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Old 11-02-2011, 08:44   #1
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Liferaft Advice, Please !

Hi All,

Thanks for all your amazing answers to my “How can I stop my boat from sinking?” post. I have a follow up questions now about safety equipment since I am going to buy a liferaft this month.

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.

I look forward to your suggestions!!!!

Please check out our website below.


Thank you,

Nicolas
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Old 11-02-2011, 09:23   #2
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consider outfitting a dinghy (hard or soft), prefferably hard with oars and a sailing rig, outfitted as a life raft would be, stored on deck.

cons: takes up more deck space then a packaged raft

pros: you can make way towards your rescue (sail or row) insteady of drifting aimlessly and helplessly

different climate but cant hurt to read steve callahans "adrift"
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Old 11-02-2011, 09:33   #3
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On my previous transatlantic crossings I used various types of liferafts
You cross in the liferaft? Or only part of the way? Sounds like you have way more experience than any of us
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Old 11-02-2011, 11:15   #4
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Great suggestion unfortunately no room on deck because its such a small deck.

LOL daddle no I was fortunate enough not to use any of the liferafts even though my boat wasnt much bigger then one!
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Old 11-02-2011, 11:35   #5
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Rib with a sea anchor would be my prefered choice of life dinghy. Hard is more readily swamped and sunk.
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Old 11-02-2011, 12:02   #6
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Personally, I would go for a liferaft - that's what it's designed for. Get one that is designed for the likely number of crew - a lot of people get rafts that are too big and as a result can be unstable in use if under loaded. Talk to the maker and get it packed to your requirements with equipment.
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Old 11-02-2011, 12:12   #7
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Buy a Winslow liferaft with the Pelican Case option
You'll never be wrong neither about the raft nor the case.
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Old 11-02-2011, 12:42   #8
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Buy a life raft that will hold 2 more than will on you boat.
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Old 11-02-2011, 16:15   #9
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Before buying a liferaft, have a look at one of the same maker and same size, inflated, and try to seat all your crew in it. You will realize how cramped an "not-oversized" raft can be.

Alain
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Old 11-02-2011, 16:32   #10
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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 by you).

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!).

http://www.westpacmarine.com/samples/psrafts.asp

- rob/beetle
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Old 13-02-2011, 08:08   #11
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Great responses really appreciate it! I want exposure suits on the boat and packed in the liferaft just in case there is to little time.
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Old 13-02-2011, 09:25   #12
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Importantly put your liferaft where it can be launched bu anybody including your 12 year old child. Ours is mounted outside the stern pulpit in a rack; pull a pin and it self-launches over the stern,
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Old 13-02-2011, 09:43   #13
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Exiles... my advice is similar to beetle's. If you plan on having 4 aboard, get a raft that holds 6 plus the additional gear, ie., exposure suits, granular warming pads, etc., and pack in a cannister that will hold the additional gear. The only way to determine pack size is to discuss your needs with a licensed raft repacker. Not sure where you are located but I have used Beaufort in Richmond, British Columbia and another repacker just north of Ensenada, Mexico run by several local bomberos (firefighters). Both were very accommodating allowing us to be present at inflation and inspections as well as including items not normally found in a standard repack. Additional gear may require a larger cannister but well worth it if you have room aboard your primary vessel. Good Luck... Capt Phil
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Old 13-02-2011, 10:30   #14
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Practical Sailor did a three part series on SOLAS and SOLAS equivalent life rafts. It was educational. Six-Man Life Raft Test We ended up getting the light weight DSB ISA raft, that was one of their recomendations, for our northern route across the Atlantic.

I speculate that one of the problems with an open rib is direct exposure to wind. Wind dramatically increases the convective cooling. Additionally, you would be exposed to continuous spray which accelerates the heat transfer through evaporation and potential loss of clothing effective insulation. Over the course of hours/days until rescue a covered life raft might make the difference between living and dying of exposure.
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Old 13-02-2011, 12:05   #15
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I don't think it is necessary being able to launch a liferaft instantly. Useful, yes, but not necessary.

Then, I prefer to keep mine in a deck locker, where it is protected from sun, green water and thieves. I checked, it can be launched in much less than one minute.

Alain
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