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Old 21-11-2017, 13:41   #1
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What Viking Liferafts do not tell you!

You buy a new viking life raft and you think it's good for a couple of years. But what Viking does not tell you is that the life raft must be inspected anywhere from 1 to 2 years - depending on the country of your yacht registrations. Neither do they tell you the cost of these inspection/service of their life rafts. That the inspection is so damn expensive, you can almost buy a new life raft instead!

In my case, the life raft needs to be inspected yearly which I have just done. I just paid US$2108 to do the inspection and certification on my Viking RescYou 8 Person Liferaft with Container. No repairs was required - they only restocked the contents with new. I can buy this exact life raft new for around $3000.

It feels like I'm locked in and now being ripped off! Is this a scam to make quick money or is this the situation for all other life rafts?
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File Type: pdf VIKING UKL. UKSL. UKCL SERVICE INTERVAL (3).pdf (139.8 KB, 69 views)
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Old 21-11-2017, 15:11   #2
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Re: What Viking Liferafts do not tell you!

Not sure it is Viking's fault that some countries require shorter inspections. My RescuPro4 is set for a 3 year reinspection. Being a non-commercial US registered boat I can decide how long I want to wait to repack all the way to never doing it.
The repack costs from a factory approved site are a rip-off. They know they have you. I ended up paying over 50% of the new price for a repack after 4 years.
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Old 21-11-2017, 15:13   #3
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Re: What Viking Liferafts do not tell you!

Where are you? I'm in the very litigious US and have a six person Viking RescYou. The inspection interval is 3 years. Unless you're a commercial boat I don't think there is any law saying you must do the inspection on schedule. If you're doing ocean racing then you probably would have to stay current so as to comply with race regs. Otherwise if the same life raft is good for three years in one country and one year in another county I wouldn't feel bad doing the inspection every three years no matter where I am. As for content I'm much more interested in keeping my ditch-kit current with the right stuff than worrying about the usefulness of stuff packed in the life raft. I consider those items a bonus, my ditch-kit is essential.
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Old 21-11-2017, 15:37   #4
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Re: What Viking Liferafts do not tell you!

Marine stores that cater to commercial fishermen often have repacking services for most brands and are much more reasonable than your example.
The main reason for repack is the consumables that are really good for years longer than the repack schedule.
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Old 21-11-2017, 19:46   #5
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Re: What Viking Liferafts do not tell you!

You buy a car and the state you're in requires registration, license plate fees and a safety inspection every year. The state I'm in doesn't have safety inspections, and the plates are good for two years. GM calls for oil changes every few thousand miles. It's not their fault- or Viking's - that political entities have requirements that are more onerous than what the manufacturer suggests. Try sailing to New Zealand to find out more about requirements than you ever wanted to know.
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Old 22-11-2017, 07:39   #6
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Re: What Viking Liferafts do not tell you!

Depending on where you are, perhaps it is worth considering re-flagging the boat to a jurisdiction with less stringent requirements :-)
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Old 22-11-2017, 09:29   #7
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Re: What Viking Liferafts do not tell you!

Go Dutch... not even required to have a life raft.
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Old 22-11-2017, 09:33   #8
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Re: What Viking Liferafts do not tell you!

Quote:
Originally Posted by psk125 View Post
... Try sailing to New Zealand to find out more about requirements than you ever wanted to know.
And whilst you're correct about some of the Cat 1 requirements here in NZ, liferaft inspections are certainly much less costly. About NZ$1,200 (USA$900 approx.) for the same Viking service (assumption that it's a non Commercial). Plus, if you want to you can also watch the service provider and add more items to the pack.

Extra items I'd add include:
decent hand held fishing gear
a kite (for signalling much further over the horizon)
handheld GPS and PLB

What would others add?
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Old 22-11-2017, 09:38   #9
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Re: What Viking Liferafts do not tell you!

Quote:
Originally Posted by grantmc View Post
And whilst you're correct about some of the Cat 1 requirements here in NZ, liferaft inspections are certainly much less costly. About NZ$1,200 (USA$900 approx.) for the same Viking service (assumption that it's a non Commercial). Plus, if you want to you can also watch the service provider and add more items to the pack.

