Cruisers Forum
 


Join CruisersForum Today

Reply
 
Thread Tools Rate Thread Display Modes
Old 17-12-2013, 12:08   #31
֍֎֍֎֍֎֍֎֍֎

Cruisers Forum Supporter

Join Date: Apr 2006
Posts: 13,029
Re: Do I need a new Life Raft?

Rollie, if a raft falls under commercial service testing requirements, then can't the CO2 damage be mitigated by the manufacturer using a nitrogen/CO2 mix, instead of pure CO2 in the bottle? And a suitable baffle where the gas actually enters and hits the raft? It wouldn't seem that hard, if they were concerned with longevity and performance.
__________________

__________________
hellosailor is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 17-12-2013, 13:25   #32
Marine Service Provider
 
liferaft's Avatar

Join Date: Mar 2012
Location: Tacoma, WA
Posts: 23
Re: Do I need a new Life Raft?

Most manufacturers use a CO2/N2 mix to improve cold weather inflation. The blend does nothing to mitigate the damage the cold liquid causes.

Depending on what coatings used on the materials baffles or liners are used. They were quite common years ago with neoprene coatings, less so now with urethane.

It is also important to remember that life raft manufacturers want to sell life rafts. Having a raft that lasts 25 years is not as good for sales as one that needs to be replaced after 12 years. In the regulated market it is not like a vessel can sail without proper life rafts and the cost of a raft is a minor expense (to them, not to me) in the overall scheme of things.

The industry is seeing the cost of servicing increase due to the cost of parts. It is almost to the point where it is less expensive to replace a commercial raft after 5 years than to go through the gas inflation, replace hoses, lithium batteries, food and water all of which have a 5 year service cycle. Sorry to say but some of these same issues exist for recreational rafts.
__________________

__________________
Rollie Herman
Westpac Marine Services, Inc.
Tacoma, WA U.S.A.
liferaft is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 17-12-2013, 13:30   #33
֍֎֍֎֍֎֍֎֍֎

Cruisers Forum Supporter

Join Date: Apr 2006
Posts: 13,029
Re: Do I need a new Life Raft?

Vested interests...yes, I heard there was a fellow who invented a life raft that could last fifty years and sell for a third the price of the conventional ones. The rumour is that a couple of days after he shopped it around, he woke up in a cheap hotel in Kowloon, surrounded by ice and with a surgical scar and a note that said "Give it up or we take the other kidney."

Of course, that's just scurrilous rumour, couldn't be a grain of truth to it.
__________________
hellosailor is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 17-12-2013, 19:36   #34
Nearly an old salt
 
goboatingnow's Avatar

Cruisers Forum Supporter

Join Date: Jun 2009
Posts: 13,649
Images: 3
Quote:
Originally Posted by liferaft View Post
Most manufacturers use a CO2/N2 mix to improve cold weather inflation. The blend does nothing to mitigate the damage the cold liquid causes.

Depending on what coatings used on the materials baffles or liners are used. They were quite common years ago with neoprene coatings, less so now with urethane.

It is also important to remember that life raft manufacturers want to sell life rafts. Having a raft that lasts 25 years is not as good for sales as one that needs to be replaced after 12 years. In the regulated market it is not like a vessel can sail without proper life rafts and the cost of a raft is a minor expense (to them, not to me) in the overall scheme of things.

The industry is seeing the cost of servicing increase due to the cost of parts. It is almost to the point where it is less expensive to replace a commercial raft after 5 years than to go through the gas inflation, replace hoses, lithium batteries, food and water all of which have a 5 year service cycle. Sorry to say but some of these same issues exist for recreational rafts.
All product design aims to build a product for a given cost , so that its fits into the intended market segment. Hence the designers of life rafts are limited to certain budgets. This inevitably controls the life of the product.

Furthermore many countries have limits on liferaft life span , so there's no point in building a very expensive raft that lasts 25 years , when it will get dumped in 10 anyway. It's got nothing to do with " not good for sales "

Dave
__________________
Check out my new blog on smart boat technology, networking and gadgets for the connected sailor! - http://smartboats.tumblr.com
goboatingnow is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 17-12-2013, 21:09   #35
Registered User
 
Nicholson58's Avatar

Join Date: Jan 2011
Location: Live aboard
Boat: Camper & Nicholson58 Ketch - ROXY Traverse City, Michigan No.668283
Posts: 3,466
Images: 83
Re: Do I need a new Life Raft?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Dockhead View Post
Why assume it's no good? Some of these are really well made and last for decades.


