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View Poll Results: do you plan to have a liferaft on your boat when heading out to cruise?
yes 180 64.98%
no 97 35.02%
Voters: 277. You may not vote on this poll

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Old 01-04-2012, 05:27   #376
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Re: Liferaft: Yes or No

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Originally Posted by foolishsailor View Post
Like many things in sailing we all cherish and value our own hard fought opinions.

I wonder if we had ten survivors of boat loss on the forum share their opinions, ones wi and without life raft, stories where the life raft inflated and ones where it didn't...I wonder if that would sway anyone's opinions. We have had stats shown to us tho..

Still makes for fun reading.
Well I've been fortunate to never have my boats sink...but as a USCG rescue helo pilot...I have PLENTY of real world experience with boaters and boaters treading water.

I boils down to this....if you abandon ship in a storm....most likely a liferaft will be the best/only survival tool unless the waters are dangerously hypothermic. Then only a survival suit might save you.... and with a liferaft your survival goes higher.

But 99 percent of the rescues I did or assisted with (just in my 3 years as operations officer in Cape May, NJ there were overe 10,000 SAR cases that I supervised/reviewed)...the rescues were done in light enough conditions that life jackets, life floats or dingys were used satisfactorily. In some of those cases...the boats that DID have liferats didn't use them for a variety of reasons.

Probably it works like this because MOST boaters near coastal DON'T venture forth or get caught in extreme weather.

I said it before and one more time for the cheap seats. In a storm...even depending on a life raft can be foolish...but MOST of the time a dingy (not just any dingy but one that doesn't tip or swamp easily) might be all you need to get out of the water long enough to get rescued. It's better than nothing...but certainly not perfect.

If potentially running longer crossings than you can't out smart the weather or rescue could be more than 24 hours away..then certainly a good raft is a smart move.
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Old 01-04-2012, 06:37   #377
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Re: Liferaft: Yes or No

Of note in the dissuasion is the similarity to old "blue water boat" discussions. Everyone keeps saying extreme weather and storms as the reason for the need of the life raft. While I'm sure it would be better to be in a life raft than a dinghy etc under those conditions, it is better to be on the boat! The only time you would get into a life raft is if the boat is sinking. So the events are:

- you got caught in extreme weather
- the boat got holed
- you could not slow/stop the flooding enough to keep up with it
- The boat was truly sinking (not the reason most get into the life raft)
- you were able to launch your life raft safely and not lose it during doing it
- you were able to get into the life raft (remember the extreme conditions so this is probably the most dangerous thing under the conditions)
- you remembered to take your beacon, GPS and sat phone with you into the life raft
- survive long enough for the extreme weather to end so you can be found

If all the above the life raft helps.

If everything else happens but the the extreme weather isn't part of the story; well you could get into the dinghy just as well.

So what are the odds? And of course we don't know the odds of the events happening, or the number of times people got into the life raft and still didn't make it.

If we assume ALL the boats that disappear didn't have life rafts and that is why they didn't survive how many are we talking compared to the number of boats out there?

I think the extra risk of not having the life raft is greatly less than the risk of sailing to start with!
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Old 01-04-2012, 07:19   #378
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Re: Liferaft: Yes or No

Quote:
Originally Posted by Don Lucas View Post
Of note in the dissuasion is the similarity to old "blue water boat" discussions. Everyone keeps saying extreme weather and storms as the reason for the need of the life raft. While I'm sure it would be better to be in a life raft than a dinghy etc under those conditions, it is better to be on the boat! The only time you would get into a life raft is if the boat is sinking. So the events are:

- you got caught in extreme weather
- the boat got holed
- you could not slow/stop the flooding enough to keep up with it
- The boat was truly sinking (not the reason most get into the life raft)
- you were able to launch your life raft safely and not lose it during doing it
- you were able to get into the life raft (remember the extreme conditions so this is probably the most dangerous thing under the conditions)
- you remembered to take your beacon, GPS and sat phone with you into the life raft
- survive long enough for the extreme weather to end so you can be found

If all the above the life raft helps.

