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Old 07-02-2008, 22:06   #1
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Life Raft Analysis

After reading the rather heated debate about Circumnavigating and offshore survival in Cats it seemed that a lot of us have a very negative opinion about Life rafts. I think we can all agree that transferring to one is a last resort scenario in case of fire and actual sinking. But which one would you choose?

In my research (a few years ago) The Givens Liferaft stood out far above the others in stability and was the default choice of all the offshore commercial fisherman and tugs in the most extreme “Deadliest Catch” kind of conditions. The Coast Guard did extensive tests (I still have the videos) of simulating survival conditions as well as actual at sea tests and survival stories. Givens always came out on top as far as stability without the bodies needed for weight.

I bought them and in subsequent inspections found them to be far superior in design to the more well recognized brand names I saw at the service centres, which were trying to incorporate some of the Givens features without copyright infringement.

Take a look at http://www.marsys.com.au/sandr/testing.htm for some info on the tests or you can Google “Givens liferaft” to read more.

I am interested if anyone has some more up to date knowledge on what is considered the best liferaft for survival offshore as I am out of touch with recent developments

Cheers! Nick
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Old 07-02-2008, 22:15   #2
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We have had a Given's liferaft for fourteen years, and it has always gone through inspection with flying colors.

There was a period of time when the quality of Given's liferafts were substandard when the company had some problems. Jim Givens lost the company,and I have heard that under new management, the rafts are still a quality product.

People who are considering the purchase of a used Given's raft should have them thoroughly inspected before they spend their money.
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Old 08-02-2008, 04:47   #3
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Life Raft Test 2000 Update ~ by Doug Ritter - Equipped to Survive
EQUIPPED TO SURVIVE (tm) - Life Raft Test 2000 Update

Aviation Life Raft Review ~ Equipped to Survive
EQUIPPED TO SURVIVE (tm) - Aviation Life Raft Reviews - Configuration Issues - Freeboard Chart

Life Rafts ~ by Terry Johnson
http://seagrant.uaf.edu/bookstore/bo...life-rafts.pdf

Safety Alerts ~ USGC Office of Boating Safety: Boating Safety Division
Including:
BFA Life Raft Recall: Boating Safety Division Alerts
Viking Liferaft Recall: Boating Safety Division Alerts
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Old 08-02-2008, 14:38   #4
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Don't get me started.....

I think that life-rafts are a sailors curse.

I would like to see some stats on how many liferafts are deployed on a small craft and how many souls have actually been rescued from a liferaft. Another interesting stat would be how many vessels are later found afloat after a liferaft has been deployed.
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Old 08-02-2008, 16:50   #5
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My Switlik offshore 6y person was sent to a company called Offshore Repair and Repack owned and operated by Paul Siege for service.

When I requested it back he claimed he misplaced it and that went on for months and then I took him to court and won, since he probably converted it (sold it to some one). I think he is back under some new name in CT in the biz. Buyer beware.

Fortunately I haven't had the need for one and I think I would rent one for a passage and not own one again after that wonderful experience.
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Old 08-01-2010, 13:22   #6
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I'm looking for someone that sells Given's Life Rafts in Canada.
I'd also be interested in any updates or new information regarding Life Rafts and Evaluations of the Latest Products being offered by different Companies.

Thanks in Advance.

Best Regards,
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Old 08-01-2010, 13:46   #7
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I used to have a 6-person off-shore Switlik (on my previous boat) that failed inspection after about six years. I replaced it with a six person near shore Zodiac racing raft - this one inspected alright for about eight years or so until I sold it.

The current one is an eight person Givens that came with Layla and so far so good after several annual inspections - this raft had been originally purchased by the previous owner back in late 90s.

Fair winds!

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Old 12-01-2010, 18:03   #8
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Need your help.

A couple of questions I'm hoping for help with.

I'm buying a Givens Deluxe Offshore Life Raft (Givens Marine Survival - Safety Equipment & Life Rafts - Deluxe Rafts). I was going to buy the Super Deluxe Offshore (Givens Marine Survival - Safety Equipment & Life Rafts - Deluxe Rafts) due to it having a ramp. I had heard/read that the ramp makes it much easier to get into the raft then the ladder. After discussions with Givens I was convinced that I don't need the ramp and have now ordered it without one (Deluxe Offshore model). I'm am reasonably fit and don't see any issue with using the ladder. Of course exhaustion could change that.
Does anyone think the ramp is absolutely better/necessary?

Also, I had read that a Life raft can be too large and that you shouldn't get one bigger then you need. I think this is a stability thing mostly??
I was going to order a 4 man, but after talking to Givens opted for the 6 man. They say that due to their ballast system the weight of a couple of people will make NO difference at all. I will likely have only 2 people on board when the life raft may be required (off shore/circumnavigation) and NEVER more then 4.
Does anyone think going with a 6 man Lift raft is a mistake?

I do still have a short time to change my order and so please let me know what you think.

