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View Poll Results: do you plan to have a liferaft on your boat when heading out to cruise?
yes 182 65.23%
no 97 34.77%
Voters: 279. You may not vote on this poll

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Old 10-04-2017, 15:03   #436
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Re: Liferaft: Yes or No

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Originally Posted by Steady Hand View Post
...
In that case, due to the mobility or physical limitation of one and/or limited strength of the second crew, the solution I would choose would be to have a stern mount "on the rail" or hull mounting of a hard case life raft, with a very easy to deploy hard shell case.
...
Good example of the worst possible way to carry a liferaft. The first knockdown or serious wave incident will wipe it out.

Invest in watertight bulkheads and compartments and make sure you can keep the boat afloat no matter what instead of fooling yourself in believing you are going to get rescued out of a liferaft.
If the sea is bad enough to damage the boat, i.e. steep and breaking, your chances in a liferaft are basically zero. Meanwhile, fires happen a lot less when people don't senselessly motor offshore, a relatively recent development in un-seamanship.
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Old 19-04-2017, 17:52   #437
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Re: Liferaft: Yes or No

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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.
Last year we bought a Switlik offshore liferaft and made sure to get the double-walked bottom option. It has a small air chamber and keeps you from sitting directly on cold water. Their top of the line model also has a floor that can drain away a small amount of water to help keep you dry. That raft weighed around 30 pounds more than the one we got and we felt it would have been too heavy for us.
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Old 19-04-2017, 18:02   #438
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pirate Re: Liferaft: Yes or No

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And the alternatives are?

I'm not getting your point. Lash the tether to a rail, throw it overboard, pull it to the boat and jump in. If you end up in the water, most rafts have as good of a boarding ladder as anything else.

So the alternative is to stay in the water?
Guessing you've never tried climbing into one from the water..
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Old 19-04-2017, 18:34   #439
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Re: Liferaft: Yes or No

Most of the liferaft mountings appear to be not well thought through. Most would get torn off or be impossible to reach when needed.

Deploying them in the marina looks difficult enough let alone in the dark, in heavy seas and rain and while the crew is stressed disoriented and likely to make stupid mistakes.

A rugged liferaft is likely to be heavy too. Choosing by minimum weight also seems to be an odd way to prioritize.

If anyone has tried to deploy and get into a liferaft you will quickly realize how difficult it is.

You also need more than a liferaft. What about the ditchbag? It's like carrying a suitcase while walking a tightrope in the dark while drunk.

Those earlier pics by steady hand would all fail any safety assessment. Look to your navy for best practice. They don't hang their liferafts off the side. They also have to prove out their safety systems before they become operational. Training and practice is key.
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Old 19-04-2017, 18:41   #440
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Re: Liferaft: Yes or No

Some people need the false sense of security they provide. Sure, there are the occasional stories of where they saved someones life but they are few and far between. In storm conditions they are worthless and sinking or fires in calm weather, the dinghy is just as good. If it makes the wife feel safer, go for it.
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Old 19-04-2017, 18:49   #441
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Re: Liferaft: Yes or No

I think cruising more than 3-400 miles off shore a life raft is a good idea...kinda like wearing a harness,deploying jacklines,having a ssb and epirb etc.

Coastal cruising who cares...hop in the dingy...grab your gas can, fire up the 9.9 and motor back to La Cruz lol...(or just go drown)
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Old 20-04-2017, 12:31   #442
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Re: Liferaft: Yes or No

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Originally Posted by Prairie Chicken View Post
The alternative is to quit sailing. We continue to do so, but we do so recognizing there are risks associated with one physically handicapped skipper and one small crew member.

The raft weights about as much as I do--I would be hard pressed to get it out of the locker. The captain can't even get to the locker. If I could deploy it, he would be hard pressed to get into it. You don't just 'jump in'. I likely could climb in... in reasonable conditions.