If everything else happens but the the extreme weather isn't part of the story; well you could get into the dinghy just as well.

So what are the odds? And of course we don't know the odds of the events happening, or the number of times people got into the life raft and still didn't make it.

If we assume ALL the boats that disappear didn't have life rafts and that is why they didn't survive how many are we talking compared to the number of boats out there?

I think the extra risk of not having the life raft is greatly less than the risk of sailing to start with!
We kinda do know the odds. I've been boating for nearly 50 years. Went to sea with the USCG from pole to pole for nearly 20. Been a commercial captain for 12 years. Granted that most of my time was coastal or inter-island...so I'll address that first. NEVER in all those years have I ever been caught in weather that would guarantee flipping a well found dingy...maybe a couple of situations, for some of the time... but rerighting and bailing out would not be out of the question.

Yes out at sea...unable to escape treacherous storms a dingy would not have worked...so be it...but that's just a FRACTION of the time I have spent on the water.

So maybe I can't quote the odds...but either as a participant boater...or as a professional overseer of boating safety/rescues...I can confidently say (and remember I went to sea long before decent weather forecasting/ability to get it) that if you are a diligent coastal cruiser and have a sufficiently modified dingy to overcome up to moderate conditions...AND an EPIRB/PLB.....and coastal boat where rescue is usually only a few hours away....then having a liferaft is a smart idea...but you are betting long odds against yourself.
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Old 01-04-2012, 20:20   #379
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Re: Liferaft: Yes or No

As far as when use a life raft/boat I have always been told you are supposed to step up into a life raft...in other words unless your boat is actually sinking (and not until it does) your boat makes a much better life raft.

Some dinghys are unnerving in anything over 6" chop and are designed to transport back and forth from shore to anchor....what I was talking about was designed to carry 4 grown men and can also be sailed with a considerable degree of safety as it was designed, but I am adding flotation, washboards, combings and water tight compartments (how many times have you got your groceries and/or clean laundry drenched on the way back to the boat) for a ditch bag etc, Gunter sailing rig and domed cover supported by flexible battens. The boat was designed to have a centerboard trunk but I am replacing this with shallow bilge keels running most of the length of the boat to act as lateral
resistance and as hand holds when the dinghy is stowed upside down on my foredeck.

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Old 02-04-2012, 07:05   #380
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Re: Liferaft: Yes or No

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(how many times have you got your groceries and/or clean laundry drenched on the way back to the boat) [/IMG]
Never, we use plastic screw lid drums.
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Old 23-06-2012, 02:17   #381
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Re: Liferaft: Yes or No

Difficult to know how to vote in any poll with such a simplistic question.
I voted yes, meaning I won't go offshore without a liferaft OR BETTER ALTERNATIVE.
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Old 23-06-2012, 04:55   #382
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Re: Liferaft: Yes or No

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Originally Posted by Andrew Troup View Post
Difficult to know how to vote in any poll with such a simplistic question.
I voted yes, meaning I won't go offshore without a liferaft OR BETTER ALTERNATIVE.
My better alternative is not needing to sink.

But, as always, different strokes for different folks .
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Old 23-06-2012, 05:31   #383
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Re: Liferaft: Yes or No

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My better alternative is not needing to sink.
....
I'd be more than happy with the unsinkable option - sounds to me a lot more survival-prone than any liferaft or lifeboat - provided it wouldn't burn !

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Old 23-06-2012, 09:22   #384
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Re: Liferaft: Yes or No

I voted no for these reasons:
1. The failure rate of inflatable 'liferafts' as quoted by Evans and many others.
2. The inability to test the thing without having to re-arm it, thus needing another test to be sure you got it right and so on ....

Like Wolfenzee, we are planning a lifeBOAT, also useful as dinghy/tender, with full foam flotation, watertight storage for all the stuff that would be in a 'ditch-bag', solar panels, to keep the batteries going, sailing rig and so on.

The inflatable idea leaves me wondering how we got into the frame of mind that a thing has to be puffed up with air in order to float. I guess I have seen too many flat tires, popped balloons, and yes sadly crumpled up trash bag looking things that were supposed to save lives.

