when needed.

I would never advise anyone else to forego a life raft, but we have done so for the above reasons. Our plan for abandoning ship is to use our 12' hard dinghy with flotation and sea anchor. We will be wearing dry suits and have our ditch bag tied to the dinghy.

To the OP; we have hashed this out before and you may be able to find more info using Google. I assume you are not talking about your Catalina 22?
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Old 25-10-2016, 14:13   #9
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Re: Do I Need A Life Raft

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Originally Posted by Kenomac View Post
A liferaft is more of a necessity when you plan on being out of reach of most shore based rescue services. On a Catalina 22 which is basically a daysailer, you most likely won't be far enough offshore to warrant having one.

Answer to your thread title: No, you don't need one.
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Old 25-10-2016, 14:19   #10
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Re: Do I Need A Life Raft

After looking at some of the reliability data, listening to long-term cruisers, and assessing the cost/benefit, my view is that a life raft is one of the last “safety” items I will add to our boat. After I’ve done pretty much everything else to ensure my boat is sound, safe and secure, and after I’ve invested in useful equipment and my own skills, only then would I turn my attention to the idea of a life raft.

My view is if resources are unlimited and you can have it all, then sure … get a life raft. But for many of the reasons stated by Ann, I rank the value of a life raft as pretty low.

But to answer your questions, I would say cruising grounds do matter. If I were headed to the high latitudes, or planning to be offshore in remote areas for extended periods, then a life raft would move up the priority list (although still behind most other investments). Boat size also matters; bigger is definitely better in this case. In your case, I wouldn’t even consider one.
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Old 25-10-2016, 14:23   #11
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Re: Do I Need A Life Raft

No you don't. The 22 was designed as a daysailer and weekender for use in inland and protected waters. I don't know ANYONE in the Chesapeake who carries a liferaft if they're not going beyond the CBBT.

That said, without one, you should also consider the possibility that you'll end up in the water somehow and keep a ditch bag for waterproof VHF, signals/flares/horn etc.

And watch the water temps. A lot of people, including myself, sail year round but you have to be cautious/prepared when the water temperature drops. Fall in in Nov.-April and there's a good chance you'll dead before someone gets to you, VHF/PLB or not.
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Old 25-10-2016, 14:30   #12
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Re: Do I Need A Life Raft

Quote:
Originally Posted by Ann T. Cate View Post
When is a liferaft desirable?
1. Fire.
2. Boat sinking too fast to save it.

However, unless they've improved, they are not reliable (as in fail to inflate when you need it), they are expensive to buy and maintain. They vary considerably in quality, one from the other. And, if you have to abandon in heavy seas, it may just roll over and toss you out into the cold, cold water, especially true of unballasted ones, but also, they are very cramped, so people often buy the next size up, but then the raft is more comfortable but more unstable, too, because it is designed with more human ballast in mind...

Not the happiest picture.

Do you need a liferaft? You'll have to decide for yourself, unless you're going to be racing, in which case the race rules will state what you have to have. Some guys rent them for races. I would imagine, if you rent one, and it makes you feel more comfortable, you might want to have one, and if not, not. Also, if you will be sailing with others, that could affect your choice, as well. It's one thing to decide to dispense with one altogether for yourself, and another, entirely, when your choice will affect others. You'd need to be up front that they were taking the same chances as you. To me, they offer an illusion of safety, that can lead to not trying to keep your own boat afloat.

Now, watch this opinion get pounced on--it is not the way most people look at it.

Ann
I am glad you have posted this Ann. We have opted to forgo a life raft. And used these same arguments to arrive at our decision. We have opted for a hard sailing dinghy with extra flotation around the top. I am not sure its a "sure thing" for safety. But the goal is to never have to test it!
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Old 25-10-2016, 14:31   #13
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Re: Do I Need A Life Raft

I like the answers. I didn't think they would be of much use. I really didn't want to consider one but will probably get an inflatable life jacket. I do have a dry suit that I wear in the cold.
I have a 15' catboat that I built in addition to the Capri. I prefer sailing the catboat and have taken it to the Dry Tortugas, Block Island, Outer Banks NC, and Maine. Being an unballasted wood boat I don't think it would sink.
Do you all carry a PLB?
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Old 26-10-2016, 08:23   #14
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Re: Do I Need A Life Raft

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Originally Posted by kmacdonald View Post
I like the answers. I didn't think they would be of much use. I really didn't want to consider one but will probably get an inflatable life jacket. I do have a dry suit that I wear in the cold.
I have a 15' catboat that I built in addition to the Capri. I prefer sailing the catboat and have taken it to the Dry Tortugas, Block Island, Outer Banks NC, and Maine. Being an unballasted wood boat I don't think it would sink.
Do you all carry a PLB?
portland pudgy covers all bases
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Old 26-10-2016, 08:45   #15
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Re: Do I Need A Life Raft

Myself I don't feel comfort offshore unless I have a life raft, survival suits and a GPIRB.
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