- - There are rating and proving evidence about life rafts available - Practical Sailor puts out results of their testing every few years. And inspection/repacking articles abound in all the sailing magazines. And periodically lists of "don't go there" repacking places also appear in the various magazines.
- - It is seriously suggested by all these sources that you be personally "on the spot" watching everything when your life raft is opened and inspected and then critically important to watch them put it all back together and seal it. That comes from more than a few reports of "empty" containers filled with assorted shop garbage instead of the raft all the way to sloppy or improper repacking that will prevent the unit from functioning.
- - Having or not having a life raft onboard is as personal as anything can be. Coastal and Island hopping never really gets you that far from shore that help is not reasonably available or that your dinghy or something else can assist you. But, crossing oceans is a whole different thing. You are really out there and hazards exist out there that do not exist or seriously threaten most island cruisers.
- - A well prepared and rigged boat will have equipment
and procedures available to patch minor leaks
. But getting a large chunk torn out of your hull
by floating containers or other debris and even collisions at night with unlighted freighters or other boats, submarines or whales can result in quickly having to "step up" into a life raft. Although statistically very remote
, these things still happen often enough to be seriously planned for - and that makes a life raft system a prudent decision.