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Old 29-10-2009, 11:49   #1
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Liferaft Inside or Out?

After having read many accounts of life raft deployment under adverse conditions I was wondering what the members think about the placement of the liferaft, i.e. outside in a mount or inside the vessel, as well as your reasons why. I am opting for the inside the vessel theory thinking that rafts have been ripped from mountings by severe waves, difficulty deploying raft from deck in darkness and severe weather, etc.
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Old 29-10-2009, 12:04   #2
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If a raft can be ripped from its mountings then there is something wrong with the mountings. Rafts should be able to deploy by themselves which means no or minimal human intervention. If a raft is inside this definitely means human intervention. It will not always be the case that a raft can be lifted from inside to outside. Sometimes there will not be the time for this or you might be injured or the person expected to do this does not have the strength or the weather or boats motion may make it difficult or impossible. It could also be disastrous if the liferaft accidentally inflated below decks. I have never seen an in service liferaft stowed inside a commercial vessel. They are always on deck. Also, a hydrostatic release would be a worthless piece of hardware if the raft is stowed inside

I think it is much safer to have it outside.
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Old 29-10-2009, 12:45   #3
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We keep our life raft inside. No room on deck.
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Old 29-10-2009, 12:53   #4
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Mines in a soft case in the boat,
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Old 29-10-2009, 13:07   #5
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premature inflation is a problem... inside or out (but i haven't heard that this is very common).

liferafts are a BIG investment, and they're useless unless maintained in top shape with prescribed service. keeping the raft inside does allow longer life and cheaper service. with good discipline on location & access during voyages, this doesn't take much away from the safety program, does it?
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Old 29-10-2009, 13:49   #6
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Adrenaline or not, those freakin' things are HEAVY! That's one of the main reasons why we opted for outside mounting. That and the fact that there's no room below.

-Steve
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Old 29-10-2009, 14:21   #7
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My liferaft is stored in a shallow cockpit locker. IMHO, it's better protected (from sun, wave impact, theft, etc.) there than in a transom or deck cradle and still relatively easy to deploy.

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Old 29-10-2009, 15:09   #8
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The designer of our boat had this in mind when he designed it. Ours is in a dedicated locker behind the wheel. Makes a good backrest for the "beach" and a good step up to the rear of the boom:

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Old 29-10-2009, 15:23   #9
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First choice - a dedicated locker in the cockpit
second choice, soft case below near the companionway (yes I've had one ripped off the deck, the fastenings didn't fail the deck did, left a nice hole)
third choice - a boat that won't sink (multihull or lots of foam) then don't bother with a raft. Have a solid , sailable, maneoverable dinghy ready for deployment if you need to get off.
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Old 29-10-2009, 15:32   #10
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dana,
If your boat can't sink, it might burn.

A few months ago, I saw a story in a magazine about a trimaran whose center hull burned completely. The crew had to cling to the floats for some time before being rescued. They would have liked to have a liferaft.

Alain
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Old 29-10-2009, 15:34   #11
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My concern with deck mounted hydrostatic release rafts is the possibility of it getting caught in the rigging or lines, especially since they don't release until a few meters below the surface. Thoughts?
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Old 29-10-2009, 15:51   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by scubasteve View Post
My concern with deck mounted hydrostatic release rafts is the possibility of it getting caught in the rigging or lines, especially since they don't release until a few meters below the surface. Thoughts?
That is always a possibility but I dont see a perfect solution with life rafts. The choice comes down to what is most likely to work.
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Old 29-10-2009, 16:29   #13
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if you have to step UP to your liferaft, how are you gonna get it out of your lazarette to use it?????????
is best on deck where it belongs.........
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Old 29-10-2009, 19:18   #14
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A lazzerette designed specifically for the life raft is probably best. It accessible from on deck, yet protected from seas and a roll. Most boats don't have them. While below decks might be a good second, they are heavy. It is likely that you will be at least bruised, if not injured before you need to bring the thing on deck. Secondly, while it is nice to say always step up to the liferaft, one big reason to take to a raft is an uncontrollable fire. In a fire situation, going below to get the raft is probably not practical.

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Old 29-10-2009, 19:25   #15
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Read this blog. Art and Sea in Provence :: s/v Sean Seamour II - the final log entry It has a really good description of how seriously dangerous life raft deployment can be...these guys had to step up.
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