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Old 05-06-2015, 13:27   #151
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Re: Importance of Life-raft when coastal cruising?

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Design is going to play a role in where/how to store your inflatable. Down below on my little 35'? With 6 people on board? Not a chance.

On my davits would be a bad idea. My foredeck works pretty well. I have a self furling Genoa, so no need to hank on sails. There is no doubt it's seriously in the way if I have work to do on my foredeck though.

I have bulwarks to help keep the season the outside. My bow is actually higher than on the Beneteau first 46 sitting at dock beside me, it is a very dry and seakindly foredeck. My canoe stern means my stern isn't being lifted by seas, which means my bow isn't driven into the seas ahead of me, the boat sails fairly flat (longitudinally).
If I need to launch it, I just throw it over. To recover, I use a spare halyard and one of the self tailing winches my mast.

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Certainly fewer options on a smaller boat. I'm always rather surprised how compact mine gets when deflated & folded back into its bag. It's 10' with an air floor. Still 70 lbs. or so, but compact enough to lash it securely when deflated. Dinghies are undoubtedly one of the more difficult compromises to have to figure out.
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Old 05-06-2015, 14:04   #152
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pirate Re: Importance of Life-raft when coastal cruising?

I favour slat floored dinghies.. semi inflated and strapped to the foredeck.. they don't flip.. more of a fold.. easier to get into as well
And yes.. done the 10metre seas and 70kt winds watching green water sweep over the deck hatches.. never lost or destroyed a dinghy yet
. apart from a towed one.. not enough foredeck on a H22..
But then I have never had to abandon either
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Old 05-06-2015, 16:54   #153
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Re: Importance of Life-raft when coastal cruising?

One thing that is missing from the current comments about life rafts is the understanding that the operator may be relying on something that is “supposed to work.” With that in mind, I have become somewhat of a skeptic since I have been involved with too many situations, be it engines, other mechanical, electronic and/or electrical equipment that didn’t work as they were designed to do “right out of the box”. Trusting to survival based on believing and/or hoping a life raft will inflate “as advertised” after it has alternately been baked in the sun and/or frozen for long periods of time doesn’t give me too much peace of mind.


Considering an RIB as new technology, I have tested and found the craft to be very stable in “heavy weather.” Furthermore, when scuba diving, I can sit on the edge of the RIB with tank and weights and not be concerned about the side I am sitting on being pushed under water or the dink flipping.


Accordingly, with a well provisioned ditch bag and possibly a popup tent- like structure, I feel if I had to leave my vessel, the RIB would be a much better choice than a life raft. Moreover, after careful reflection, even if I had unlimited funds, and enough space aboard to easily include a life raft, I would make that purchase a very low priority, i.e., if it were a consideration at all. And while I see boats with handy life raft packages hanging on stern rails, I have seen enough damaged lifeline stanchions to know I do not want to give the seas a broad area to destroy, and then effortlessly wash away the attachments.


My RIB sits strapped on top of my aft cabin (center cockpit boat) in a cradle, and can be launched/ pushed over the stern in all kinds of weather in less than a minute, and that has also been tested. However, if the mizzen mast falls on it, it might take a bit longer to put the RIB in the water.
Finally, if you are looking for worst case scenarios where everything and anything can go wrong, I suggest reading the sixth edition of Adlard Coles “Heavy Weather Sailing.”


One other thing. I just Googled “Life Raft Failures” and came up with some rather pertinent info right here on the Forum.


Liferaft Failures


Here’s hoping you never need to abandon ship, and if you do, “all the best” regardless of your alternate emergency craft.
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Old 05-06-2015, 17:04   #154
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Re: Importance of Life-raft when coastal cruising?

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Originally Posted by SVJennie View Post
One thing that is missing from the current comments about life rafts is the understanding that the operator may be relying on something that is “supposed to work.” With that in mind, I have become somewhat of a skeptic since I have been involved with too many situations, be it engines, other mechanical, electronic and/or electrical equipment that didn’t work as they were designed to do “right out of the box”. Trusting to survival based on believing and/or hoping a life raft will inflate “as advertised” after it has alternately been baked in the sun and/or frozen for long periods of time doesn’t give me too much peace of mind.


Considering an RIB as new technology, I have tested and found the craft to be very stable in “heavy weather.” Furthermore, when scuba diving, I can sit on the edge of the RIB with tank and weights and not be concerned about the side I am sitting on being pushed under water or the dink flipping.


Accordingly, with a well provisioned ditch bag and possibly a popup tent- like structure, I feel if I had to leave my vessel, the RIB would be a much better choice than a life raft. Moreover, after careful reflection, even if I had unlimited funds, and enough space aboard to easily include a life raft, I would make that purchase a very low priority, i.e., if it were a consideration at all. And while I see boats with handy life raft packages hanging on stern rails, I have seen enough damaged lifeline stanchions to know I do not want to give the seas a broad area to destroy, and then effortlessly wash away the attachments.