I second David's advice -- inflate it and see. One tip: don't inflate it with the CO2 cylinder -- use compressed air. The CO2 degrades the material and shouldn't be used except in an emergency.
Correct on the CO2 bottle. Don't use it. Weigh the bottle. The full weight (and tare) will be permanently fixed, probably painted on the bottle. If you use the bottle to inflate, you risk freeze damage to the material AND, you will need to rebuild or replace the inflation device on the bottle. You may also find that the gas in the bottle is a mix such as X pounds N2 and Y pounds CO2. This will be difficult to refill. Test facilities use compressed air or a pressure blower. You need to inflate high enough to trip and test the pressure relief valves on the raft tubes. It must then hold air well for about 24 hours. Ours needed a thorough cleaning as well (mildew). We gave it a scrub, rinse and then floated it both upright and flipped in the pool to kill the mold. It dried inflated in the livingroom for a couple weeks.

If you feel like taking on this task, take photos as you unpack. The fold pattern is important especially for getting it back in a hard case. Also, there is a special method to the lay of the tank and trip cord, not unlike packing a parachute. There may also be other trip cords or sensors to turn on lights if you have them.

The other advice is correct regarding flares, water, batteries and other supplies. Many of the original equipment items are easily replaced today with superior items. You can have this service done for you at great expense in the US & Canada or for as much as 1/4 that cost anywhere else. (lawyers & insurance surely involved in this).

There are threads on this site and elsewhere for liferaft self service but I have found no all inclusive discusion. I have been working at our own re-pack for quite a while now and will have to fill the re-inspected and stamped bottle myself on my company precision scale using gasses in the weld shop. All local agencies have refused to refill once they learn it is for a life raft. Certified service is 2200 AND That does not include two-way transportation OR the new flares etc. I can buy a new raft for about the service fee.

I find it ironic that we are capable of outfitting a vessel, operating radios, navigating, engine and other complex system maintenance but that we are somehow incapable and even prohibited from stuffing a rubber boat in a box. You can do this for your personal use but you will be required to buy the service (or new raft) if you operate commercially.
__________________
Nicholson58 is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 17-12-2013, 22:16   #36
Registered User
 
SvenG's Avatar

Join Date: Oct 2009
Location: Mexico heading South
Boat: Ericson 39B - Senta II
Posts: 1,169
Re: Do I need a new Life Raft?

I think the Hammer (?) hydrostatic release on our 4-person Elliot says that is has to be replaced every two years ?



-Sven
__________________
Senta II - http://www.Grenander.com/Senta_II/Blog/Blog.html
1977 Ericson 39B -- Hull # 216
SvenG is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 18-12-2013, 07:43   #37
Marine Service Provider
 
liferaft's Avatar

Join Date: Mar 2012
Location: Tacoma, WA
Posts: 23
Re: Do I need a new Life Raft?

Yes that is correct. The Hammar hydrostatic release needs to be replaced every 2 years.
__________________
Rollie Herman
Westpac Marine Services, Inc.
Tacoma, WA U.S.A.
liferaft is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 19-12-2013, 12:11   #38
Registered User

Join Date: Feb 2008
Posts: 371
Re: Do I need a new Life Raft?

Our Zodiac 6 man valise raft (new 1999) was professionally tested/repacked OK in 2006. Next tested in 2009, it was trash!! Had always been stored in dry out of sunlight. Seams were leaking like sieves!!
__________________
chrisjs is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 19-12-2013, 13:13   #39
Registered User
 
cburger's Avatar

Join Date: May 2006
Location: Nyack, NY
Boat: Westsail 32
Posts: 1,547
Images: 1
Re: Do I need a new Life Raft?

Quote:
Originally Posted by chrisjs View Post
Our Zodiac 6 man valise raft (new 1999) was professionally tested/repacked OK in 2006. Next tested in 2009, it was trash!! Had always been stored in dry out of sunlight. Seams were leaking like sieves!!
I have a Zodiac tender, through Westmarine, for the money that was paid and the little use a real piece of s-ht. Crappy particle board floor falling apart and warping, seams starting to fail. Disappointing considering Zodiac started it all, guess when the French get back from their 6 week vacations they forget how to use the glue guns.
__________________
"All men are created equal, some are just more equal than others"
cburger is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 19-12-2013, 13:59   #40
Registered User

Join Date: Feb 2008
Posts: 371
Re: Do I need a new Life Raft?

I must agree. The experience with my LR is enough to convince me that they are a questionable manufacturer, even though they do make a number of large inflatables.
__________________
chrisjs is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 22-12-2013, 07:31   #41
Registered User

Join Date: Jan 2011
Location: Key Largo, FL
Boat: Morgan 41 OI
Posts: 55
Re: Do I need a new Life Raft?

