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Old 29-05-2015, 11:14   #46
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Re: Does A Liferaft Still Make Sense? (or Cents?)

[QUOTE=Pete7;1835573]I remain astonished how much Americans pay for liferafts. Try this for an example:

https://www.jimmygreen.co.uk/item/68...shore-liferaft


Liferafts, PFDs and tethers fall into that category. The legalese tag attached to a US sold PFD points towards the problem, namely tort law with regard to perceived negligence.

Typically everything you want/need for sailing is about 30-50% less in the USA than pretty much anywhere else in the first world, due to lower sales taxes and economies of scale in the most part, but the safety items are about 2x UK/European prices.

It is strange that in the UK the sea rescue service is (on the water) a public funded charity and in the USA it falls to the pseudo police force/littoral navy USCG. I for one would rely upon a dingy and/or liferaft as the USCG with regard to sailing reminds me of a Ronald Reagan saying -The nine most terrifying words in the English language are: 'I'm from the government and I'm here to help.'

Specific to the OP, regardless of basic statistics and mean/mode/median arguments the salient point may be that when that shiny red and white helicopter arrives with computerized accuracy over a precise point where a signal emanated, assuming you are still floating, where will you be?
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Old 29-05-2015, 11:30   #47
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Re: Does A Liferaft Still Make Sense? (or Cents?)

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Originally Posted by robertsapp View Post
I read an article recently in which a USCG rescue pilot stated that the average time worldwide from activating an EPIRB until a helicopter is hovering overhead is 270 minutes. We're currently outfitting our boat for cruising the Caribbean, possibly beyond, and our budget isn't unlimited, so we have to carefully consider the value of gear we wish to purchase. A liferaft is probably one of the most expensive pieces of gear you can buy, even before you consider the lifecycle costs of continual recertification. Meanwhile the possibility of it seeing use is extremely low. Now we firmly believe that the most valuable thing we have on board is ourselves, but I'm reluctant to tie up five or six grand in a piece of gear that should never see use. Since we only plan to cruise in tropical or semi-tropical waters and hypothermia isn't really a concern, I think if we ever did need to abandon the boat, we could probably handle four and a half hours in the water. So it seems to me that for about a fifth to a quarter of the cost of a liferaft, we could invest in two really good offshore life jackets, a set of personal locator beacons, and a pair of rescue lasers. With the evolution of EPIRBs and AIS based personal locators and the current state of the international SAR system, does a liferaft make economic sense anymore?
As others have pointed out, you are asking yourself how risk adverse you are. I have always found my responses increase in difficulty when my decisions may affect others...

Therefore, I'm going to respond to a variation of your question: are there any good, more reasonably priced liferafts [LR] out there?

Last year we had our Winslow 6 person offshore repacked by a firm that does mostly commercial boat and airline work. We spent 2 hours with our own raft on the warehouse floor going through every aspect of its use. [Highly recommended!]

I asked the owner of the company [who represents several LR manufacturers] what brand we should consider replacing the Winslow with should it fail inspection [it passed... as expected...] Without hesitation, he replied he thought the best value [in the US] for recreational LR today is Viking. [A company he does not sell or service, and with a long history of making commercial LR products...]

We had a chance to see some Viking rafts at the Seattle Boat Show in January this year and I have to agree: the Viking LRs appear to be very well built and the price-point is about half of comparable LRs from other manufacturers.

If they have a downside, it is that the flotation tubes are black rubber- and smell [strongly] like it. I imagine being in a floating tent with strong rubber odor would be the least of my worries should my raft need to be occupied, but I can also imagine that strong rubber odor might also exacerbate mal de mer for anyone so inclined in the moment...

None-the-less, Viking is on our short list when the time comes for a new raft.

FWIW
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Old 29-05-2015, 12:10   #48
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Re: Does A Liferaft Still Make Sense? (or Cents?)

Some additions to what was already said
- I understand that it is a question of high cost vs. rare but very important use
- it is easier to find (e.g. from a ship) a life raft than a person floating in the sea
- sea temperature is not the same everywhere during the sailing season

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Old 29-05-2015, 12:38   #49
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Re: Does A Liferaft Still Make Sense? (or Cents?)

I intend to equip my next boat with a "Portland pudgy". I is a uscg approved life boat and dinghy. It can be sailed, fully covered against the elements and motored. It is equipped with a compass, lights, battery, and solar generator. also comes with oars and I think you can purchase it with survival gear. IT is unsinkable. made in Portland maine google it and check it out
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Old 29-05-2015, 12:44   #50
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Re: Does A Liferaft Still Make Sense? (or Cents?)