My RIB sits strapped on top of my aft cabin (center cockpit boat) in a cradle, and can be launched/ pushed over the stern in all kinds of weather in less than a minute, and that has also been tested. However, if the mizzen mast falls on it, it might take a bit longer to put the RIB in the water.
Finally, if you are looking for worst case scenarios where everything and anything can go wrong, I suggest reading the sixth edition of Adlard Coles “Heavy Weather Sailing.”


One other thing. I just Googled “Life Raft Failures” and came up with some rather pertinent info right here on the Forum.


Liferaft Failures


Here’s hoping you never need to abandon ship, and if you do, “all the best” regardless of your alternate emergency craft.
Actually, if you read the thread it's been raised multiple times and multiple times its been answered that 'life rafts' should only be relied upon if they are maintained within their dates. If they are 'maintained' as they are meant to be the chances of failure are exceptionally remote.


"Accordingly, with a well provisioned ditch bag and possibly a popup tent- like structure, I feel if I had to leave my vessel, the RIB would be a much better choice than a life raft".

Whilst everyone is entitled to their opinion, this statement betrays your lack of knowledge around real life experiences. A rib is not even comparable in really bad weather. Maybe fine for river and costal in good weather, but not even close to being safe in the type of weather that would lead one to abandon a much larger yacht built for the seas.
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Old 05-06-2015, 17:35   #155
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Re: Importance of Life-raft when coastal cruising?

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Actually, if you read the thread it's been raised multiple times and multiple times its been answered that 'life rafts' should only be relied upon if they are maintained within their dates. If they are 'maintained' as they are meant to be the chances of failure are exceptionally remote.

I sincerely hope that is the case for those that rely on packaged life rafts.


"Accordingly, with a well provisioned ditch bag and possibly a popup tent- like structure, I feel if I had to leave my vessel, the RIB would be a much better choice than a life raft".

Whilst everyone is entitled to their opinion, this statement betrays your lack of knowledge around real life experiences. A rib is not even comparable in really bad weather. Maybe fine for river and costal in good weather, but not even close to being safe in the type of weather that would lead one to abandon a much larger yacht built for the seas.
I chose not to include the "real life experience" concerning my offshore adventure in an RIB where I was trying not to surf down fairly large waves. I was hoping that it was sufficient to say that I tested the RIB in heavy weather. However, I didn't test the RIB when I entered Australian waters via the Torres Straits and had the experience of falling off a wave while aboard Jennie. Since there wasn't a real need to test the RIB at that time, I let it go for another offshore experience when other much larger yachts stayed in port.
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Old 10-06-2015, 00:22   #156
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Re: Importance of Life-raft when coastal cruising?

Budgets are reality. If the boat is in great condition and you already have an EPIRB/PLBs, survival suits, good harnesses, tethers, jacklines, ditch bags with portable vhf radios, lights clipped to PFDs, dinghy on deck, nice crew overboard gear, lots of trsining for emergencies, etc., and still have a few thousand dollars that's burning a hole in your pocket...
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Old 10-06-2015, 10:15   #157
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Re: Importance of Life-raft when coastal cruising?

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Originally Posted by SVJennie View Post
I chose not to include the "real life experience" concerning my offshore adventure in an RIB where I was trying not to surf down fairly large waves. I was hoping that it was sufficient to say that I tested the RIB in heavy weather. However, I didn't test the RIB when I entered Australian waters via the Torres Straits and had the experience of falling off a wave while aboard Jennie. Since there wasn't a real need to test the RIB at that time, I let it go for another offshore experience when other much larger yachts stayed in port.
One issue with RIB's, or any other dink, for abandoning ship is the ease at which they will flip over in high winds with help from rough seas. Once flipped, I suspect RIBs (but not flat dinks), are more stable than "right side up" but then not as useable for saving yourself. RIB's under power going in to winds and seas can be more stable but I personally would not want to have to rely upon it and you couldn't do that for longer then your gas held out (provided you even had your engine on which would be very doubtful). Having said that, I would like to have my RIB available if I didn't have a liferaft. When we had both, I had knives ready to cut the dink loose if we needed to get off the ship.

I have never seen anything discussed but some empty buckets (canvas or plastic or whatever) might be tied to all sides of a dink and put under water in rough conditions to ballast the boat to help keep it upright. The expensive liferafts have ballast pockets built in to them for that very purpose. You would have to have them already tied and stowed to be ready.

Was your "offshore experience" under power? What was the situation? From what you said it doesn't sound like it was an abandon ship circumstance.

Just some rambling.....
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Old 10-06-2015, 15:29   #158
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Re: Importance of Life-raft when coastal cruising?

Lots of talk about rafts, not so much about ditch bags, some mention of questioning the reliability of rafts, some mention of training.

Are there any hard numbers for frequency of different kinds of life raft failure... failure to inflate, partial inflation, problems with people deploying rafts incorrectly, difficulties of boarding, separation of canopies or tubes, effectiveness of sea anchors etc., irresponsible servicing companies, age-related wear, inability of crew to deploy a raft if stored inaccessibly?
How bad or inadequate is the gear that typically comes with a raft?
How would you supplement it with items in your ditch bag?
For coastal use in mild or tropical climates, might a survival (gumby) suit with PLB and strobe light prove adequate? Might it also be useful in conjunction with a raft to address some of a raft's shortcomings?
How more likely are there to be problems with a raft if none of the crew have any training in using them?
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Old 11-06-2015, 00:11   #159
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Re: Importance of Life-raft when coastal cruising?

