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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 15-10-2011, 11:42   #31
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Re: Liferaft: Yes or No ?

Water temperature or sharks: keeping out of the water is absolutely fundamental. People I know who were sunk have been glad of whatever kept them afloat, especially after over two hours adrift. (I know families who spent over a fortnight mid-Atlantic.)

Deploying your dinghy may work well, but it isn't going to be as easy to spot as a high-vis liferaft canopy. Have you made one for your inflatable dinghy? Does your grabbag kit include a signalling mirro, handflares, light sticks etc? Being seen is the first pre-requisite of rescue, even close inshore.

OTOH, the key lesson from many long term survivors is that being able to control your direction is fundamental. So we have a very bouyant hardchine sailing dinghy (a swifgig) that lives on the davits and we use every day (though in an emergency we might not get the sail on board). On long passages she is upside down on deck with kit inside and can be in the water in under seven minutes. We also have a v high quality viking inflatable liferaft on a brace on the stern rail which can be cut loose in seconds. We've never used it and just having it recertified this winter.

I'm quite sure this is overkill for the cruising we are actually doing (Med, rather than oceans), but when we started our plans included big crossings, and both of them (plus the inflatable kayak) make us enjoy ourselves more.
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Old 15-10-2011, 11:45   #32
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Amazing how complacent people are. When the boat is going down I'd rather have one more roll of the dice with a life raft and EPIRB attached. It's not always just your life either.
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Old 15-10-2011, 12:02   #33
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Re: Liferaft: Yes or No ?

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Originally Posted by DJBrookster View Post
Amazing how complacent people are. When the boat is going down I'd rather have one more roll of the dice with a life raft and EPIRB attached. It's not always just your life either.
You go ahead and roll the dice. I'm busy stacking things in my favor.

Key words-counter productive. Far too many inflatable liferafts don't do their job.
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Old 15-10-2011, 12:09   #34
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Re: Liferaft: Yes or No ?

With EPIRB, a life raft makes perfect sense for those who have the unfortunate problem of abandoning ship. If your boat is sinking and you know you can't save it you set the EPIB off step up into your life raft and wait for a short rescue. Has that always worked? No, but I bet it is 99% true that you are rescued within a couple of days. The days before EPIB could mean long rescue time in a life raft, no one knew you were in danger. Does anyone know of a crew not rescued in a life raft in a short period of time that that set off their workable EPIB?
Also cruisers should try and find a way to keep their life off the forward cabin deck in one of the stainless frames. Soft pack and a dedicated cockpit locker is a much safer place to keep it and to deploy it. A lot of the newer blue water boats have a dedicated locker in the cockpit for a reason. If your a single hander and don't care what happens to your life no life raft or EPIRB is fine except that sooner or later someone is going to report you missing and a extended search over a great area could cause more loss of life and a lot of wasted search money that the coast guard and other rescue crews of the world can't afford anymore. As skippers we have to be responsible to our family and our crew even if they signed on knowing you have no life raft or EPIRB. If real trouble occurs they all would have wished you had a life raft and an EPIRB onboard. Watching your family or crew disappear one by one by drowning or shark would suck for the short time you are still treading water. Be responsible and do the right thing if your going off shore.
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Old 15-10-2011, 12:18   #35
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Re: Liferaft: Yes or No ?

Quote:
Originally Posted by stevewrye View Post
With EPIRB, a life raft makes perfect sense for those who have the unfortunate problem of abandoning ship. If your boat is sinking and you know you can't save it you set the EPIB off step up into your life raft and wait for a short rescue. Has that always worked? No, but I bet it is 99% true that you are rescued within a couple of days. The days before EPIB could mean long rescue time in a life raft, no one knew you were in danger. Does anyone know of a crew not rescued in a life raft in a short period of time that that set off their workable EPIB?
Also cruisers should try and find a way to keep their life off the forward cabin deck in one of the stainless frames. Soft pack and a dedicated cockpit locker is a much safer place to keep it and to deploy it. A lot of the newer blue water boats have a dedicated locker in the cockpit for a reason. If your a single hander and don't care what happens to your life no life raft or EPIRB is fine except that sooner or later someone is going to report you missing and a extended search over a great area could cause more loss of life and a lot of wasted search money that the coast guard and other rescue crews of the world can't afford anymore. As skippers we have to be responsible to our family and our crew even if they signed on knowing you have no life raft or EPIRB. If real trouble occurs they all would have wished you had a life raft and an EPIRB onboard. Watching your family or crew disappear one by one by drowning or shark would suck for the short time you are still treading water. Be responsible and do the right thing if your going off shore.
+1

Chances are you will never need it.

Still, it's one of those things which, on the odd chance you do need it, you would really not want to be without. The boat is insured, in case she sinks (God forbid), but the lives in her are not replaceable.

We have two, and I had one of them serviced this year.

I don't have an EPIRB yet, but so far our cruising grounds keep us in range of DSC distress signals to coast guard or shipping. And I have a DSC handheld VHF for the liferaft.

The liferaft and grab bag (with a number of expensive things in it) are reassuring to have around, even if they are very unlikely to be used. I think they're worth it for that alone, personally.
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Old 15-10-2011, 14:19   #36
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Re: Liferaft: Yes or No ?

I feel my dinghy will suffice for the type of cruising we do.
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Old 15-10-2011, 15:01   #37
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Re: liferaft - yes/no?

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Originally Posted by Minggat View Post
Why not?

Because a false sense of security is counter productive.

Sorry folks. But a certification is no guaranty that you will have a life saver.

This has gone around so many times on this forum. It seems that not only do people count on them prematurely and are never seen again when the boat is found safe and sound, but liferafts are also know to be notoriously unreliable.

