The explanation given to me by a Zodiac-US rep was that the Zodiac rafts were gleed, not fusion-welded. I don't know if this is still the case. According to them, the French government
(Zodiac being a French corporation) required Zodiac to condemn the rafts at 10 years because of failures of the glued seams, making the rafts unreliable after that age.
Personally I would say that was a manufacturing defect, a bad glue choice or process, if it failed. After all, we literally glue the wings onto some combat aircraft, and that glue never fails. I also rmember helping a friend reglue seams in an older Achilles inflateable, and it was like playing whack-a-mole, every spring a new leak to seal. Eventually he literally threw the boat out.
What the truth is, I do not know. I would also expect that time spent sealed in a case shouldn't cause anything to fall apart, but apparently the entire life raft industry has been focused only on the commercial
customers, who simply follow regulations
and write off the expenses as part of the cost of doing business.
Having maintained my own SCUBA gear
, including the BC and suits, I can only note that some materials literally DO fall apart on their own, while others are nowhere near as frail as the industry claims. And "proper" offficial servicing and care often is done by underpaid help, and done not as well as any reasonably cautious owner would do it.
I can understand the concept
of "the valve in that old gas bottle might fail" but as long as the bottle can be weighed and found to still contain the full charge of gas, by weight, I think I'd be just as happy to have a clean old bottle, as an untested new bottle. Considering the way that brand new parts
ALSO sometimes fail to operate, even the first time.
I would suggest you contact Zodiac about your specific raft, and let us know what their current
story is. And whether Zodiac-Canada says the same things Zodiac-US did.