Originally Posted by Exiles
On my previous transatlantic crossings I used various types of liferafts, but due to the higher latitude environment
I am looking for a liferaft that is more robust can take heavy weather
, protect from exposure and comes with or can be packaged with survival suits.
Any raft can be re-packed into a larger container than the manufacturer supplies as original equipment
; this would provide room within the canister to contain and exposure suit. I am not aware of any life raft that is supplied with survival or exposure suits from the factory.
The typical 'offshore' liferaft will have: a canopy (exposure control), double tubes (redundancy is good), an insulated floor (keep you a bit warmer).
If you want to go very light, Winslow will work (their niche is the private aircraft market where light weight is everything). I do not know if they use double tubes.
If you want to go more durable (and heavier), look at the SOLAS life rafts. Several manufacturers make a liferaft that meets the SOLAS requirements but which is not in fact SOLAS-certified; - these are rafts made primarily for the recreational offshore
boater. I have one of them, a Zodiac
6 man SOLAS raft design that was not SOLAS-certified for commercial
use (this saves the manufacturer money
, therefore the raft is less expensive to purchase
My suggestion is you talk with a life raft repacking facility and describe the features you are looking for - they will have the most suitable information for you. If you have the opportunity, it is well worthwhile to get inside several different rafts on the repacking floor to get a sense of how the different designs operate.
This page provides a good overview of the liferafts that might be used by a 2-6 person offshore
recreational boat. I have the Zodiac
Class Ocean ISAF 6 person unit (too bad it seems to no longer be made!).