I carry 2 dinks, which I can get use out of daily so I know they work, and (hopefully) I have a set up for emergency protection etc that I can grab.

So the why not for me, after all the research I have done on the questionable reliability, coupled with the space & cost, it was a big NO THANKS.

Of course I am not invulnerable. But I'd rather not think that I am covered because I have a certified liferaft when in fact, I'd still be gambling.
Mingatt,
I've read quite a few reports of people who survived in a liferaft after their boat sank. I can't recall any tales of people surviving offshore in a dinghy. I'd be interested in hearing about any cases of people who were forced to abandon their boats for a dinghy in gale conditions offshore and lived to tell the story.
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Old 15-10-2011, 17:33   #38
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Ziggy

Mingatt,
I've read quite a few reports of people who survived in a liferaft after their boat sank. I can't recall any tales of people surviving offshore in a dinghy. I'd be interested in hearing about any cases of people who were forced to abandon their boats for a dinghy in gale conditions offshore and lived to tell the story.
Survive the savage sea written in the 70s. Family survived on raft and dinghy dinghy was credited with a large part of their success
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Old 15-10-2011, 18:44   #39
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Yes or no? Yes. Why f&$# around?
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Old 15-10-2011, 20:36   #40
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Totally agree with Minggat. We have no liferaft but do carry 2 rigid dinghies, one with a sail kit, and a couple of kayaks. A fire would be the only reason to jump. The stats show the logic. A liferaft onboard will increase your chances of dying. No question. I am not going to argue the point, look at the numbers yourself. We are prepared to stake our lives on those numbers and our ability. You can do what you like.
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Old 15-10-2011, 20:37   #41
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Re: Liferaft: Yes or No ?

If alone, or truly co-captained, then do as you please. Otherwise, I think the captain's responsibility to the safety of his/her crew is a pretty strong argument for a liferaft, especially on ocean passages. An EPIRB accessory is a no-brainer; it is better to get rescued quickly than try to survive for 72 days and write a book about it.

A dinghy is a good addition, not an alternative. I read one test of liferafts that included a Tinker folding-bottom inflatable with canopy; they had to cut short the test of the Tinker as it repeatedly rolled over in the waves, badly bruising the occupants. Modern "Icelandic" life rafts have large ballast tubes just to prevent this (and no rigid floor or seats to injure the occupants).

Failure to inflate is too common for such an important safety device. This is usually the result of a sloppy repack, where the painter is tangled or caught on something, and not a question of liferaft quality. So be ready to pry open the canister if necessary (a good argument for a valise).

Personally, I cruised coastwise from the Pacific Northwest to Trinidad without a liferaft, but had one shipped in from the UK before sailing north to Bermuda and across the pond. I bought a Lifeguard, which was (relatively) inexpensive but good quality of easily repairable butyl rubber. It's 15 years old, and for the first 12 years I repacked it annually to keep the warranty in force. I know a boat that bought a new raft and when they had it first serviced at 5 years it wouldn't hold air - the seams had failed. That particular inflatable boat company had a major problem with seam failure at that time, but without the required servicing they were able to deny the warranty. BTW the raft was a total loss. The bottom line is that a liferaft must be serviced regularly, by a competent operation, or you are just kidding yourself.

I also have two survival (immersion, Bailey) suits, which are a necessity for survival in cold water. The local used marine store has quite a few of them for sale if anyone's interested...

We must all come to our own conclusions; I hope they are well thought out, and are something we will still be comfortable with if bad things do happen. As for me, I have never had to use any of my emergency gear (touch wood) but I am glad I have it - mostly for the safety of the crew I occasionally take on board.
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Old 15-10-2011, 20:48   #42
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Re: Liferaft: Yes or No ?

Jimbo485: Statistics are not fate. I have no doubt that you are correct STATISTICALLY that the survival odds go down with a liferaft: too many people abandon ship without realizing that the boat has a better chance of survival than a liferaft. If the boat is truly sinking, with no chance to save her, then a liferaft is a life-saving option. The difference is in the actions taken by the crew, not the equipment. I think I am wise enough to wait until I have to "step up" into the liferaft - how about you?
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Old 15-10-2011, 21:16   #43
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Carina, I think I am. But don't we all think so when we are typing away? When the **** hits the fan at sea, we also KNOW what most sailors do. What makes you different to them? Wouldn't you prefer to guarantee your behaviour? Think of it like this - your father is an alcoholic and wants no alcohol in the house to tempt him. You say he should just control himself and you fill his fridge with beer?

We are all human, we react to emergencies in quite similar ways. Better to think up ways to prevent poor decision making before the situation leads you to it.....?
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Old 15-10-2011, 22:12   #44
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Re: Liferaft: Yes or No ?

I am fortunate that my brother carried a life raft and an EPIRB on his last trip across the Atlantic. If not, I would not be seeing him graduate college this spring.
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Old 15-10-2011, 22:23   #45
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Re: Liferaft: Yes or No ?

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Originally Posted by Nobleshift View Post
Yes or no? Yes. Why f&$# around?
Indeed. Why (x&$#) around? NO.

The problem is that the two very words LIFE RAFT (or one word) right there tells you that your life is safe one you have it aboard.

However, it can be a deady choice because it can give a false sense of security. Hence the conversation about alternative LIFE BOATS.

Go here.
Portland Pudgy?

Certainly not a life RAFT, but one alternative life BOAT that won't fail to inflate. And you can practice actually deploying it on a daily basis.

I don't own one, and don't intend to buy one. But for this thread, the choice of others should not be perceived as x&$#ing around.
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