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Old 24-09-2015, 10:49   #1
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Rail mounted life raft

I have just installed a Viking 4-person on the stern pulpit. The bracket is solid, but with a single strap holding the canister on, I am not happy with how secure that seems -- the whole canister wobbles.

I realize it defeats the "quick deploy" ethos a bit, but I am going to add two straps going the opposite direction, just to be sure. If it needs to be launched, pulling twice more doesn't seem like it will be an issue.

Anyone else feel comfortable with the factory set up?
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Old 25-09-2015, 05:37   #2
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Re: Rail mounted life raft

The alternative, of course, was to install on cabin top -- but that takes up quite a space and wouldn't be as easy to deploy.
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Old 25-09-2015, 08:32   #3
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Re: Rail mounted life raft

Quote:
Originally Posted by sneuman View Post
I have just installed a Viking 4-person on the stern pulpit. The bracket is solid, but with a single strap holding the canister on, I am not happy with how secure that seems -- the whole canister wobbles.

I realize it defeats the "quick deploy" ethos a bit, but I am going to add two straps going the opposite direction, just to be sure. If it needs to be launched, pulling twice more doesn't seem like it will be an issue.

Anyone else feel comfortable with the factory set up?
I'm not sure I'm comfortable with your set up.
Is the single strap you are talking about on a hydrostatic release (HRU)? Won't the two additional straps prevent an automatic deployment if it is?

You would be surprised at how long removing two extra straps will take if there is a fire on board or if your vessel is going down. (Quick on-set)
Have you tried talking to who you purchased it from or Viking?
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Old 25-09-2015, 09:27   #4
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Re: Rail mounted life raft

Remember the adage "step up to the liferaft"? And hanging a several thousand dollar package in a convenient location for theft seems almost criminal in itself. Many boats drift with their bows facing the wind. That means the stern is where the winds will drive the flames. I realize I haven't answered the question, just posed some more for consideration. My boat carries only a RIB on deck, which has rollers and tiedowns that allow for a rapid deployment. Fire is my greatest fear, so I have chosen to put my first available resources into Halotron extinguishers in all the cabins, a monster Halotron in the cockpit, and a non USCG approved foam extinguisher, also in the cockpit, should I make a "last stand". Then I'll pull a knife, slice the tie downs and shove the RIB over the side, with the ditch bag and EPIRB already stowed.
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Old 25-09-2015, 09:43   #5
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Re: Rail mounted life raft

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I'm not sure I'm comfortable with your set up.
Is the single strap you are talking about on a hydrostatic release (HRU)? Won't the two additional straps prevent an automatic deployment if it is?

You would be surprised at how long removing two extra straps will take if there is a fire on board or if your vessel is going down. (Quick on-set)
Have you tried talking to who you purchased it from or Viking?
Not a hydrostatic release and the two extra straps would have quick-release snap shackles, too. I am not at all confident of the set up without those -- I'd be inclined to move it to the foredeck after all rather than forego the extra security of the added straps.
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Old 02-10-2015, 07:35   #6
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Re: Rail mounted life raft

I have the same set-up. I elected the rail mount because my wife couldn't see over the top of the raft when at the helm. I did something similar to what you describe with a strap with quick release. I also lash a dedicated knife should it be necessary to cut away the webbing.
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Old 02-10-2015, 08:05   #7
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Re: Rail mounted life raft

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I also lash a dedicated knife should it be necessary to cut away the webbing.
That is how I always rigged a life raft. Even with a single strap quick release buckles can jam or corrode.

Also, the raft must be well secured and one strap to me is not even close. A single failure point that could cause the loss of a critical component? Two straps would be a minimum and they should be attached to a through bolted fitting to have any chance of resisting the forces that would hit the life raft if the boat rolls or is washed over by a large breaking wave.
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Old 02-10-2015, 10:33   #8
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Re: Rail mounted life raft

Boarding seas have enormous force. I would not be comfortable with only one strap on a rail. The pulpit should be stronger than the rail though. If on the rail, the stanchions will take a beating if you get a wave hitting it.

If it were mine, I would prefer to have it lashed to the deck/cabin top.

We had a hydrostatic release and a big strap, but also had a knife on a lanyard there in case it needed to be cut. It also had a quick release type of rigging on it.

We have a new raft and it has a soft case. I am trying to figure out where to stow it on passages. We have a big aft lazerette but I would prefer it handier than that. I'll figure something out. I may get a hard case for it.
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Old 02-10-2015, 11:19   #9
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Re: Rail mounted life raft

Our six-person Viking is mounted on the stern pulpit and we added extra ties to it (horizontally). I figured it could not hurt. We actually had to add a line around the canister as well since one of the straps put on when he had the raft serviced in Brisbane fell off - after we had left Brisbane of course.
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Old 02-10-2015, 11:25   #10
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Re: Rail mounted life raft

Did you use quick release straps or simply tie it around rail posts?
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Old 03-10-2015, 10:08   #11
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Re: Rail mounted life raft

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Originally Posted by sowwaninii View Post
I have the same set-up. I elected the rail mount because my wife couldn't see over the top of the raft when at the helm. I did something similar to what you describe with a strap with quick release. I also lash a dedicated knife should it be necessary to cut away the webbing.
Good idea having a cut away plan in case the release ratchet freezes up. I've seen this happen many times after prolonged exposure to sunshine and salt water spray.
I'm thinking instead of a knife, how about a seat belt cutter? If you are trying to deploy your life raft in a turbulent sea, a knife may not be the best thing to have in your hand.
I checked on-line and found a device called LifeHammer. It's bright orange, sits in a bracket that can be mounted on or near the cradle, and it glows in the dark. It has a webbing cutter and other tools that may come in handy, but I like the size of it - has a good gripping handle. Just a suggestion.
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Old 03-10-2015, 10:17   #12
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Re: Rail mounted life raft

Great idea on the seat belt cutter!
Thanks!!
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Old 03-10-2015, 10:30   #13
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Re: Rail mounted life raft

Our judgement is based on our experience. I was in Costa Rica when the local fishing boats were newly required to have liferafts, so liferaft theft was a national pastime. My latest liferaft mount design was all stainless with quick release pins that could be replaced with padlocks when I was nervous about thievery or stored the boat.
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Old 03-10-2015, 10:37   #14
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Re: Rail mounted life raft

We had a padlock as well. We took it off on passages when we might need the liferaft. It would only be a nuisance, not a total deterrent though, to someone who is prepared to use bolt cutters or a hacksaw to either the lock or the cables. But it will stop the casual thief.
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Old 03-10-2015, 10:57   #15
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Re: Rail mounted life raft

I think photos always help a discussion like this.
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