Best Regards,
Extemp.
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Old 12-01-2010, 18:21   #9
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Based on reports from some who have participated in USCG/Practical Sailor in-the-water testing of liferafts within the last 5 years, Winslow rafts are supposedly much better than the other rafts tested. I don't know if Givens rafts were included in the test, though.
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Old 12-01-2010, 18:27   #10
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FWIW, Winslow rafts were used by more people in the SSCA survey than any other. I have one too but I guess you never find out how good it actually is unless you use it.
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Old 12-01-2010, 20:30   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Extemporaneous View Post
A couple of questions I'm hoping for help with.

I'm buying a Givens Deluxe Offshore Life Raft (Givens Marine Survival - Safety Equipment & Life Rafts - Deluxe Rafts). I was going to buy the Super Deluxe Offshore (Givens Marine Survival - Safety Equipment & Life Rafts - Deluxe Rafts) due to it having a ramp. I had heard/read that the ramp makes it much easier to get into the raft then the ladder. After discussions with Givens I was convinced that I don't need the ramp and have now ordered it without one (Deluxe Offshore model). I'm am reasonably fit and don't see any issue with using the ladder. Of course exhaustion could change that.
Does anyone think the ramp is absolutely better/necessary?

Also, I had read that a Life raft can be too large and that you shouldn't get one bigger then you need. I think this is a stability thing mostly??
I was going to order a 4 man, but after talking to Givens opted for the 6 man. They say that due to their ballast system the weight of a couple of people will make NO difference at all. I will likely have only 2 people on board when the life raft may be required (off shore/circumnavigation) and NEVER more then 4.
Does anyone think going with a 6 man Lift raft is a mistake?

I do still have a short time to change my order and so please let me know what you think.

Best Regards,
Extemp.
We had a Givens 6 man liferaft on board EXIT ONLY, and felt it was just right for us. If you visit our website, you can see a picture of my wife peeking her head out of our Given's liferaft (scroll down toward the middle of the page). SAILING OFFSHORE IN A PRIVILEGE 39 CATAMARAN AROUND THE WORLD.* CAPTAIN DAVE.

She is inside the liferaft at an inspection station in Brisbane, Australia familiarizing herself with the raft and it's features.

We never had more than four people on board Exit Only, but we are all good size people, and we really fill up a 6 man raft. Furthermore, we have two big go bags, plus jugs of water, and whatever else we can take with us in the event of an emergency.

The Givens has hemispheric water ballast and has survived a 170 mph hurricane according to promotional literature. I can't imagine four of us with all our survival gear getting in a four person raft. We have survival suits on board EXIT ONLY, and if we get into a survival situation, we will probably be wearing our survival suits as well. Inside our raft it will look like four reddish/orange Pillsbury doughboys filling up that small space.

Go for the 6 man Givens.
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Old 12-01-2010, 22:49   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by maxingout View Post
We had a Givens 6 man liferaft on board EXIT ONLY, and felt it was just right for us. If you visit our website, you can see a picture of my wife peeking her head out of our Given's liferaft (scroll down toward the middle of the page). SAILING OFFSHORE IN A PRIVILEGE 39 CATAMARAN AROUND THE WORLD.* CAPTAIN DAVE.

She is inside the liferaft at an inspection station in Brisbane, Australia familiarizing herself with the raft and it's features.

We never had more than four people on board Exit Only, but we are all good size people, and we really fill up a 6 man raft. Furthermore, we have two big go bags, plus jugs of water, and whatever else we can take with us in the event of an emergency.

The Givens has hemispheric water ballast and has survived a 170 mph hurricane according to promotional literature. I can't imagine four of us with all our survival gear getting in a four person raft. We have survival suits on board EXIT ONLY, and if we get into a survival situation, we will probably be wearing our survival suits as well. Inside our raft it will look like four reddish/orange Pillsbury doughboys filling up that small space.

Go for the 6 man Givens.
Okay thanks Dave.
Seams the 6 man is the right choice.

One down, one to go.
Anyone want to ring in on boarding ramp vs boarding ladder.
Part of my thoughts were that with the inflated boarding ramp it leaves itself to get pounded and perhaps?? even torn off eventually in very bad seas. If that happened it would compromise the lower inflated tube. And although in some situations the boarding ramp may be better/easier to board the raft, I can see times where it would be more difficult. For instance there are less hand grabs on the ramp vs the ladder in which to snag hold of the raft. I know, I'm probably just rationalizing now.

What do others think?

Thanks,
Extemp.
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Old 13-01-2010, 01:34   #13
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Originally Posted by Extemporaneous View Post
I'm buying a Givens Deluxe Offshore Life Raft .
There have been a couple people really unhappy with Givens recently. This is second hand information, byt the company may have gotten itself into a cash crunch and seem to have not been deliverying some ordered and paid for rafts.

I would just be a little careful. Perhaps a hand a check to them when they hand you the raft, or use a credit card that you trust will give you your money back if months after the order the raft never appears.
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Old 13-01-2010, 03:51   #14
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Winslow...best features and fantastic customer service...
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Old 13-01-2010, 05:43   #15
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