Cruisers Forum
 


Join CruisersForum Today

Reply
 
Thread Tools Rate Thread Display Modes
Old 07-10-2013, 12:14   #1
Registered User

Join Date: Sep 2013
Location: Alert Bay, Vancouver Island
Boat: 35ft classic ketch/yawl.
Posts: 935
Images: 4
Send a message via Skype™ to roland stockham
Angry Lifrafts - adavice and a bit of a moan

My old raft died this season and needs replacing and prices have gone up a bit in the last 20yrs...
BUT; Every time I have had a raft services I have found ALL the safety gear is useless, flashlights have dead batteries and/or broken, canopy light dead, drogues too small and light, first aid kit so small and basic it's useless, rescue knives us and rusty etc etc. When the raft is serviced I then have to pay for all that junk to be replaced with a new set of junk that will probably be useless again in six months. Having duplicates in the raft MIGHT be worth IF they WORKED. Also means that the raft service interval is set for when the flares go out of date not when the raft itself needs checking.
The result is that I pack a grab bag with all the emergency stuff I need. That way I can put good stuff in it and check it every season/before long trips and adjust it for the waters I am sailing in.
When looking at new rafts what I would LIKE is a good basic raft with twin tubes, big stability chambers, good entry points and insulated floor packed in a canister. BUT SOLD BARE WITH NO SAFETY GEAR. That way I am not paying for a load of junk that probably doesn't work, can't be checked and for my own peace of mind will anyway be duplicated in the grab bag.
I know that most rafts are actually made for commercial and charter use so have to comply with minimum reg's suitable for those uses but you would think there are enough of us capable of 'packing are own parachute' to warrent the option.
Anyone found a company doing good 'bare' rafts?
__________________

__________________
roland stockham is online now   Reply With Quote
Old 10-10-2013, 07:23   #2
Registered User

Join Date: Apr 2008
Location: La la Land
Boat: 37' Oyster Heritage
Posts: 410
Re: Lifrafts - adavice and a bit of a moan

What happens if you lose your grab bag? You're buggered without any other stuff packed in the liferaft.

FWIW. My liferaft has a three year service cycle till it is 12 years old, annually thereafter. My last service came in at 300. It seems liferaft servicing is horribly expensive on your side of the pond.
__________________

__________________
sestina is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 10-10-2013, 07:35   #3
Wayfaring Mariner
 
captain58sailin's Avatar

Cruisers Forum Supporter

Join Date: Mar 2009
Location: Homer, AK is my home port
Boat: Skookum 53'
Posts: 4,045
Images: 5
Re: Lifrafts - adavice and a bit of a moan

Last time I had mine repacked was 3 years ago and it was over $500. And if I wanted the "Upgrade" to offshore life raft, it was going to be &750. The only difference in the equipment was a few more flares and extra water.
__________________
" Wisdom; is your reward for surviving your mistakes"
captain58sailin is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 10-10-2013, 14:24   #4
Registered User
 
Viking Sailor's Avatar

Join Date: Nov 2006
Location: San Francisco Bay
Boat: Fantasia 35 - s/v Feeling Good
Posts: 1,074
Re: Lifrafts - adavice and a bit of a moan

Be careful when taking an old raft in for evaluation. I once took a raft in and the shop owner said that it was no good. Two weeks later I when back to pickup a new raft he had ordered for me. When I walked in to his shop he acted strange and kept trying to stay between me and his rental rack. I went along with it for a while until he got distracted by another customer. You can guess what I found for rent -- my old no good raft. Other then not using him again there was really nothing I could do about it either. Later I did find out that liferafts on recreational vessels don't need to have a re-cert. There is a thread on CF that deals with DIY repacking of rafts. Life Raft Self-Service

__________________
Viking Sailor is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 11-10-2013, 06:53   #5
Registered User

Join Date: Apr 2008
Location: La la Land
Boat: 37' Oyster Heritage
Posts: 410
Re: Lifrafts - adavice and a bit of a moan

Find a life raft guy you can trust. Mine is ex Merchant Navy. Indeed the British Army Sailing Club send their rafts to him for overhaul.

Suffolk Marine Safety
__________________
sestina is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 11-10-2013, 09:36   #6
Registered User
 
jeremiason's Avatar

Join Date: Oct 2010
Location: Punta Gorda, Florida
Boat: Sea Ray 270
Posts: 1,427
Images: 2
Send a message via ICQ to jeremiason Send a message via Yahoo to jeremiason Send a message via Skype™ to jeremiason
Re: Lifrafts - adavice and a bit of a moan

Liferafts like everything else can be cheap or expensive... And should not be compared to by price but the type of use and construction.

We had a guy in San Francisco Bay that we trusted (Sal's Inflatables, Alameda).... He walked us through the various liferafts in his shop from Viking to Switlik.

I was surprised at the huge difference between the rafts construction, from cheap seams to overkill.

We also had a friend that had a experimental catamaran sink on him half way between New York and London. He was floating around for 39 hours before a freighter rescued them.

We had another friend who was in the water for 3 hours after loosing her boat to a whale strike of the coast of Baja California. While deploying the liferaft, a wave washed over the cockpit and took their water proof ditch bag over the side with a spare VHF, water and food. hey were left with what was inside the liferaft.

We were planning ocean crossings when we first started cruising and went with the Switlik SAR-6 for our boat. It is the same raft the USCG drops from their helicopter during rescues.

Yes Switlik is expensive, but if I have float around in the middle of the ocean for several days, I wanted something that would hold up to the extremes. The supplies inside the raft always worked at the repack dates and we supplemented the initial provisions at the first repack, doubling the water and food.

So with that in mind, my recommendation would be to consider what will you be using the Liferaft for. If you are sailing in Bays, Near Coastal or Blue water. Then start thinking how long will it be for help to get to you.

With that information you can decide which raft is appropriate for your type of sailing situation.
__________________
Tom Jeremiason
Punta Gorda, Florida

jeremiason is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 11-10-2013, 18:36   #7
Registered User
 
Celestialsailor's Avatar

Join Date: Nov 2006
Location: In Mexico, working on the boat
Boat: Hallberg Rassy 35. and 14ft.Whitehall pulling skiff.
Posts: 8,013
Images: 5
Re: Lifrafts - adavice and a bit of a moan

Quote:
Originally Posted by Viking Sailor View Post
Be careful when taking an old raft in for evaluation. I once took a raft in and the shop owner said that it was no good. Two weeks later I when back to pickup a new raft he had ordered for me. When I walked in to his shop he acted strange and kept trying to stay between me and his rental rack. I went along with it for a while until he got distracted by another customer. You can guess what I found for rent -- my old no good raft.

Let me guess...Sal's
__________________

__________________
"Life is not a journey to the grave with the intention of arriving safely in a pretty and well-preserved body, but rather to skid in broadside, thoroughly used up, totally worn out, and loudly proclaiming: Wow - what a ride!"

http://wwwjolielle.blogspot.com/
Celestialsailor is offline   Reply With Quote
Reply

Thread Tools
Display Modes Rate This Thread
Rate This Thread:

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Trackbacks are Off
Pingbacks are Off
Refbacks are Off




Copyright 2002- Social Knowledge, LLC All Rights Reserved.

All times are GMT -7. The time now is 09:03.


Google+
Powered by vBulletin® Version 3.8.8 Beta 1
Copyright ©2000 - 2017, vBulletin Solutions, Inc.
Social Knowledge Networks
Powered by vBulletin® Version 3.8.8 Beta 1
Copyright ©2000 - 2017, vBulletin Solutions, Inc.

ShowCase vBulletin Plugins by Drive Thru Online, Inc.