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Old 14-04-2015, 01:45   #31
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Re: Importance of Life-raft when coastal cruising?

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Originally Posted by carstenb View Post
Nicks

I'm also in Denmark. You cannot rely on others being nearby. Even in summer hypothermia will start to set in after only a few minutes.

A good dinghy that can be launched quickly would be ok for cruising coastal denmark, but soooner or later you'll want to go to Rugen or Bornholm or further.

I have a raft and have always had one - sure they cost money, but what is the cost of your life? Or the lives of girlfriends/guests you will have on board.
Hi Carsten,

Thank you for the advice.

I will definitely look into spending money on a raft as soon as possible. For my own safety but even more for the guest that I take on board. Would not want to be in a situation where I would be responsible for not having a liferaft on board when others are involved too.

In terms of which raft to get, would you recommend anything that would be 'enough' for these waters? I see rafts going from 800-1500 eur, which is nearly a quarter of the boatprice. As I will sail it home from sweden with a couple of guys, so what would a cheapish solution be for that trip, if it wouldnt be a designated 'liferaft'?
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Old 14-04-2015, 01:58   #32
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Re: Importance of Life-raft when coastal cruising?

A liferaft is not safety equipment.

It is emergency equipment, as such, it may be the only thing standing between you and your god...

As an aside, why are US liferaft costs extortionate compared to European ones? My 4 man liferaft cost £800. It gets serviced every three years for £250 or so. After 12 years it has come to the end of its economic life as it will require annual servicing. Pretty cheap in the great scheme of things.
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Old 14-04-2015, 08:28   #33
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Re: Importance of Life-raft when coastal cruising?

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A liferaft is not safety equipment.

It is emergency equipment, as such, it may be the only thing standing between you and your god...

As an aside, why are US liferaft costs extortionate compared to European ones? My 4 man liferaft cost £800. It gets serviced every three years for £250 or so. After 12 years it has come to the end of its economic life as it will require annual servicing. Pretty cheap in the great scheme of things.

It is a different world over here and the rafts I have seen mentioned above are little more than just that, rafts, kids plastic play pools hyped up, not the ocean ready stuff with double/insulated floors and canopies we were used to having in Europe. I certainly wouldn't prefer one of these open raft wannabee things to a ready to go dinghy like our RIB is, in davits, with it's motor fitted and usually fuel for 50 miles or more on board.

Proper liferaft versus simple toy type

I suspect the problem here is partly the 'on a clear day you can sue for miles' mentality in the event of any injury and the ambulance chaser attorneys are just waiting to be called in. Getting USCG approvals too would be a significant cost factor I guess. Servicing costs I suppose the same factors apply. Where we are, very few boats have liferafts visible on deck but most if not all have dinghies stowed on deck, in davits or towed behind. Sure the waters are warm so hyperthermia is less likely but then if push came to shove, I would still prefer a bit of solid grp or aluminium ( RIB floor) between me and any patroling hungry or angry sharks.
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Old 14-04-2015, 08:34   #34
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Re: Importance of Life-raft when coastal cruising?

I've noticed that all charter boats in the TUI fleet have life rafts. Forty years ago I was a charter captain in the USVI, and none of the boats had a raft. I assume that having the raft became a requirement of the insurance companies, but this seems wasteful. I've never sailed in the BVI without half a dozen boats nearby - I would be rescued before I could get the raft in the water. I presently have a forty footer chartering out of Tortola that was purchased through SunSail. The raft is in a canister located in a cockpit locker, and I haven't even experimented with extracting it. Of course our dinghy is always ready if needed.
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Old 14-04-2015, 08:37   #35
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Re: Importance of Life-raft when coastal cruising?

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Again - how far can you swim? how fast does hypothermia set in? (much, much faster than you think)
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....
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Old 14-04-2015, 08:44   #36
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Re: Importance of Life-raft when coastal cruising?

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Originally Posted by Nicks View Post
Hi Carsten,

Thank you for the advice.

I will definitely look into spending money on a raft as soon as possible. For my own safety but even more for the guest that I take on board. Would not want to be in a situation where I would be responsible for not having a liferaft on board when others are involved too.

In terms of which raft to get, would you recommend anything that would be 'enough' for these waters? I see rafts going from 800-1500 eur, which is nearly a quarter of the boatprice. As I will sail it home from sweden with a couple of guys, so what would a cheapish solution be for that trip, if it wouldnt be a designated 'liferaft'?
Nick

For sailing the Baltic, almost anything is good enough, unless you get into winter sailing. Boats usually take a while to sink, which is why an inflated dinghy also is enough.

But buy a cheap raft and buy a cheap handheld VHF. If you're staying in Danish waters, the handheld can reach someone. Further afield in the Baltic, you might want to invest in a proper VHF with DSC and a Distress button (your boat may have one already).

