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Old 25-01-2014, 08:34   #1
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valise or hard shell case for raft?

I am about to buy a Viking life raft. The valise type is cheaper but will take up space in lazarette . I don't really mind spending the extra $400 for a hard case but I'm concerned about how well it will be protected. Any comments? Any issues I'm forgetting.
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Old 25-01-2014, 09:48   #2
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Re: valise or hard shell case for raft?

I have a Viking 4-man USCG approved liferaft in the cannister that lives on deck. We made a fabric cover that fits over it for added protection from the sun and rain when we are at dock or anchor and it seems to help. Underway, the cover is removed so the raft can be immediately deployed.

If you have the room, I would keep a valise raft stored below deck next to the companionway or under the dodger - otherwise there is a good chance that it is going to eventually get damaged being stored in a locker.

A word about Viking rafts - while very nice and well made, they are incredibly expensive to have serviced and Viking will not deviate one tiny bit about what can be packed inside a raft.

Since my raft has is a USCG model, it is supposed to be serviced EVERY year even though it is on a non-commerical yacht. This was a problem of my own making as I wanted many of the features that were only available on an approved, commerical model (USCG) liferaft.

Since I bought my raft, a number of the "yacht" type of rafts now come with these features, so you might want to think about buying a raft made for use on yachts that have the extended service periods (3 to 5 years).

You might also want to think about buying a raft with only a "basic" or "inshore" survival gear pack and having your own "ditch bag". You can pack higher quality gear into it and "service" it on a regualr basis since you can open up the bag anytime you want. This is what my wife and I ended up doing.

Just my thoughts and what I have done.....
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Old 26-01-2014, 00:36   #3
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Re: valise or hard shell case for raft?

I know the newer rafts are wrapped in thin plastic of some sort that allows the repacking process to be extended so my points may or may not be valid however in the past the valice rafts tended to last longer. The reason was that rafts mounted under canisters above deck were exposed to heat and moisture. The heat cool cycle out doors can cause the moisture in the air to be trapped inside a raft and over time degrade parts that are susceptible to corroding. This usually does not happen when the raft is in a valice and stored below. This is more important to long distance cruisers who may not be able to have their raft serviced as often. Space is also another consideration and often it makes more sense to have it on deck if your short of room below decks.
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Old 26-01-2014, 01:42   #4
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Re: valise or hard shell case for raft?

Valise if it lives in a locker and hard shell if it lives on deck.
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