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Old 13-04-2015, 08:59   #1
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Importance of Life-raft when coastal cruising?

Hi,

I am wondering how 'important' a life-raft is to have on-board when you will mostly be coastal cruising in the summer. Maximum 5-10km away from land.

I know a life-raft is an essential piece of safety equipment, but how essential is it when sailing so close to land? I see many small boats without a raft that sail around during the summer.
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Old 13-04-2015, 09:08   #2
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Re: Importance of Life-raft when coastal cruising?

How far can you swim?
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Old 13-04-2015, 09:13   #3
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Re: Importance of Life-raft when coastal cruising?

Have your dinghy ready to go, quickly-- towed, on davits, or upright on the foredeck and light enough for anyone to throw overboard. Fire is the main worry, since it is so much faster than sinking.
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Old 13-04-2015, 09:15   #4
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Re: Importance of Life-raft when coastal cruising?

You only need it if your boat is sinking or on fire....Or if you ship your mother-in-law as crew.


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Old 13-04-2015, 09:25   #5
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Re: Importance of Life-raft when coastal cruising?

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Originally Posted by Tayana42 View Post
You only need it if your boat is sinking or on fire....Or if you ship your mother-in-law as crew.


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Last point seems more valid for not carrying a liferaft.

As far as my own use goes: I would never be more than a a few miles off shore, and the waters typically busy enough that there are always a couple of boats insight, or very close by. I wont be sailing in heavy weather and I'm never more than two hours from safe locations. So would it 'really' be neccessary in that sense?
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Old 13-04-2015, 09:40   #6
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Re: Importance of Life-raft when coastal cruising?

A previous poll on this Forum was 2:1 that a liferaft was necessary for off shore cruising. While that was a super-majority I don't see it as a consensus.

For coastal sailing I would be surprised if a poll here gave liferafts a a majority opinion as necessary equipment.

So the question becomes how do you feel about it?



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Old 13-04-2015, 09:41   #7
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Re: Importance of Life-raft when coastal cruising?

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Originally Posted by Nicks View Post
Last point seems more valid for not carrying a liferaft.

As far as my own use goes: I would never be more than a a few miles off shore, and the waters typically busy enough that there are always a couple of boats insight, or very close by. I wont be sailing in heavy weather and I'm never more than two hours from safe locations. So would it 'really' be neccessary in that sense?
Again - how far can you swim? how fast does hypothermia set in? (much, much faster than you think)
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Old 13-04-2015, 09:44   #8
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Re: Importance of Life-raft when coastal cruising?

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Originally Posted by Adelie View Post
A previous poll on this Forum was 2:1 that a liferaft was necessary for off shore cruising. While that was a super-majority I don't see it as a consensus.

For coastal sailing I would be surprised if a poll here gave liferafts a a majority opinion as necessary equipment.

So the question becomes how do you feel about it?



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Personally I feel that it would give me a lot of peace of mind. However, it's a big stab in the budget I had planned for this year. I guess im just looking for some comfort in the fact of knowing that a lot of others are also sailing without one. :/

It would however be on top of the list of more expensive items to buy in the future.
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Old 13-04-2015, 09:44   #9
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Re: Importance of Life-raft when coastal cruising?

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Originally Posted by carstenb View Post
Again - how far can you swim? how fast does hypothermia set in? (much, much faster than you think)

You respond as if a liferaft is the only conceivable option if the mother-boat sinks.


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Old 13-04-2015, 09:46   #10
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Re: Importance of Life-raft when coastal cruising?

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Originally Posted by carstenb View Post
Again - how far can you swim? how fast does hypothermia set in? (much, much faster than you think)
I believe the more sensible question is: Would I ever need to actually swim? Keeping what I said before in mind.
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Old 13-04-2015, 09:53   #11
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Re: Importance of Life-raft when coastal cruising?

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Have your dinghy ready to go, quickly-- towed, on davits, or upright on the foredeck and light enough for anyone to throw overboard. Fire is the main worry, since it is so much faster than sinking.
That was our choice RIB 310 with Mercury 9.9 on stern davits. Always had a liferaft in European waters because they were affordable and obligatory for when racing offshore. Looked at the prices now we live in the USA and decided to forego paying more than 4 times the EU prices even before I saw what the subsequent servicing costs were going to be.

Fire or a collision is more likely than encountering a rerun of the perfect storm for us these days and I really don't fancy abandoning to a kids paddling pool lookalike much either our RIB allows us to seek safety somewhere quite rapidly and we keep multiple lifejackets, signal flares and our ready packed ditch bag close by it ready to go if needs be.
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Old 13-04-2015, 09:56   #12
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Re: Importance of Life-raft when coastal cruising?

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Originally Posted by Nicks View Post
...I would never be more than a a few miles off shore, and the waters typically busy enough that
there are always a couple of boats insight, or very close by. I wont be sailing in heavy weather and I'm never more than two hours from safe locations...
Sorry, but I have to ask: How much sailing experience have you had?
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Old 13-04-2015, 10:05   #13
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Re: Importance of Life-raft when coastal cruising?

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Originally Posted by carstenb View Post
Again - how far can you swim? how fast does hypothermia set in? (much, much faster than you think)
If that was the deciding factor I couldn't even go out to my mooring.

But I float well.

I don't have a life raft, but have a dinghy that is always ready to launch.
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Old 13-04-2015, 10:08   #14
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Re: Importance of Life-raft when coastal cruising?

I would say a means of evacuation is important, I think for Coastal Cruising a decent RIB can stand in for a life raft. I have a RIB but no life raft, although, I have my eyes open for a used life raft at the right price.

I'm curious why you are looking at an Albin Vega if you don't intend to go more than a few miles off shore?

I sail on Lake Ontario which is a total bath tub and I wouldn't be able to get anywhere if I stayed that close to shore, afternoon sails are further off shore than that, and if I want to get anywhere worth spending the night I have to go at least 13 miles off shore.

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Old 13-04-2015, 11:22   #15
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Re: Importance of Life-raft when coastal cruising?

The boat we bought came with a Revere 6 man Ocean life raft packed and mounted with a cover on top of the cabin. It was purchased new in 2004 by a previous owner for $4K who sailed the boat to Ireland and back. I looked into having it repacked and inspected, even though it's never been deployed it's way overdue. I saw numbers of $800 to $1200 to repack but nothing firm. We would have to ship the thing internationally to get it inspected, too. Since we have an RIB, and also plan to be coastal cruising in warm water we decided to take the life raft off the boat. It's sitting in my garage, but danged if I know what to do with it.
The thought of us drifting around enclosed with no way to steer and no propulsion just didn't convince us that a dedicated life raft was needed on board. For our situation.

IF we were crossing big pieces of cold water, out of sight of land for days or weeks, subject to being caught in things we could not avoid, I would probably feel differently about it.
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