Lots of danes (and swedes) sail without rafts. I don't because if the boat goes down, I'd like to survive it.

Also because we do sail in the off-season where it is very cold. You won't last more than 2-3 minutes in the water
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Old 14-04-2015, 08:47   #37
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Re: Importance of Life-raft when coastal cruising?

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Originally Posted by TanzerTom View Post
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....
all human activity has some risk. Sailing has very little. A raft is cheap compared to the alternative. But it is a personal decision to make. Beth and Evans do not carry a raft - their decision and they can argue their point. I carry one and I can argue my point.

Carrying your line to its logical end, we also shouldn't have lifevests or lifelines or anything else. But we do, some more than others
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Old 14-04-2015, 09:14   #38
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Re: Importance of Life-raft when coastal cruising?

I would consider an epirb just as important as a life raft. If you can't afford the liferaft, epirbs are much cheaper.

Also, if you intend to have no life raft, maybe double check all those through hulls, and drain hoses. Mount a bung at every through hull. Extra fire extinguishers. You can certainly mitigate the risk by increasing the safety of your vessel.
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Old 14-04-2015, 09:17   #39
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Re: Importance of Life-raft when coastal cruising?

It all depends on the emergency, and what you plan to do in the case of the emergency, and what you plan for your crew, and the number of people you have on your boat. My recommendation is to expect the worst case that can happen and prepare for it. In the case of my boat, (it sleeps 6, though usually there is only 3 people onboard) I always tow my dinghy ( holds 3) and have 3 survival suits. For off shore I would rent a raft..... If I am close to shore I would consider beaching the boat.... Lots to think about here, and it depends all on you, and what you decide is best for you and the people with you....and the waters you sail....
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Old 14-04-2015, 09:32   #40
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Re: Importance of Life-raft when coastal cruising?

Depends on where you are located.
I spent many years off the coast of California USA, the water in that area is COLD. Survival in the water can be as short as 3 hours.
We picked up crew members from a downed helicopter off the coast of Baja south of Ensenada (sp) after less than 2 hours in the water, they were in good shape except for hypothermia.
Also protection from opportunistic sharks, legs dangling from a life jacket are tasty.
With all the world wide protection of sharks, I expect they are back in large numbers
A life boat can SAVE YOUR LIFE.
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Old 14-04-2015, 09:36   #41
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Re: Importance of Life-raft when coastal cruising?

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I'm feeling quite the opposite of the majority here. I would never get on a liferaft on remote waters at high latitudes. Instead of dying in a few minutes it would take several hours or even days at worst. No way to stay warm on a wet plastic.
If there's time to call for help there's time to deploy the dinghy which is much better option, you can allways row to stay warm. Anyway you need a dinghy anyway so better get a good seaworthy one..
I have a good friend that ferries aircraft over the North Atlantic, he will not carry a survival suit for exactly the same reason. He figures a survival suit is only good for a few hours
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Old 14-04-2015, 09:37   #42
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Re: Importance of Life-raft when coastal cruising?

I wouldn't use one for coastal cruising. But it's only a question you can answer. How quickly can you deploy a dingy? Davits would be great.
If a boat sinks in cold water a half mile or 20 miles from land it doesn't matter much.... you're probably dead. Bering sea fisherman can survive quite a while in a survival suit.
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Old 14-04-2015, 09:40   #43
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Re: Importance of Life-raft when coastal cruising?

Considering the question was for coastal waters..how about a Portland Pudgy:

Dinghy | Lifeboat | Yacht Tender | Portland Pudgy
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Old 14-04-2015, 09:42   #44
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Re: Importance of Life-raft when coastal cruising?

Based on my own offshore experiences, I will go with all the others who have suggested an RIB with an "well equipped emergency ditch bag," especially so after reading of the difficulties in Steven Callahanís Adrift and seeing the dangers associated with flexible flooring. In addition, I have heard of at least two cases from people I know where the life rafts weren't viable even after meeting periodic inspections. However, there is more than one case where the boat was located still floating while the crew that had left on a life raft were never found (as an example, try reading Fastnet Force 10). Accordingly, for the worst case scenario, I'd suggest tying your main halyard to the painter of the dingy and be ready to cut loose if and when the masthead disappears under the water. As a note, after reading Callahan's book, I am not sure if his boat actually sunk. Would appreciate clarification in this matter from anyone.
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Old 14-04-2015, 09:46   #45
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Re: Importance of Life-raft when coastal cruising?

We have both liferaft & dinghy. We do mostly coastal/archipelago sailing. If I end up in trouble in the coastal waters, I would probably use the dinghy and not the liferaft since with the dinghy I can go where I need to go (instead of potentially floating to nearby dangerous rocks), and because the dinghy is anyway easily available, and I'm familiar with it. Usually we tow the dinghy (alternatively it is on the front deck).
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