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Old 15-12-2010, 13:26   #46
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If people approached their liferaft purchase decisions with the same zeal and fanaticism with which they approached their boat purchase, there would be a lot less of these horror stories. It seems, to me, that the primary motivator in liferaft purchase is price. If you went out and bought the cheapest yacht you could possibly get, what would you get? It's no different with liferafts... there are "Rolls Royce" liferafts and there are "Skoda" liferafts (no offense intended to Skoda owners). FWIW, the liferafts that the company that employs me are, as far as I know, probably the most expensive in the world. We make no apologies for that.
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Old 15-12-2010, 13:31   #47
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Done the commercial survival at sea courses... 3 times now... the crew can have the liferaft... and welcome...
I'll take the dinghy
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Old 15-12-2010, 14:20   #48
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Well, if you buy a brand new parachute you don't just jump out and use it, you personally inspect it and repack it BEFORE the first use.

Be a shame if we have to treat life rafts the same way.
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Old 15-12-2010, 14:49   #49
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I really like the pudgy, but because of the price, it will have to be something simpler. Building a canopy might be entertaining, though.
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Old 05-01-2011, 09:48   #50
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I'd love to but I own a Winslow

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Originally Posted by cherylfoster View Post
For the rest of you reading this who carry life rafts: I recommend that you participate in the reconditioning of your life raft and get another pack if you refused to show raft when he is up and bloated. Mine, California, invited me to come look at the raft and see what it looks like before I left for a cruise several years, what is really in it, where it is stored, how to use things. I almost reluctantly went assure you that I learned a lot.
Do you know where you can do this with a Winslow raft? Winslow tells me that only 2 places in the country can service my raft (at 2x the price of other raft recerts!!!). Does the job really have to be done by teh manufacturer? Does anyone know of a repacking center who will let me view the job? TIA
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Old 05-01-2011, 10:54   #51
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I have a Winslow liferaft and it is time for recertification. Well actually passed time. I am not required to have a life raft. It is one of the vaccum packed units that only needs to be done every three years. I was figuring on going five years. It has been stored in a pelican case and the valise looks as clean as a new one. I was thinking that maybe it is better to repack with only minimal supplies in it and then have everything else in a ditch bag.
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Old 03-12-2011, 07:56   #52
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Re: Liferaft Repacking

I do not plan on doing any sailing further out then 10 - 20 miles in the Gulf of Mexico. I have been reading about the stories and problems about rafts, repacks so I am wondering why not use a good inflatable dinghy?

I plan to have a very well equipped ditch bag as well as emergency gps locator equipment. I am new to open water cruising so I would really appreciate suggestions. I understand about rough seas but where I am located along the Florida West Coast, I could not imagine spending more than 1 or 2 days before rescue.
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Old 03-12-2011, 09:30   #53
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Re: Liferaft Repacking

If you are going to be out for just a few days and vigilantly check the weather, and stay in port when the weather is forecasted as bad, you might get along with just an inflated dinghy tied securely on your deck. But having a dinghy on deck when the weather is turning on you can add a significant set of complications if you find yourself needing to do deck work because of changes of weather or seas, towing one in such conditions can become a problem of its own.
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Old 03-12-2011, 09:49   #54
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Re: Liferaft Repacking

Boeing, if you can inflate and launch your dinghy in one minute or less, and you can ensure it will not capsize in hurricane conditions, or that you will never be caught out in them, then your dinghy is all you need.

The questionable advantage to a life raft, which has a maximum life of maybe tne years and will cost 1/4 of the purchase price every 2-3 years to repack, is that it can be launched quickly and that it will not capsize in rough seas. Or if it capsizes, it should come upright again.

If you are nearshore and can stay weather-wise, you may be perfectly safe without a life raft. Or if you hit a cargo cube or other floater and need to launch in two minutes or less...maybe still not.

Getting out of bed in the morning entails some choice of risks, too.<G>
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Old 03-12-2011, 13:59   #55
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Re: Liferaft Repacking

I recall picking up two guys in a panga back in the 80's in the Sea of Cortez who had been out fishing and lost their motor. They had been out there for about 2 1/2 days and while thirsty their major complaint was sun burn even though they were sharing a cap. We had a bit of an english problem but from what I gathered, besides water, the main thing they wish they had was a canopy of some sort. Not sure where the previous posters are located but there is a group of 'Bomberos' (firefighters) that refurbish and repack liferafts just north of Ensenada on Highway 1, south of the last toll station on the shore side of the highway. They are well equipped with flares, etc and will let you set your old ones off on the beach so you know how to handle them and encourage their clients to be present at the inflation and repack of their raft. We included some cat food in our repack to keep the cat alive until it was time to eat him!
They do commercial repacks as well so must be licensed. Capt Phil
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Old 03-12-2011, 14:11   #56
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Re: Liferaft Repacking

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Originally Posted by hellosailor View Post
Boeing, if you can inflate and launch your dinghy in one minute or less, and you can ensure it will not capsize in hurricane conditions, or that you will never be caught out in them, then your dinghy is all you need.

The questionable advantage to a life raft, which has a maximum life of maybe tne years and will cost 1/4 of the purchase price every 2-3 years to repack, is that it can be launched quickly and that it will not capsize in rough seas. Or if it capsizes, it should come upright again.

If you are nearshore and can stay weather-wise, you may be perfectly safe without a life raft. Or if you hit a cargo cube or other floater and need to launch in two minutes or less...maybe still not.

Getting out of bed in the morning entails some choice of risks, too.<G>

The points about the dinghy and time to inflate are well taken. I plan on being close to shore and never taking a chance with weather whatsoever. I know I know......famous last words. My 290 has room on the bow to lash an inflatable set up if I am going off shore. Just not sure if that is a good option but I know it is ready.

What really bothers me about the rafts are some stories of failures when they inflate, about improper repacking. I'm not trying to argue I am just very new to this.

So if you were looking at a raft as far as quality and not getting beat up for a repack price wise...which brands do you recommend?
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