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Old 12-12-2017, 07:27   #1
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$300 old liferaft, or $2300 new?

I have an opportunity to buy a Zodiac 6-person life raft of undetermined age, in canister, for about $300. It will cost another $800 to service it. The raft is coming off a boat that sank on anchor, and was partially submerged, but I don't know if water found its way into the canister. If the firing mechanism needs replacement, it will cost a lot more.

Alternatively, I can buy a new 4-person Ocean Safety liferaft, and have it delivered on-island for about $2300. It wouldn't come in a canister, but that's probably better for my needs.

That's the other issue, I'm not sure I have a spot for a 6-person life raft in a canister...
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Old 12-12-2017, 07:41   #2
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Re: $300 old liferaft, or $2300 new?

If it is too old no one will service it. Be sure you aren't wasting your money.
Do you need an offshore raft, or a coastal raft. Very different, very different pricing.
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Old 12-12-2017, 07:46   #3
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Re: $300 old liferaft, or $2300 new?

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If it is too old no one will service it. Be sure you aren't wasting your money.
Do you need an offshore raft, or a coastal raft. Very different, very different pricing.
Offshore.

The guy who services rafts here has said that he has seen 25-year-old rafts that were in great condition and perfectly serviceable, and other times, 6-year-old rafts that were complete disasters.

I'll try and get a date off the raft, but the text is pretty sun-bleached.
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Old 12-12-2017, 07:53   #4
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Re: $300 old liferaft, or $2300 new?

If raft got saltwater in the canister, I would think that would be very bad. Guess the service center could check it, but they can't check it unless you buy it.
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Old 12-12-2017, 08:05   #5
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Re: $300 old liferaft, or $2300 new?

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If raft got saltwater in the canister, I would think that would be very bad. Guess the service center could check it, but they can't check it unless you buy it.
How well sealed are these canisters? They must be sealed well enough to account for spray. This seal may have been submerged in a few inches of water. I take it they can't be opened for casual inspection?
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Old 12-12-2017, 08:43   #6
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Re: $300 old liferaft, or $2300 new?

How much is your life worth! You are talking a small difference between new and refurbished!
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Old 12-12-2017, 08:48   #7
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Re: $300 old liferaft, or $2300 new?

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How much is your life worth! You are talking a small difference between new and refurbished!
BINGO!

Emergency equipment needs to be in superb condition. Yesterday the rubber antenna on my 8 year old handheld VHF fell apart from age. Good thing I was at the dock. Everything has a life expectancy!
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Old 12-12-2017, 08:51   #8
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Re: $300 old liferaft, or $2300 new?

Your quote on service depends a lot on how old the raft is, and the time since it's last service. Different parts get replaced at different ages.

But seriously... it's been soaking in the ocean??? and you think it's a good bet for your life???

The chances of it actually being able to be serviced are pretty slim. So just take your $300 and save it. Or have the current owner have it serviced and offer him $300 over that.
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Old 12-12-2017, 08:56   #9
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Re: $300 old liferaft, or $2300 new?

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Originally Posted by Ryban View Post
Offshore.

The guy who services rafts here has said that he has seen 25-year-old rafts that were in great condition and perfectly serviceable, and other times, 6-year-old rafts that were complete disasters.

I'll try and get a date off the raft, but the text is pretty sun-bleached.
Your last sentence says it all.......move on....
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Old 12-12-2017, 08:58   #10
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Re: $300 old liferaft, or $2300 new?

There are many marine items I am prepared to buy, and indeed have bought, used or refurbished.

A life raft is not one of those items. Probably due to the word "life" on the label.

YNMMV.
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Old 12-12-2017, 09:05   #11
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Re: $300 old liferaft, or $2300 new?

Ryban-
Tell the soaked Zodiac seller that if they'll let you take it to a Zodiac dealer, and if the dealer says it really can be refurbished for $800, and it really has no other problems, you'll pay them for it. Otherwise, they can pick it back up from the dealer.

Zodiac used to condemn all rafts at 10 years of age because they were glued seams, and the glue started failing. Their authorized repackers were not allowed to touch them after 10 years.

So, that's probably what you are starting with. Then there's the question of why it didn't open after being underwater, most of them have a hydrostatic release that should have triggered. And water would get into the interior, even if it is vacuum sealed, by migrating along the pull rope.

So, again, very iffy. If the seller is willing to let a Zodiac authorized shop inspect it and you can get that done before any money has to change hands...that's the only way to touch it. If you prefer to gamble, surely there are casinos around, where they'll at least serve you drinks wile you're doing that?
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Old 12-12-2017, 09:10   #12
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Re: $300 old liferaft, or $2300 new?

First, make sure you deal with a life raft service station that is approved by the manufacturer of the raft. Take a Zodiac raft to a Zodiac service station.

Second, Zodiac rafts have been vacuum-packed for close to 20 years. If the raft was submerged, but the vacuum seal was not broken, the raft could be dry and unharmed inside the canister.

Third, Zodiac rafts are welded so they tend to be less affected by age compared to a glued raft. They are (generally) made from PVC coated fabric, and since they life in a dark environment, they are not likely to have "dinghy-type" UV deterioration.

Fourth, the only way to determine the value is to take it to a service station and have them make a determination. While the gear replacement cost (flares, water, etc) may be $800, the cost to repair any damage could exceed the value of the raft.

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Old 12-12-2017, 12:04   #13
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Re: $300 old liferaft, or $2300 new?

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If it is too old no one will service it. Be sure you aren't wasting your money.
Do you need an offshore raft, or a coastal raft. Very different, very different pricing.
What is to old?
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Old 12-12-2017, 12:36   #14
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Re: $300 old liferaft, or $2300 new?

Ryban, I would hope that your service guy mentioned that the service fee on an older raft that has not kept up with it's recert schedule can mushroom up significantly once they open it up and see what they are looking at. All the "consumables" will need to be replaced, which is more expensive on bigger and offshore rafts, so that is a factor in the type of raft as well.

I think the issue is that you won't know what you've got until you've paid for it and taken it in for inspection. It might be totally shot, it might cost a bomb to recert, or it might be a good value. There's no way to know until they get to work on it.
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Old 12-12-2017, 12:51   #15
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Re: $300 old liferaft, or $2300 new?

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Originally Posted by hellosailor View Post
Ryban-
Tell the soaked Zodiac seller that if they'll let you take it to a Zodiac dealer, and if the dealer says it really can be refurbished for $800, and it really has no other problems, you'll pay them for it. Otherwise, they can pick it back up from the dealer.

Zodiac used to condemn all rafts at 10 years of age because they were glued seams, and the glue started failing. Their authorized repackers were not allowed to touch them after 10 years.

So, that's probably what you are starting with. Then there's the question of why it didn't open after being underwater, most of them have a hydrostatic release that should have triggered. And water would get into the interior, even if it is vacuum sealed, by migrating along the pull rope.

So, again, very iffy. If the seller is willing to let a Zodiac authorized shop inspect it and you can get that done before any money has to change hands...that's the only way to touch it. If you prefer to gamble, surely there are casinos around, where they'll at least serve you drinks wile you're doing that?
15 years was the lifespan. This was mandated for compliance which French naval legislation, Classe II / Classe V, which pre-dates ISO9650 rafts.

The ISO standard still mimics this requirement. 15 years, 3 year service interval. After 15 years, the raft goes to a yearly service requirement...basically, as an industry standard, the manufacturers are expecting the raft to fail soon. Rubbers and plastics don't last forever, even in a vacuum bag.
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