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Old 30-11-2006, 11:47   #31
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Perceptions Count

There are clearly a few scenarios in which a life raft would save lives on a cruising cat. The probability is low for these scenarios happening, so if you did a cost benefit analysis with the probability factored in there would be a whole set of other equipment you should buy first, e.g. a decent anchor, series drogue or good comms equipment.

Similarly, if you attempt to calculate survivability and factor in weight and its impact on
1. speed (ability to avoid collision, avoid bad weather and reach a safe haven)
2. influence on risk behaviours
3. affect on positive buoyancy
you might actually find it’s safer not having a life raft.

Frankly, we don't have the information to make these calculations and if we did they would still neglect the human factor. Life rafts are important because of people's perceptions. They provide comfort and security in thought if not reality. The lack of them provides discomfort and insecurity in equal measure. The comfort and security life rafts provide are not confined to the owner/purchaser; they extend to everyone who sails on the boat and anyone who knows them. It is a hard-hearted owner who can deprive these people of that peace of mind.

Personally, I don't think life rafts are worth the cost, space and weight, but we will be buying a life raft for our new Lagoon 420 for the peace of mind it will bring to others.

Chris
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Old 30-11-2006, 12:11   #32
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I have no great opnion on liferafts (apart from not beleiving anything onboard should be compulsory), at present I don't have one and sail further than I can swim (about 10 metres!), albeit I am not crossing any oceans. I reckon if I did start sinking I would wish that I had a liferaft - but in the meantime I limit my risks through maintanence (including of the holes in the bottom!), keeping a good lookout and navigating to avoid rocks. Of course I am not avoiding all risks - but enough for me to feel comfortable with. (and no, I do not expect anyone to come and rescue me if things go wrong, although it would be appreciated!).

If (when?!) I go further afield I will probably get a liferaft. Why?, dunno really! maybe it is more the perceived sense of safety / refuge of last resort rather than the practical use? - but I would not say one is 100% essential for extended voyaging. Far more important is a sound boat and an ability to not turn a drama into a crisis!

Quote:
Originally Posted by GordMay

I (personally) would not require a life-raft on any boat valued at less than $250,000 - but that’s where MY comfort level lies.
Having said the above, I am kinda puzzled by this reasoning. Can you explain how the value of the boat comes into the equation?

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Old 30-11-2006, 16:55   #33
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Quote:
Originally Posted by 420Hull58
Personally, I don't think life rafts are worth the cost, space and weight, but we will be buying a life raft for our new Lagoon 420 for the peace of mind it will bring to others.

Chris
I agree on the first bit, but who are you buying the cat for, you or your mates?
They can always go sailing on that other free 42 footer if they feel uncomfortable.

Dave
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Old 01-12-2006, 10:32   #34
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Sonosailor
How do you feel about the necessity of the liferaft, for ocean voyaging? (emphasis added)
What Paul said:

Quote:
Originally Posted by PBlais
Security is a state of mind.
It's like drivin' around with no spare.
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Old 01-12-2006, 11:26   #35
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A life raft is only *necessary* if your vessel is commercially regulated and that regulations requires you to have one.

Other than that, it is your personal choice to have or not have safety systems and how many redundant layers (liferaft, plus dinghy?, plus watertight doors?, plus bouyancy? or nothing?) you choose.

If you chose right, or the gods had something better to do, you live to talk about it. If your choice was wrong or you po'd Poseidon...you're gone.

Oddly enough all the ocean racing and safety organizations (such as the ORC) seem to agree that life rafts are a good idea for ocean travel, irregardless of how unsinkable your boat is. They might all be wrong. Or not.<G>

I'll certainly agree life rafts are a ridiculous expense. Any any skydiver if he'd pay an annual fee to have some stranger pack his chute...or if he'd rather pack it himself. Any industry that assumes I'm an idiot who can't be trusted to repack my own life support equipment, is an inductry I'll have problems dealing with. I resent the h@ll out of the attittude that "It's a life raft, that's way too complicated and important to let you deal with it yourself." It's plastic and gas, not rocket science.
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Old 01-12-2006, 15:21   #36
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Self Service...

Are there any liferafts available that you could service yourself?
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Old 01-12-2006, 15:49   #37
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Quote:
Originally Posted by hellosailor
Ask any skydiver if he'd pay an annual fee to have some stranger pack his chute...or if he'd rather pack it himself.
I would choose a better analogy than this. In an earlier life, I jumped out of planes. I learned to pack my own chute and did so everytime. Because I packed my own chute frequently, I became good at it and became confident enough that I'd risk using the same person (ie me) to pack both chutes.

For a liferaft it is not the same. The average sailor is not getting any more pcking experience than the annual shake out. *My* preference would be to find someone who does this regularly and in whom I have some confidence in their character to do this for me. Once a year's practice is not enough (for me) for something I need to know is done right.