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Originally Posted by avoisine View Post
I intend to equip my next boat with a "Portland pudgy". I is a uscg approved life boat and dinghy. It can be sailed, fully covered against the elements and motored. It is equipped with a compass, lights, battery, and solar generator. also comes with oars and I think you can purchase it with survival gear. IT is unsinkable. made in Portland maine google it and check it out
Al
The only thing I can't get over and am trying to figure out if I could live with it, is that it only takes a 2hp motor. That just doesn't seem sufficient to me. I'm hoping when the time comes i can come up with a solution because it seems like such a good product.
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Old 29-05-2015, 13:02   #51
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Re: Does A Liferaft Still Make Sense? (or Cents?)

There is a basic flaw in questions regarding safety asking if its necessary.
More realistic question: is the passage or cruise necessary or make sense without safety.
I ranged far and wide offshore on long passages single handed for years with the optimism of the young without a life raft. At some point and after reading of many sea mishaps and talking to those with first hand experience of abandoning ship I smartened up, particularly when my wife started to cruise with me.
Then I purchased a raft, survival suits and off shore life jackets in addition to a good dinghy.
Surely safety equipment is a fundamental of the vessel, same as the vessel itself. Can't cruise without the boat and you can't cruise without safety~Period.
If you cannot afford to rig for safety you cannot afford to cruise. Pick a sport you can afford.
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Old 29-05-2015, 13:52   #52
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Re: Does A Liferaft Still Make Sense? (or Cents?)

Quote:
Originally Posted by PappysSailing View Post
Here is a cheaper, less protective/comprehensive approach, but hassle-free alternative.

Jim Buoy

I carry one of the smaller bright orange ' life floats' on the fore deck during all offshore passages. Lightweight, bullet proof, easy to deploy, no maintenance or recertification. I suspect several crew members could lay on top to get out of water if/when severe wind and waves abate. I can't imagine using a dinghy in heavy seas (don't think they are meant to handle that) and all I hear about life rafts is how miserable life is aboard... puke everywhere.
Of course, the sharks are happy to hear about my plan ,, but, but...
Cheers, Pappy
What follows is written in a truly friendly voice, with respect for our differences, and with the sole intent to continue a friendly discussion.

I am not writing this to prove you wrong. I am simply offering a different view of the same topic we are discussing. You can have a different view (and you do).
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Those "life floats" are like the "life rafts" used in WW2. Old design. Yes, it is something that floats when a boat goes down. But, it offers little more than being something a sailor will cling to in order to keep his head above water if he hangs on to it (while in the water) or as long as he can hang on.

In my view, they are the bare minimum (even though USCG approved as a floatation device) and a very poor substitute for a good modern design "offshore" or SOLAS liferaft intended for use on a blue water (open ocean) boat.

For one thing, the "ring" or "open centered" style rafts will not keep the people out of the water, so the risk of hypothermia is greater.

Secondly, the people who cling to those things will get no rest and will be exposed to the elements and weather much more than they would if protected by an enclosed life raft with a canopy. The sun, spray, and chilling wind will affect them.

If I was invited to go on a long blue water passage on a yacht that had only that open "life float," I would decline and skip that trip.
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Old 29-05-2015, 14:44   #53
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Re: Does A Liferaft Still Make Sense? (or Cents?)

Everyone will make their own choices of what they want and can afford and will depend upon to save them when needed. IF they even feel at risk or a need for something at all. Some people don't feel much risk at all, and depending upon where they sail, that may be appropriate.

I don't think every sailboat needs or must have a liferaft. But, I would have a SOLAS Offshore model if I were going offshore.

I know I consider some things worth spending money on, if they are likely to make the difference between living or dying when or if they are needed. It is the consequences of a "poor choice" or a "no choice = nothing available when needed" that enter into my mind.

Of course there are always cheaper alternatives and DIY attempts, and other items that can be used as a "life boat" too. For example the "multiple use" or "can be used as a life boat" dinghy's come to mind.

My View?
It is your choice and depends on how you value your life and the lives of your family or crew or passengers.
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The Poor Man's PFD.

Notice the Important Features of the Poor Man's PFD:

1. Safety Orange = High Visibility
2. Low Maintenance Plastic, durable, scuff resistant, puncture resistant
3. Watertight
4. "Unsinkable"
5. Very Buoyant
6. Can be used for other purposes.
7. Low cost.

My Point?
Despite those admirable, useful, and even desirable features, some of which are shared with a "expensive" PFD, I don't think it is a good or better alternative to a much more expensive PFD that is designed to work when I need it, designed to be comfortable when worn, and is not something that requires me to be conscious to use when needed to save my life in the water.

