Originally Posted by rancher44
I have a 6 person life raft that the inspection has expired .
How long is it still safe to use before having it inspection again .
The raft is in a canister .
What is the normal cost for repacking
As others have mentioned, there are many variables:
Age of liferaft
Last repack date
How and where it is stored
Brand and model
We went through this in 2014 repacking the Winslow 6 person offshore
that came with the boat
. We learned a lot taking it to a resource that mostly packs commercial equipment
boats, etc.] They even opened and inflated ours and spent 2 hours walking us through everything in our own raft. [Don't miss that opportunity.]
I asked him what shortens a raft's lifespan. He indicated heat was #1. Hence he recommends valice rafts where feasible so they can be stored away from heat. He also mentioned vacuum packed rafts fare better and live longer...
When we were finished, I asked the owner what raft/brand we should buy for offshore work
once the Winslow ages out. Without hesitation he recommended the Viking RescYou Pro
. [And that was not a brand they sell...]
Armed with that information, I stopped by the Viking [and other liferafts] booth at the Seattle Boat Show
in Jan-2015. They appeared to be very high quality at an excellent price
. If there was one downside, the tubes are black rubber, and smell like it. I suspect it would be unpleasant at first to be confined to an inner tube that smelled like one... [But that would be the least of my worries...]
Perhaps there are others here on the forum who have 1st hand info regarding the Viking RescYou Pro model?
I mention this in case you need to get a new raft...
Another comment re: using a commercial repacker: I asked if they had any expired pyrotechnics I could relieve them of. He asked me what and how many. I asked if 6 SOLAS parachute flairs would be greedy of me. I walked out with 2 large boxes containing commercial pyrotechnic signaling devices [smoke canisters, hand-helds, die packs, streamers, parachutes, etc.] what would have cost me $thousands, and most were only out of date by one year or less... [It never hurts to ask... Of course, we keep fresh dated signaling devices onboard to meet the letter of the law...]
How long do liferafts last? Our Winslow is 15 years old and- per our last repacker- may recertify once or twice again. [Giving it an estimated lifespan of 20-23 years... But only time will tell...]
On the other hand... In the past I owned a well known brand-name valise raft that I had for 12 years. It was stored in the climate controlled garage when not on the boat
during the 4 month sailing season. That raft failed its 4th recertification [at the age of 12] The thing looked shredded like someone took a razor to it. I had it repacked every 3 years, so something happened those last 3 years, and this was in Alaska
so it never saw any real heat (nor freeze-thaw cycles as during that time I was summer sailing only...) I figured it cost me over $800/sailing season [$200/sailing month] for that raft... This experience demonstrates why we have them recertified...
Unless something changes, I would buy a Viking Pro for about half what the others cost once our Winslow bites the dust...
Best of luck with your raft- and may you never need it...