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Old 05-07-2018, 05:31   #1
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Life Raft for Coastal...Yes or No?

Many of you are probably familiar with my life raft discussion for our previously planned Atlantic crossing. Life Raft Discussion.... Yes or No?

Now plans have changed due to a late start and Mrs Mac’s vacation schedule, so we’re now heading up to Nova Scotia and Newfoundland for a few months and the Atlantic crossing will need to wait until May 2019 or 2020. I’m not feeling the urgency to purchase a life raft for what will be coastal cruising and one very short passage lasting less than a day. We’ll have the dinghy on the davit system along with coastal support rescue available via EPIRB activation and SAT phone.

I’d like to begin a discussion on the absolute need for a life raft for coastal cruising in todays environment with Search and rescue personell so readily available. We have an extensive fire supression system aboard including two water hose systems (fresh and seawater) along with engine room supression and over 15 fire extinguishers for those discussion participants who want to focus on fire. We also have an extensive weather monitoring system onboard which now includes an Iridium Go for grib files on Weather4D pro, pocket gribs, Predictwind Offshore and Windy.

I decision will need to be made quickly due to 10 day delivery time from the UK.
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Old 05-07-2018, 05:48   #2
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Re: Life Raft for Coastal...Yes or No?

I think you got a pretty full plate of information in the other thread.

There's no "absolute" need for a life raft probably anywhere.

Coastal less than deep ocean, because you are closer to rescue services and there is dramatically less risk of weather issues.

For a normal production boat without multiple watertight compartments, I would put a dewatering pump in the priorities.

For cold water like N.S. I would certainly want a raft anyway, personally. Getting into that cold water, even for an hour or two, even in calm weather, would really suck, and maybe fatal if you don't manage to get your dry suit on. But your boat, your choice.

The main reason for NOT having a raft is either money or space, so the idea of a 62' Oyster WITHOUT a life raft seems kind of weird to me (I've got TWO), but, you know, it's your boat and your family, and the likelihood of actually needing it is pretty remote. You'll need it when you cross the N. Atlantic in any case, though, so is there any point in delaying it?

That's my opinion FWIW.
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Old 05-07-2018, 05:55   #3
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Re: Life Raft for Coastal...Yes or No?

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I think you got a pretty full plate of information in the other thread.

There's no "absolute" need for a life raft probably anywhere.

Coastal less than deep ocean, because you are closer to rescue services and there is dramatically less risk of weather issues.

For a normal production boat without multiple watertight compartments, I would put a dewatering pump in the priorities.

For cold water like N.S. I would certainly want a raft anyway, personally. Getting into that cold water, even for an hour or two, even in calm weather, would really suck, and maybe fatal if you don't manage to get your dry suit on. But your boat, your choice.

The main reason for NOT having a raft is either money or space, so the idea of a 62' Oyster WITHOUT a life raft seems kind of weird to me (I've got TWO), but, you know, it's your boat and your family, and the likelihood of actually needing it is pretty remote. You'll need it when you cross the N. Atlantic in any case, though, so is there any point in delaying it?

That's my opinion FWIW.
Different priorities I guess. For us, heading out across an ocean WITHOUT a fuel polishing system “seems kind of weird to me.” (We’ve got TWO,) one for each 250 gallon tank.

Thanks for your contribution.

How do other folks feel about the need for a life raft for mostly coastal cruising regardless of the size of boat being considered.
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Old 05-07-2018, 06:05   #4
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Re: Life Raft for Coastal...Yes or No?

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Different priorities I guess. For us, heading out across an ocean WITHOUT a fuel polishing system “seems kind of weird to me.” (We’ve got TWO,) one for each 250 gallon tank.. . .

Sure. Everyone has to come up with his own priorities, and there are plenty of things to choose from.
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Old 05-07-2018, 07:14   #5
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Re: Life Raft for Coastal...Yes or No?

The raft is not really that much of a ball and chain...you have the room. Get the raft and change the oil in the Bobcat.:-)
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Old 05-07-2018, 07:25   #6
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Re: Life Raft for Coastal...Yes or No?

