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Old 30-08-2014, 14:25   #1
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Life raft re certification/need?

Hey Folks

Just curious about a life raft included in a boat we are potentially purchasing. It is out of date but gas spent most of its life in mild climes not hot in summer and under cover for winter. We will be sailing the boat down the East coast from Maine to Charleston SC in a few weeks. Should we be concerned that it is not within it's certification timeline. We will not be venturing far offshore and will be ducking inside after Cape May NJ to spend a few weeks in the Chesapeake. The timing is not working out with a re certification before leaving Maine and would be easier once down south. I know it is never a bad idea to invest in safety equipment but is it really necessary for a close in passage.

Thanks in advance

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Old 30-08-2014, 14:54   #2
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Re: Life raft re certification/need?

For that trip, if you are otherwise prepared I wouldn't be too concerned about the raft. Will you have a dinghy that would serve for a few hours or a day? Do you have a good VHF and a handheld or EPIRB? Or even a cell phone? Be aware that you will lose cell phone coverage 4-5 miles off the coast.

The water is always bluer on the other side of the ocean.
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Old 30-08-2014, 15:17   #3
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Re: Life raft re certification/need?

From what I gather, it has just about as good a chance of inflating now as it did several years ago. The water may be rancid the aspirin out of date and the signal flares duds but it will probably still float.
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Old 12-09-2014, 08:44   #4
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Re: Life raft re certification/need?

Depends on the make. Life rafts older than 10 years often disintegrate when inflated- not always, but it happens. Also if it's been tested and re packed several times, then you should be very cautious about trusting it. A couple of manufactures told me the testing involves inflating, which chemically affects some types of glue used in construction. Depends on the brand apparently.

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Old 12-09-2014, 09:20   #5
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Re: Life raft re certification/need?

A lot depends on the brand--I was told a 20 year old Avon was better than a 5 year old Plastimo.

It also depends on whether it has been sitting out on the deck or stored in a garage.

I personally have mine repacked every 3 years, and its never failed to hold air during the repack test.
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