I would very much like to have a raft for emergencies; I just need to be believe it would be useful. i would also like to have a dinghy, but we don't anymore because the captain can't get in and out of it.
There are some lightweight models out there which would be easier to deploy. You can get a Winslow ultra light 4-pax at around 60 pounds. We have a Switlik 6-pax in a canister mounted just behind the mast. It comes in at 72 pounds, worst case scenario it will deploy automatically if the boat sinks. Some people mount their rafts to the railing which is more likely to get damaged by a wave but which is easier to deploy.

The Beneteau 40.7, which lost its keel, had a valise raft stored below. Everyone on board died, in this case it is not known if they even had time to try and reach the life raft.
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Old 08-11-2017, 15:39   #443
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Re: Liferaft: Yes or No

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Originally Posted by leftbrainstuff View Post
Most of the liferaft mountings appear to be not well thought through. Most would get torn off or be impossible to reach when needed.

Deploying them in the marina looks difficult enough let alone in the dark, in heavy seas and rain and while the crew is stressed disoriented and likely to make stupid mistakes.

A rugged liferaft is likely to be heavy too. Choosing by minimum weight also seems to be an odd way to prioritize.

If anyone has tried to deploy and get into a liferaft you will quickly realize how difficult it is.

You also need more than a liferaft. What about the ditchbag? It's like carrying a suitcase while walking a tightrope in the dark while drunk.

Those earlier pics by steady hand would all fail any safety assessment. Look to your navy for best practice. They don't hang their liferafts off the side. They also have to prove out their safety systems before they become operational. Training and practice is key.
Agreed about mounting locations being critical and often not seaworthy.

Our catamaran stores its life raft in a SS cage cutout in the front trampoline, against the inside of the hull, held in place by a set of webbing straps. During a recent passage from Fiji to NZ we lost the life raft some time during the fourth night. We were experiencing 25-30 knots of true wind at 80-90 degrees true wind angle with 5m breaking swells, sailing at 9-12 knots with double-reefed main and 50% solent. As you can imagine, we had a lot of breaking waves over the bows, occasionally with waves washing over the cabin top, and many high pressure wave impacts on the inside front hulls, especially to leeward (we were on port tack, and the life raft was on the starboard side).

At some point one of the stainless steel bails on the stainless steel cage broke at its weld, which released one of the straps that hold the fibreglass tray that the life raft sits on. This tray broke and this was enough to provide slack to all the straps that hold the life raft and the life raft washed away. As it fell out of the life raft cage it broke part of the plastic fairing in front of the escape hatch on that side. The painter broke and I assume that the force was enough to inflate the life raft, now floating empty in the South Pacific 400 miles north of New Zealand. I have called the NZ rescue centre to report the loss of the life raft.

It is apparently a builder option for Outremers whether to store the life raft in a cage on the front trampoline or in a cockpit locker. Unfortunately for us the first owner of our boat decided they wanted the cockpit locker space (there are 8 large lockers back there).

Back to the original question, I'm not going to replace the life raft (which came with the boat). Our cat will float right side up or upside down and makes a better rescue platform than a life raft. In case of fire, we have a dinghy on davits ready to go anytime. So what is the need for a life raft?
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Old 10-11-2017, 05:56   #444
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Re: Liferaft: Yes or No

I choose Yes, but I'm biased. I work in the life raft industry and found this discussion interesting. I'm not going to present any arguments on why you should carry a life raft. I respect everyone's decision on why or why not a raft is a good idea. Some of you seem adamant about not carrying a raft for reasons that don't make sense to me. I don't know the circumstances that built your decision but I trust they are valid.

I encourage everyone, whether you own a raft or not, to visit a servicing station and ask to see a raft serviced and talk with the technicians. There are a lot of regulations rafts have to meet and tests that have to be performed to ensure their reliability. I understand there are service stations that don't meet the industry standards (we shut them down quickly when we discover them) and rafts are expensive. Rafts have evolved in recent years based on lessons learned and consumer demands. I'm proud of the life saving products we sell and service but I get that they aren't for everyone.

For those that choose not to carry a raft, do you have a life jacket, PLB, or something else to go along with your ding?
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