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Old 07-02-2011, 15:51   #1
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Pre-Owned Liferaft

One on the boats I am looking at has a liferaft that is a few years old(6) the guy said he has never used it and that the raft is ok. I was kind of thinking that buying a used liferaft is like a used climbing rope, not for me. Is there a way to check the raft or should I just get a new one? I don't mind spending the cash for a new raft because I think that a few grand is a small price to pay for my life, however if I can get away with it I would rather save the money for something else like a new scuba stuff or rum
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Old 07-02-2011, 15:55   #2
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You can get them recertified. I think you're suppose to do it every couple years but I don't think it's cheap. You might check with the coast gaurd in your area for a list of who does it.
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Old 07-02-2011, 16:01   #3
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Having the raft professionally repacked will run you $600 or more. That would entail inflating the raft, checking for leaks, replacing all the included goods like flares, replacing the inflation tank, etc, and repacking the raft. A repack will guarantee that the raft is good to go. Believe there is a 10 year expected life for rafts but don't believe that is a hard and fast rule just one to meet commerical certification.

You can inflate it yourself, inspect for leaks, have the tank hydro'd and refilled and repack. Won't have a certification but better than no check if you are trying to save money.
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Old 07-02-2011, 16:20   #4
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Commerical certification is only good for a year....but i am sure they are good for alot longer, repacking and having it checked is a cost effective way to go
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Old 07-02-2011, 16:52   #5
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I think that I will check it first but if there is a problem with it I am going to just buy a new one. Better safe than sorry. Thanks for the input ya'll
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Old 07-02-2011, 17:53   #6
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Commerical certification is only good for a year....but i am sure they are good for alot longer, repacking and having it checked is a cost effective way to go
That depends. If it's vacuum packed, as ours is, the cert's good for three years. There's nothing wrong, at all, with an unused, not-new LR; just get it recertified, which you should do, anyway. The agent will be harsh on its quality; I had a 10 year old Avon which passed, tank and hull, with no problems at all.

You shouldn't have to replace the inflation cylinder - if it's not corroded, it will just need a recharge. If it's an offshore raft, you'll have different supplies than for coastal, but even an entire restore (all safety equipment, all food and water, recharge the bottle, etc.) on the offshore Avon was under a grand.

They blow it up with a pressure hose (I watched mine; there are pix buried in my gallery), and leave it for a week. No decompression means good to go; yes means it's toast...

HTH

L8R

Skip, with a vacuum packed valise style, now, as the hardshell took away deck space, and needed annuals rather than 3-yearly inspection; no other reason for the change
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Old 07-02-2011, 18:13   #7
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Pre owned liferaft

To my understanding, a life raft officially needs to be recertified on a schedule if it is used on a boat for commercial use or in a Solas certified event. Many new rafts need their 1st recert at 3 years. Other rafts may well operate long beyond their cert date if stored dry, cool, no salt contamination. Buying a 1-3 yr old unused raft and having recerted for $600 USD is a good way to save half the cost of new, and have a raft you can trust. Watch Ebay. Capt. T. Hanna
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Old 07-02-2011, 18:21   #8
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I inflated, inspected, and repacked my own. It was not remotely difficult. In the VERY unlikely event that I ever use the thing, I guess I'll feel like a stupid cheapskate if it doesn't inflate. On the other hand, I read that a large percentage of professionally certified rafts later fail to inflate when the lanyard is pulled. At least if that happens to me, I'll know how to inflate it manually.

I came away from this experience thinking the life raft certification business may be a racket. How could you possibly charge $600-1000 for that job? It took me about an hour's work- with no previous experience or instructions. I let the thing sit inflated for several hours to see if it leaked. I inspected all supplies and replaced none, but if I had replaced ALL of them I don't see how I could have spent $40.

For what it's worth. Follow at your own risk...
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Old 07-02-2011, 18:25   #9
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I chuckle when I hear of a liferaft being sold and is stated as unused. If the raft has been used it would probably not be available for sale. I do not believe that a resscue operation includes the salvage of the liferaft in most situations. A liferaft being sold, as included in the sale of a boat, is almost guaranteed to have not been "used"
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Old 07-02-2011, 18:28   #10
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I chuckle when I hear of a liferaft being sold and is stated as unused. If the raft has been used it would probably not be available for sale. I do not believe that a resscue operation includes the salvage of the liferaft in most situations. A liferaft being sold, as included in the sale of a boat, is almost guaranteed to have not been "used"
Further, there are some companies, like my raft, which, if actually used to get you safely off the boat, they'll give you a new one free (presumed to also want your permission to use your name and experience)...

L8R

Skip, yet to step up into a life raft, my only way I'll get in one on the water...
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Old 07-02-2011, 18:30   #11
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best part of taking the thing apart is you get to see how poor the "supplies" they give you are. Good time to upgrade that a bit and also to have it in mind when you are making a ditch bag.
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Old 07-02-2011, 18:44   #12
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I'm with Roverhi and tallyhorob... having owned a few and delivered many sail and powerboats with a variety of rafts, on my own boats I had the raft repacked after I bought them and attended the inflation and stores inventory listing so I knew what to expect if and when I needed it and I knew what supplies were aboard the raft. I also added some personal items not normally included in the inventory that I would want if I was afloat for any period of time. Like any other system on board, it is a good idea to be familiar with it. Remember, the time to leave your vessel and board the life raft is when you need to step UP into it. Cheers, Capt Phil
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Old 08-02-2011, 13:35   #13
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I figured that the survival kit that comes in the raft its like the kit in a survival knife, fun when you are 12, but worthless. I have a ditch bag made up of high grade equipment from my last boat; hand pump for R/O water, flare gun, Power Bars, Little Speargun,travel chess/checkers..ect. I have no plans of ever using it, but it helps me sleep better.
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Old 08-02-2011, 14:23   #14
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Hey, Chef-of-the-Sea, my sentiments exactly! Cheers, Capt Phil
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Old 08-02-2011, 15:02   #15
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Check with the manufacturer for their recommended service frequency. SOLAS liferafts, used commercially are invariably required to be serviced annually. If you are not operating commercially, you can pretty much choose your own re-service date.

But bear in mind that you are trusting your life and that of your crew to that liferaft, so don't think that you can save a few hundred bucks by leaving your liferaft for years and years unserviced, because when you pull on that painter line, you are really, really gonna need that liferaft to work. Is it really worth scrimping?

If I was living aboard and making offshore passages with any regularity I'd probably want to get our liferaft serviced every 3 to 4 years. Bear in mind, that if you do get your liferaft serviced, and it does not require a commercial certification, there is no reason why you cannot ask the service agent to pack whatever you want (provided there is room for it in the container, which is a big "if" because there isn't much spare room in there).
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