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Originally Posted by rgscpat View Post
Lots of talk about rafts, not so much about ditch bags, some mention of questioning the reliability of rafts, some mention of training.

Are there any hard numbers for frequency of different kinds of life raft failure... failure to inflate, partial inflation, problems with people deploying rafts incorrectly, difficulties of boarding, separation of canopies or tubes, effectiveness of sea anchors etc., irresponsible servicing companies, age-related wear, inability of crew to deploy a raft if stored inaccessibly?
How bad or inadequate is the gear that typically comes with a raft?
How would you supplement it with items in your ditch bag?
For coastal use in mild or tropical climates, might a survival (gumby) suit with PLB and strobe light prove adequate? Might it also be useful in conjunction with a raft to address some of a raft's shortcomings?
How more likely are there to be problems with a raft if none of the crew have any training in using them?
Just for the fun of it, I tried googling "failure to inflate....." Surprisingly, I couldn't find any definitive data. But I used to work for the Dansih Sailing Association and at that time spoke with a number of liferaft suppliers. Their opion was unanimous. Failures could almost always be attributed to:

1- failure to service theraft on the proscribed intervals. Many buy araft and don't service them (same is true for PLB - when was the last time you changed the CO2 cartridge on yours?).

2- Incorrect storage - A lot of rafts are buried somewhere down below .

If we assume the boater is responsible, then his raft is serviced and easily accessible if needed (say hanging onthe railing/targa bar).

You should never rely on whatever the manufacturer has put inside the raft - make your own and have it packed in the raft.

Gumby suit? How long can you stay alive in one? How long does it take for you to dig this out and get into it? When you are exhausted?

When you send you raft for servicing you should be present when they inflate it - this will give you a good idea of what happens and the size etc.

This also give some training - Here in Denmakr there used to be a company that gave training courses on rafts, including inflating one and crawling into it in a wave pool. It was an expensive course - but worth it. Unfortunately they don't offer it any more due to lack of customers
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Old 13-06-2015, 05:00   #160
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Re: Importance of Life-raft when coastal cruising?

Liferaft manufacturers say that failure to inflate is fault of customers. Go figure. Lol.
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Old 06-01-2016, 12:30   #161
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Re: Importance of Life-raft when coastal cruising?

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Following this reasoning, one would stay in bed... on land. If being absolutely safe is a priority, perhaps sailing should not be an activity in which to participate. Remember when kids rode bicycles without helmets? Just saying....
I know this is an older thread, but I want to put my two cents in. (Of course)..
If the water that you are sailing in is 70 degrees or lower, you should always consider carrying a life raft or a means to remove yourself from the water. Being absolutely safe IS a priority and should be any time you place yourself in a situation where you can perish. (Aprox. 350+ boaters drown in coastal waters each year in the U.S.).
A couple of years ago, we had three NFL football players perish (hypothermia) just 30 miles off of the warmest Florida waters in the U.S. They had no signals or life raft. They did manage to grab three life jackets by swimming under their overturned boat. Two of these life jackets were later found empty due to the shedding process that happens frequently in the later stages of hypothermia. The sole survivor on that boat was Nick Schuyler and he wrote a book called "Not Without Hope". The book details the ordeal that they encountered and describes the actions of the three young men as they descended into the four stages of hypothermia. It is a must read for anyone who would consider not placing safety equipment on their vessel. Mr Schuyler has since started a foundation to alert mariners that safety equipment (life rafts, EPIRBs, etc) are a very necessary component ANY time you go off shore.
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Old 06-01-2016, 15:04   #162
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Re: Importance of Life-raft when coastal cruising?

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(Aprox. 350+ boaters drown in coastal waters each year in the U.S.)


Uh, I don't think so. According to the latest Coast Guard compilation of boating statistics, approximately 92% of the boating fatalities in 2014 were in inland waters, and 8% were on the Great Lakes, Oceans, and Gulf of Mexico. There were slightly over 600 fatalities in 2014, so that would be about 50 ocean/GL fatalities from all causes of death.

Drowning is the cause of death in about 70% of all fatalities, so there would be about 35 drowning deaths in the oceans, Great Lakes, and Gulf.

Every life is important, but you have to get your facts straight.

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Old 06-01-2016, 15:18   #163
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Re: Importance of Life-raft when coastal cruising?

83,7% of all statistics are made up.
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Old 06-01-2016, 15:20   #164
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Re: Importance of Life-raft when coastal cruising?

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83,7% of all statistics are made up.

I heard it was 79.65%
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Old 06-01-2016, 15:26   #165
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Re: Importance of Life-raft when coastal cruising?

Post #103 is genius.
I'm putting a kite in my ditch bag.....which will be thrown in the life raft :-)
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