And where did the oft-repeated phrase, ' a dinghy can never be considered to be a satisfactory substitute for a liferaft,' come from? Sounds like something from a marketing executive to me. I'd say it all depends on the design of the dinghy -- and a lot of you on this forum seem to have that well thought out.

I think we'll only have one of those 'wading pools with a tent on it' if we enter a race or rally that requires it. Then grudgingly.
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Old 23-06-2012, 10:01   #385
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Re: Liferaft: Yes or No

Of course I would be up for a life raft going off-shore but I also realize it will only work in certain conditions. If I was holed and could not stave off the flow and the sea conditions were benign, it would save my life. If, on the other hand, sea conditions were such that I had to abandon my vessel, the raft is of little good. I have no deception of what they are good for.
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Old 23-06-2012, 16:30   #386
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Re: Liferaft: Yes or No

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Originally Posted by kefroeschner View Post
The inflatable idea leaves me wondering how we got into the frame of mind that a thing has to be puffed up with air in order to float.
The road to inflatables started in the mid-1800's when pressure first began to carry enough lifeboats to carry all passengers and crew. This led to the Berthon boats that were canvas covered and folded for more compact storage.
A Berthon History and Timeline from 1272 to the Present Day.

Following the Titanic disaster in 1912 legal requirements for full capacity started coming into being. This led to even more storage problems as sufficient rigid lifeboats occupied much of the deck space that passengers previously used for strolling and relaxing. Thus was created the push for ever more compact life-vessels. The results included Carley rafts, balsa rafts and inflatable rafts.

With WW-II and the jet age that followed the focus of development went into inflatables leading to our current situation.


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Originally Posted by kefroeschner View Post
And where did the oft-repeated phrase, ' a dinghy can never be considered to be a satisfactory substitute for a liferaft,' come from? Sounds like something from a marketing executive to me.
Probably the same exec that started the trope that roller furling is required on offshore boats so sailors could stay 'in the cockpit where the belong' rather than go on the foredeck to hand headsails.
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Old 23-06-2012, 17:13   #387
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Re: Liferaft: Yes or No

Sooo! I have a raft but never want to use it. Right now it's stowed in a poor spot. The boat would sink long before I could get the raft out. But by golly I have one.

Todd
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Old 23-06-2012, 18:19   #388
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Re: Liferaft: Yes or No

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Probably the same exec that started the trope that roller furling is required on offshore boats so sailors could stay 'in the cockpit where the belong' rather than go on the foredeck to hand headsails.
..........or sold ($$$) the concept that when it stops being fun you have the right to press the big red button for da Gubberment to come kiss it better.
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Old 23-06-2012, 21:27   #389
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I saw an aluminium dinghy the other day set up like a Walker Bay with the flotation around the gunwales. But the flotation pipes were made of what looked like aluminium tube. I guess it would certainly take a beating and be far cheaper than a Walker Bay.
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Old 24-06-2012, 00:14   #390
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Re: Liferaft: Yes or No

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..........or sold ($$$) the concept that when it stops being fun you have the right to press the big red button for da Gubberment to come kiss it better.
The right to press it? The way some of the sailors on this forum post, it bids fair to become an obligation.

"Step away from that life, sir, and hand me the keys" (.... and nobody will get hurt)



Well: Harrumph! (said with feeling)


(I just watched the series "Max Headroom - 20 minutes into the Future" which has just come out on DVD. I never saw it at the time - I didn't have a TV.

Written in the early 80s - some episodes pretty missable, but the satire, at its best, was piercing and mordant.
One of the things they foretold which hasn't quite happened yet is that TV sets did not have "off" switches, and it was an offence to unplug them.

That's still 20 min into the future - I think such a law would be a superfluous in any case, because the mass of humanity shows no capacity or inclination or talent for switching off [one sort of screen or another].

Nevertheless, it was sobering to see this, once stark and edgy parody of how the triumvirate of media, corporations and government could gain critical malignant mass in a technologically mediated age, now looking rather more like a cinema vérité.)
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