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Old 01-12-2006, 16:14   #38
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Steve-
I guess that depends on how good a judge of character you are, and how easily you will give confidence and respect to someone that you've met all of once in a commercial dealing. I'd rather be sitting the the water saying "D@mn! I repacked it wrong!" than wondering if the guy at the refit station was po'd at his wife or hung over when he did my raft. At least if I'm hung over, I'd have the sense not to repack lifesaving equipment. After the confirmed report into the one station that packed, what was it boots or bricks? into someone's cannister, thank you, but "authorized repack" just doesn't mean much to me. I've known authorized surgeons to botch jobs (who knows why but they do) and authorized mechanics to screw up my car, including the brake system. Authorized and trained is very nice...but when push comes to shove, I'm the only one who really has INCENTIVE for paying attention to the job.
In a way this is very much like routine auto maintenance--no harder than doing a tuneup and a brake pad change. If you're making $200/hour and don't have the time, good on ya. Just let the repack guy know, if it doesn't deploy, your will has a provision to put a contract out on him.<G>
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Old 01-12-2006, 16:30   #39
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Quote:
Are there any liferafts available that you could service yourself?
Sure. All of them. It's just a matter of if they will open when required. The process that makes them small and easily stored also makes them a real trick to put back in the box so they just pop out when you pull the cord.

It's not so easy to pack one then test it and repack it and test it tiil you have it right. You can damage one if not packed properly so it can be worse than it was just difficult to open.
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Old 01-12-2006, 22:07   #40
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Some may be better than others...

Ok, so I could service a liferaft myself.
I assume the process is one of inflating the raft, checking for leaks, deflating and repacking. There are probably other components (I am no expert on liferafts) that are checked or replaced.
Maybe a little digression.
I once worked with a girl who flew gliders.
One day she brought her (mandatory) parachute into work to show us.(She had just brought herself a moderatly expensive glider).
So I asked how she could be so sure the parachute would open.
I forget exactly how it worked but the arrangement was such that if one pulled the ripcord that parachute just had to open.
As luck would have it she was flying a few weeks later when she heard a little "klink" as the connecting pin for the ailerlons fell out.
The ailerons then developed uncontrollerable flutter and she was advised to bail out.
So she reluctantly climbed out jumped away and gave the ripcord a pull.
Nothing happened.
She thought "Is tht all there is.." and gave the cord a determind last pull and the parachute opened.
And my point is that one really needs to be fully familiar with all safety equipment.
Finding out the fine points about a liferaft as one was stepping up may not be a good idea.
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Old 02-12-2006, 04:02   #41
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Quote:
I assume the process is one of inflating the raft, checking for leaks, deflating and repacking.
As much as packing a parachute is checking for rips stuffing it in a bag.
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Old 02-12-2006, 05:11   #42
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SERVICING REQUIREMENTS FOR INFLATABLE SURVIVAL EQUIPMENT
http://laws.justice.gc.ca/en/S-9/C.R...36/211831.html


”The Life Raft: Don't Leave Your Ship Without It” ~ by Steven Callahan
Renowned marine survival authority and author Steven Callahan, a survivor of 76 days adrift himself, shares some insights about what to expect from a life raft. All life rafts are a compromise, Callahan offers some thoughts on these compromises from his unique perspective.
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Abandon Ship Bag Recommendations
ETS takes a detailed look at what equipment and supplies should be included in an Abandon Ship Bag. More than just a list, this article provides the information you need to set priorities and make decisions about what to include.
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Old 03-12-2006, 04:06   #43
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To me, a liferaft is just another tool(option) in a given scenario. Staying on the ship as long as possible if gives you a last resort. The same for epirbs, dsc, flares etc.
If you decide to use it is good if it is there. If it is not there, you have no choice.
Still, it is up to everyone.
I carry a 6P bfa Pacific in a container and on my lagoon it is also accesible if the boat is turtled. Of course one should visit a course on how to enter it, turn it around etc.
After such a course you will also equip your lifevest with a sprayhood and crotchstrap, if artificial waves were applied in the water

But it is everyones own decision.

if you always manage to:
-Keep the boat in the water
-Keep the water out of the boat
-Keep the people in the boat

you will never have to use it i guess

Michael
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Old 03-12-2006, 05:15   #44
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Quote:
Originally Posted by hellosailor
I'd rather be sitting the the water saying "D@mn! I repacked it wrong!" than wondering if the guy at the refit station was po'd at his wife or hung over when he did my raft.
This is a very natural response and most of us feel that way. However, if you're 10 times more likely to make a mistake because of your lack of experience that someone else is through negligence, how does feeling better about a poor outcome become more preferable to taking on greater risk? Now of course you can put in a lot of practice and make yourself better. This leads to doing everything yourself. For me, this is too extreme. Somewhere down the line, I have a threshhold because this consumes time I'd rather spend doing something else. In my case, I would pack my own parachute but leave packing a liferaft to someone else.

Quote:
Originally Posted by hellosailor
I've known authorized surgeons to botch jobs (who knows why but they do)
I think this is some combination of surgery being a tad complex and surgeon's being human. Does this imply you do your own surgery too?
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