Extra items I'd add include:
decent hand held fishing gear
a kite (for signalling much further over the horizon)
handheld GPS and PLB

What would others add?
A laser flare and LED headlamps with batteries. I also have a PUR 30 handheld watermaker. It's minimal, but could save your life in places with SAR resources are distant or absent.
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Old 22-11-2017, 09:43   #10
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Re: What Viking Liferafts do not tell you!

Quote:
Originally Posted by grantmc View Post
(snip)
Extra items I'd add include:
decent hand held fishing gear
a kite (for signalling much further over the horizon)
handheld GPS and PLB

What would others add?
The kite is a great idea! I probably wouldn’t have thought of a kite until I saw that distant freighter pass out of sight. Thanks!
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Old 22-11-2017, 09:51   #11
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Re: What Viking Liferafts do not tell you!

Viking is pretty much the most expensive liferaft on the market to own and service.

My experience is only with Zodiac (leisure/recreational). They're trying very hard to bring down service costs & parts costs.

Honestly, from a labor perspective, a company will only have 2 to 3 hours in to packing a liferaft if their equipment is set up efficiently.

The "annual" service, which starts at usually 3 years, is very fast. For Zodiac, it only takes about 1 hour of labor to accomplish.

Parts list for a Zodiac "offshore" ISO9650-1 approved raft:
  • vacuum bag (~$150)
  • foam protections (included with vac bag)
  • hose o-rings / head gaskets (~$5)
  • 3x hand flares (SOLAS) (~$75)
  • 2x aerial flares (SOLAS) (~$80)
  • survival water ($20)
  • anti-seasickness pills (~$10)
  • flashlight batteries (~$5)
  • firing head arming kit (~$100)
  • straps + crimps (container) (~$25)
  • anti-tamper wire crimp (valise) (~$10)

Zodiac ISO approved leisure/recreational rafts = 3 year service interval, 12 year warranty. At 15 years old, it goes to a 1 year service interval. To maintain the warranty, the raft must be serviced at the 3 year intervals.
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Old 22-11-2017, 09:54   #12
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Re: What Viking Liferafts do not tell you!

Quote:
Originally Posted by messias View Post
Go Dutch... not even required to have a life raft.
And you each pay your share (?)

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Old 22-11-2017, 10:27   #13
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Re: What Viking Liferafts do not tell you!

the cost seems excessive as well does the yearly inspection. what does the inspection include, do they inflate it and leak check it for 24 hours, and who requires the yearly inspection.
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Old 22-11-2017, 10:34   #14
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Re: What Viking Liferafts do not tell you!

Go Dutch...

I paid 300 euros to Jacobs Lifesaving in The Netherlands to service and repack my Givens 6 man offshore liferaft.

The story gets better when I tell you that when the Givens was 3 days old, it got washed overboard in the Gulf of Maine, didn't inflate and floated until we were able to come about and haul it back on board. It had been lying on the cockpit sole and I thought that was a secure place.

I didn't open it for five years until I delivered it to Jacobs Lifesaving. When they inflated it, the arming device had severe corrosion, anything aluminum was turned to oxide and it was all my fault for not securing it to the boat and then not having it service upon my arrival in Europe from the US.

I know I got a great deal from them as they replaced all the corroded equipment. They normally service liferafts from commercial vessels. They went through all the emergency supplies and made suggestions about what I need for the range of voyaging I am currently doing. I don't need water for 30 days when I am 15 miles off the coast of France.

All I am trying to say is that there are "good guys" out there, one just has to find them. 50% of replacement cost is a bit much.

The pirates we need to worry about the most are the ones on land.
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Old 22-11-2017, 11:04   #15
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Re: What Viking Liferafts do not tell you!

Quote:
Originally Posted by grantmc View Post
And whilst you're correct about some of the Cat 1 requirements here in NZ, liferaft inspections are certainly much less costly. About NZ$1,200 (USA$900 approx.) for the same Viking service (assumption that it's a non Commercial). Plus, if you want to you can also watch the service provider and add more items to the pack.

Extra items I'd add include:
decent hand held fishing gear
a kite (for signalling much further over the horizon)
handheld GPS and PLB

What would others add?
Parachute flare. They last a lot longer than an aerial flare.
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