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Old 21-11-2013, 10:14   #1
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Liferafts before buying a couple suggestions

7 years ago we purchased a Winslow life raft based on good reports from Practical sailor and other Internet forums. We have not had any reason to use it thank goodness but I wanted to throw out a couple suggestions if you're planning on buying a life raft.

Do not let the cost be your decision factor. Look at the location of the service centers around the world and how much it costs to repack a raft. Winslow has very limited coverage and for us in the Pacific outside of the US the choice is to ship the unit back to them for re packing. Not only is the cost of re packing by Winslow shockingly expensive but then throw in the shipping on top of it and it becomes stupidly expensive!!!

Sure I understand that to have a Winslow re certified the packer must be trained at their facility. That's a good thing but it also limits the number of agencies that can do the service.

If we were to do it all over again we would look at the re packing stations around the world, cost of recertification and then throw in the cost of the raft. Put down 10 years for a baseline and then work the numbers. Oh don't forget the cost of shipping the raft if you add Winslow to the review.

Just food for thought if your in the market for a new raft

Safe sailing

Chuck
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Old 21-11-2013, 10:46   #2
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Originally Posted by chouliha View Post
7 years ago we purchased a Winslow life raft based on good reports from Practical sailor and other Internet forums. We have not had any reason to use it thank goodness but I wanted to throw out a couple suggestions if you're planning on buying a life raft.

Do not let the cost be your decision factor. Look at the location of the service centers around the world and how much it costs to repack a raft. Winslow has very limited coverage and for us in the Pacific outside of the US the choice is to ship the unit back to them for re packing. Not only is the cost of re packing by Winslow shockingly expensive but then throw in the shipping on top of it and it becomes stupidly expensive!!!

Sure I understand that to have a Winslow re certified the packer must be trained at their facility. That's a good thing but it also limits the number of agencies that can do the service.

If we were to do it all over again we would look at the re packing stations around the world, cost of recertification and then throw in the cost of the raft. Put down 10 years for a baseline and then work the numbers. Oh don't forget the cost of shipping the raft if you add Winslow to the review.

Just food for thought if your in the market for a new raft

Safe sailing

Chuck
Avon /zodiac has the best worldwide coverage IMHO

Dave
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Old 21-11-2013, 10:52   #3
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Re: Liferafts before buying a couple suggestions

Great point, and worth looking into.

I get the impression it's shockingly expensive everywhere.
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Old 22-11-2013, 04:59   #4
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Re: Liferafts before buying a couple suggestions

Paid about 200 in the UK, which includes new flares, torch batteries etc.

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Old 22-11-2013, 17:34   #5
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Re: Liferafts before buying a couple suggestions

Quote:
Originally Posted by goboatingnow View Post
Avon /zodiac has the best worldwide coverage IMHO

Dave
Ya...If you want something made by Zodiac.
In regards to Winslow and repack stations...There was a dealer/repacker in the SF bay area who would put the fear of god in you when pricing out a repack. He would show the benefits of upgrading instead. I found out later that another repacker in the Pacific North West was much more reasonable. So I would suggest to shop around a little. I have a Viking but will say that Winslow is about as good as they come.
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Old 22-11-2013, 18:48   #6
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What's the downside of having the liferaft serviced at reputable but non-Winslow certified station? I don't see anything particularly unique about the raft that an Avon/Zodiac/Viking/Switlik station couldn't do properly. If you had to use it and it only lasted 30 days; it's their out to avoid liability?
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Old 22-11-2013, 19:50   #7
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Re: Liferafts before buying a couple suggestions

The problem is if there is some specific Winslow parts that need to be replaced. For example the air cartridge. So now the raft is all open on a floor in Panama and I need to have something shipped in......

I last hauled it up 12 hours on a Mexican bus and found the repack facility in LA did not have all the needed parts so I ended up shipping it to Florida. Total cost about 1/3 the cost of a new raft. There are liferaft certification centers in Mexico but I couldn't use them. Now I am in Panama and its the same thing "oh just ship it back to Florida!"

Look the raft has a stellar reputation that's not my warning. If your going cruising outside the US better look closely at certification centers around the area you intend to cruise. The closest place for Winslow for me in Panama is Florida or Australia!
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