I think the best reason to self inspect your life raft if possible is knowing it before the fact of needing it. Middle of the night in bad weather and things going from bad to really bad is not the time to figure out how it all works. Repack yourself and become familiar with your emergency home. IMHO
__________________
C4 King Cobra is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 22-12-2013, 07:49   #42
Registered User

Join Date: Feb 2008
Posts: 371
Re: Do I need a new Life Raft?

If you unpack your own LR, how easy is it to repack without risking damage? Also, in the event that valves, etc might need replacing, how accessible are the parts except from an authorized service center (that may well refuse to sell to an end user). When my LR was last tested the protocol required the raft to be inflated fully and tested for pressure loss after 48 hours, the logic being that you may well require your raft to stay inflated for days not hours.
__________________
chrisjs is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 22-12-2013, 09:46   #43
Registered User
 
Nicholson58's Avatar

Join Date: Jan 2011
Location: Live aboard
Boat: Camper & Nicholson58 Ketch - ROXY Traverse City, Michigan No.668283
Posts: 3,466
Images: 83
Re: Do I need a new Life Raft?

Quote:
Originally Posted by chrisjs View Post
If you unpack your own LR, how easy is it to repack without risking damage? Also, in the event that valves, etc might need replacing, how accessible are the parts except from an authorized service center (that may well refuse to sell to an end user). When my LR was last tested the protocol required the raft to be inflated fully and tested for pressure loss after 48 hours, the logic being that you may well require your raft to stay inflated for days not hours.
Most inflate tests require that it holds air for 6 hours to 24 depending on the brand & model. Ours has a manual inflation pump so as long as it holds over a reasonable time, you can maintain it in the emergency. My experience is that no service places will sell you jack for you to repack. I have connections through my office at our Chinese affiliates. I looked up the SOLAS rated parts available there and had our guys to me. My AVON 8-person offshore had salt-water activated batteries on the dome lights. Batteries were toast and even new had only 6 hour life with no off switch. I replaced with string-pull lithium dome and strobe combo with seperate on/off override switches. Price in China was 12.00 US dollars.

_XIAMEN LONAKO INDUSTRY & TRADE CO., LTD



I have also replaced many other seriously obsolete hunks of junk with superior modern stuff. I also know what lithium and other batteries to keep in my ditch kit to service the raft items in emergency. All items are now in vacuum sealed food pouches.

Getting it back in the box will require careful documentation and duplication of the folding in the correct order. (PHOTOS!!!) The cylinder and arming cord need to be in correct orientation. Use a shop vac to get the air out. Use talc to make the surface slipery.

As I stated in py previous post # 17-12-2013 23:09 above, you will have the most difficulty servicing the inflation tank and valve. On the AVON, my tank was 80% empty. The valve to tank threads were leaking about one bubble per ten minutes. It was bad from the day of manufacture. The inflation head is an aluminum assembly with a diaphragm set to release by perforation from a manual firing pin. The pin is operated by the pull cord. Not much likely to fail here BUT it you pull it to test, you will NEVER get a replacement.

As much as I would like to blame the re-packers, it is the lawyers that have this buggered up. The accounting I got from a former packer is that the annual cost of the required liability insurance & training divided by the number of annual customers ammounts to about 80% of the cost. (in the US). They are not allowed to sell you personal re-pack stuff in order to guarantee you use their service. The liferaft makers don't care since the high re-pack cost drives us to buy new. I have heard of re-pack fees as low as 600 in 3rd world. I was quoted 2800 for my AVON not including materials or shipping. I would buy new for that but I would not be satisfied with the hardware. You will find it difficult to know what is actually in the canister with any detail. They sell it to you as a 'black box'.

There is extensive past discussion you can find if you search this forum for 'liferaft repack'. I have a long series of photos showing my inflate & test as well as equipment.
__________________

__________________
Nicholson58 is offline   Reply With Quote
Reply

Tags
paracelle

Thread Tools
Display Modes Rate This Thread
Rate This Thread:

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Trackbacks are Off
Pingbacks are Off
Refbacks are Off




Copyright 2002- Social Knowledge, LLC All Rights Reserved.

All times are GMT -7. The time now is 05:49.


Google+
Powered by vBulletin® Version 3.8.8 Beta 1
Copyright ©2000 - 2017, vBulletin Solutions, Inc.
Social Knowledge Networks
Powered by vBulletin® Version 3.8.8 Beta 1
Copyright ©2000 - 2017, vBulletin Solutions, Inc.

ShowCase vBulletin Plugins by Drive Thru Online, Inc.