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The raft is not really that much of a ball and chain...you have the room. Get the raft and change the oil in the Bobcat.:-)
Do you care to add anything constructive to the discussion?
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Old 05-07-2018, 07:36   #7
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Re: Life Raft for Coastal...Yes or No?

I think survival suits would be of much more use for coastal sailing than a life raft. A good dinghy will replace the life raft and the dinghy has an outboard, so it can be used to reach land. If you are never more than 24 hours from land, I wouldn't bother.

If you do not have it already, buy dry suits for everybody onboard. Used diving suits are good value for money. Or just simple dinghy suits. If you wear thermal layers under, they work surprisingly well.
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Old 05-07-2018, 07:40   #8
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pirate Re: Life Raft for Coastal...Yes or No?

If you have a decent dinghy hung on davits or lashed inflated on the foredeck I would not stress the matter.
If on the davits with motor mounted you could even self rescue in the event of a catastrofic event like being holed by a UFO..
Just chuck in the fuel can.. pull and go..
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Old 05-07-2018, 08:03   #9
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Re: Life Raft for Coastal...Yes or No?

How do you plan to sail from Nova Scotia to Newfoundland in “less than a day?”

Specifically, from where to where?
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Old 05-07-2018, 08:08   #10
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Re: Life Raft for Coastal...Yes or No?

Ken, we're "coastal" (or even "inland" more often) we don't carry a life raft. Partly due to space considerations, although I coud mount something on our foredeck if we were ocen-going more often.

Partly also because we can launch our dinghy in about 45 seconds if need be.

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Old 05-07-2018, 08:15   #11
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Re: Life Raft for Coastal...Yes or No?

Unfortunately I have direct experience of fire on a yacht fitted with all the most up-to-date and all singing and dancing fire systems. The speed with which a fire takes hold is truly amazing. Would you be able to get aft to launch the dinghy in time? Depends on the seat of the fire and wind direction obviously. A liferaft situated in a widely separated location to your dink would be additional insurance. It may even be an Insurance Requirement though you would have to check on that.
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Old 05-07-2018, 08:16   #12
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Re: Life Raft for Coastal...Yes or No?

You are more likely to need a liferaft near land. When Bill Tilman sank his 2nd or 3rd boat they were luckily able to climb onto the rock they hit and eventually another boat passing through the heavily traveled 1960's waters of Greenland saw them and all was well. I only have a tiny 36 footer, but I consider a liferaft more important than an engine. I sailed my first cruising boat for several years without an engine or a liferaft. In fact my cheap yellow army surplus store inflatable dinghy required my 3 pack a day habit lungs to inflate it, which I could accomplish in 20 minutes. I bet maybe 19 minutes if we were sinking.
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Old 05-07-2018, 08:18   #13
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Re: Life Raft for Coastal...Yes or No?

Polina Star III was only a couple of miles out and went down literally in minutes. They definitely needed their liferaft.


I know where you are at, though. We have just serviced our liferaft in Gib because everywhere else was both very expensive but also they needed to take the raft for up to 6 weeks, which we thought was ridiculous. We will keep the raft, but I am not sure about the two year servicing....unless we are planning adventures further afield.
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Old 05-07-2018, 08:25   #14
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Re: Life Raft for Coastal...Yes or No?

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Different priorities I guess. For us, heading out across an ocean WITHOUT a fuel polishing system “seems kind of weird to me.” (We’ve got TWO,) one for each 250 gallon tank.

Thanks for your contribution.

How do other folks feel about the need for a life raft for mostly coastal cruising regardless of the size of boat being considered.

Depends on the coast. Where the possibility of heavy fog exists at any time of the year, and where the water is cold, where there are strong tides and currents, where there's a lot of fishing and cargo traffic, some of which is not AIS-transmitting, and when the weather can kick up suddenly, my views would change. I would veer toward having a life raft in the Canadian Maritimes because of the cold water alone in a way I would simply take to the Zodiac island-hopping in the Caribbean...with the same boat.
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Old 05-07-2018, 08:33   #15
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Re: Life Raft for Coastal...Yes or No?

Hi Ken, you know my thoughts regarding life raft and ocean crossings. When it comes to coastal I'd just go the dinghy on davits as long as I was able to contact authorities someway.
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