Sure, if my boat sank and nothing else was available and floating on the surface, I would swim over to this bucket PFD and hold on as long as I could. But, I think there are much better alternatives (Type 1 Offshore PFD).
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What about a Poor Man's Life Raft?

Of course the Poor Man's PFD can also be tied to more similar units to make a "life float" type life raft. Imagine 8 of them tied together, with you and your family clinging to them or trying to stay on top of them (hard to do in a storm). It certainly would be inexpensive. A bunch of them could be stored on a sailboat all nesting in each other to reduce space needed to store them. They can be used for other purposes on the boat. Very handy things, sorta like some of the popular dinghies. Sounds like a useful, practical, low cost solution to the need to have a life raft on a boat.

But, I don't think they are the best or good alternative to a purposefully designed life raft (SOLAS offshore type).

That is my view, I am sure you will see it differently.
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Old 29-05-2015, 14:47   #54
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Re: Does A Liferaft Still Make Sense? (or Cents?)

If there is anyone interested

Offshore Commander 4 in canister (US$ 1550)

New in 11/2014, next service for 11/2017

The Offshore Commander provides the same durable quality as the Coastal Commander, now available in a version for offshore boating. The Offshore Commander is the latest in affordable, offshore liferafts by Revere that won't "break the bank" but still give you the peace of mind you will be safe at sea!

The Offshore Commander is vacuum packed to add greater protection against the environment and minimize servicing costs. If serviced according to manufacturer's warranty program, the Offshore Commander comes with a 12-year limited warranty.
•do NOT contact me with unsolicited services or offers
Shipping not included. In case of pick up: Titusville, Fl
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Old 29-05-2015, 14:47   #55
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Re: Does A Liferaft Still Make Sense? (or Cents?)

A liferaft makes economic sense only if you measure your life and its meaning to others in terms of money.
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Old 29-05-2015, 15:13   #56
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Re: Does A Liferaft Still Make Sense? (or Cents?)

For those of you who are interested in thinking outside the box a bit, the Tinker is actually one of those very interesting compromises: they don't sail very well, but you sure as heck can sail them; they don't carry as much as a large rib, but for just two people--we had friends who used theirs, intended as a liferaft if needed, and had to replace the inflation canisters after about 3 yrs, but this was a long time ago. There is a lot of interest of them in the UK, and it just might suit.

One possible problem with them is that I don't think they have a double floor, and the double floor is some hypothermia protection.

FWIW, there is an article by Aussie Bray in Australian Yachting a few years back where he and some others inflated and tried entering a number of different brands of life rafts.

Ann
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Old 29-05-2015, 17:14   #57
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Re: Does A Liferaft Still Make Sense? (or Cents?)

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Originally Posted by valhalla360 View Post
...

One idea if you don't have the space is working out a quick inflation system for a roll up dingy. You can make due without the floor boards as long as it inflates and holds air. Might be a buisness idea.
Tinkers did that...don't think they are still in business.
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Old 29-05-2015, 17:22   #58
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Re: Does A Liferaft Still Make Sense? (or Cents?)

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Originally Posted by Ann T. Cate View Post
For those of you who are interested in thinking outside the box a bit, the Tinker is actually one of those very interesting compromises: ...
I used to have a Tinker, we named it FUGLY...aesthetics was not it's strong suit, but it was an interesting little dink. I had the full sail rig and life raft gear. Very narrow, would be quite cramped ever for just 2 (1 for that matter).
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Old 29-05-2015, 17:40   #59
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Re: Does A Liferaft Still Make Sense? (or Cents?)

I'm a Navy SAR pilot. Getting ready to set sail In November on an extended cruise. A life raft will be aboard my boat no doubt. Cheap insurance for what it provides! Get one, have a plan, train and be ready to use it.


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Old 29-05-2015, 18:47   #60
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Re: Does A Liferaft Still Make Sense? (or Cents?)

Quote:
Originally Posted by Ann T. Cate View Post
For those of you who are interested in thinking outside the box a bit, the Tinker is actually one of those very interesting compromises: they don't sail very well, but you sure as heck can sail them; they don't carry as much as a large rib, but for just two people--we had friends who used theirs, intended as a liferaft if needed, and had to replace the inflation canisters after about 3 yrs, but this was a long time ago. There is a lot of interest of them in the UK, and it just might suit.

One possible problem with them is that I don't think they have a double floor, and the double floor is some hypothermia protection.

FWIW, there is an article by Aussie Bray in Australian Yachting a few years back where he and some others inflated and tried entering a number of different brands of life rafts.

Ann
Best inflatable I ever sailed was a Tinker.
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