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Old 16-12-2010, 09:56   #1
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We Are Looking to Purchase a Four- to Six-Man Liferaft

Any suggestions on make, model, features, etc. would be helpful. Have looked at a few used ones but we are skeptical after looking at one where the fellow claimed that he had it repacked a year ago and his log book showed it had been three years since being inspected.

We will generally be cruising with just 2 aboard but if we go for a long range sail we will probably take on 2 crew. Would a 4 person or a 6 person be better?

Many thanks for any input!

Capt. Jeanette
s/v Phantom D
lying St. Maarten
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Old 16-12-2010, 11:08   #2
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Greetings and welcome aboard the CF, Capt. Jeanette.

The life raft should not be too large. If you normally sail with 2-3 people on board, you ought to choose 4-person life raft. In this case there will also be room for even a 5th (smaller) person, in an emergency.

In general, life rafts should not be too large because the extra space in the raft allows for an escape of body heat from the occupants. As the function of a life raft is to keep its people safely out of the cold water, it is important to trap what heat is available.

A more fully occupied raft is also more stable at sea, whereas a half-empty raft is more vulnerable to the power of wind and waves.

Here’s Don Casey (of no particular authority on THIS subject) on life rafts
BoatUS BoatTECH Guides: Life Rafts
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Old 16-12-2010, 11:30   #3
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Steven Callahan's book has some really valuable info on life rafts if you're up for a good read. He goes over his 76 days lost at sea.

Amazon.com: Adrift: Seventy-six Days Lost at Sea (9781615582914): Steven Callahan: Books
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Old 16-12-2010, 12:58   #4
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Viking now has its rafts on a three-year service schedule, even though BoatUS is recommending annual servicing. We chose a four man because we always sail with just the two of us. When we had our pre-teen daughter get had a six man raft. We opted to replace the six man this year because it hadn't been serviced for 12 years. In the spring we are going to have a driveway party and trigger it to see what happens. I worry a little about putting out of date flares in the hands of drunks.
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Old 16-12-2010, 13:01   #5
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I see a 6-man just showed up in the classified section here.
Just saying, as I know nothin'.
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Old 16-12-2010, 14:31   #6
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Although Gord has a very valid point regarding holding heat.....you also must consider the room needed to "stretch out" and get comfortable. I suggest visiting a dealer to see just how much room there is in a four verses six man liferaft. You must also consider space for a ditch bag and additional water container. (My ditch bag has extra clothing, in plastic bags, to use if the situation dictates)
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Old 16-12-2010, 15:20   #7
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Ive been in both, a 4 man is a very small space, i'd go with a 6 man

Dave
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