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Old 10-05-2018, 11:01   #16
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Re: Emergency Life Raft Recommendations

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Originally Posted by Emouchet View Post
I just bought a brand new one from Fitzwright. ISO-9650-1 certified, meeting ISAF offshore regulation. About CA$1700 for a 4 person.
When it comes to life saving equipment, why do I get nervous when I scratch the surface and find a Chinese manufacturer? In addition, I have read there are reasons to be concerned about the ISO-9650 spec.

I love my wife and I love our life together. When it comes to safety, I personally feel you get what you pay for.
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Old 10-05-2018, 11:14   #17
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Re: Emergency Life Raft Recommendations

I like the Viking RescYou Pro liferaft - I have the 6 man canister version. I like them because they are sturdy, self righting in the event they inflate upside down, which removes 1 issue & makes it more likely I could get into the liferaft while still dry. They also have a small inflatable boarding platform to help get into it from the water if necessary, & an inflatable floor for insulation. Not cheap, but a good long lasting package. You can only do the best you can. Here is their website:
https://www.viking-life.com/en/yacht...llow-4-persons.

They are a global company. Im just a satisfied customer. Their service network is pretty good, too. Hope that helps. & hope you never need to use it for real...!
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Old 10-05-2018, 11:29   #18
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Re: Emergency Life Raft Recommendations

Check out SeaSafe. I think they are a French brand. Around $2,500 for a four person canistered.

If youíre going to keep it in a locker why do you want a canister type? Valise would be lighter and more compact. Just move it to the top of the locker before a passage.
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Old 10-05-2018, 12:08   #19
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Re: Emergency Life Raft Recommendations

Note: You didn't mention the flag of the vessel. EU (CE) approved rafts, PFDs, signaling devices and probably a lot of other stuff marked EU (CE) approved will not cut it with the US Coast Guard if on a US flagged vessel even though it might be superior equipment. Also, I doubt EU authorities will buy USCG approved gear on and EU country flagged vessel.

We bought a French flagged vessel with EU safety gear and had to replace it all with USCG approved when we reflagged the boat US.
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Old 10-05-2018, 13:04   #20
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Re: Emergency Life Raft Recommendations

US flagged vessel heading out of the country as soon as itís ready.
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Old 10-05-2018, 14:34   #21
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Re: Emergency Life Raft Recommendations

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Check out SeaSafe. I think they are a French brand. Around $2,500 for a four person canistered.

If youíre going to keep it in a locker why do you want a canister type? Valise would be lighter and more compact. Just move it to the top of the locker before a passage.
Thatís good advice, I assumed the valise would be larger.
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Old 10-05-2018, 20:06   #22
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Re: Emergency Life Raft Recommendations

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I think the life raft on our 53 is an Avon. I might consider just bringing it back in three weeks when I return from Italy if it's practical. Do you know how much it costs to service a 16 year old raft, or am I better off just buying a new one?

Another issue: We plan to place the 62 into the Oyster Charter fleet next season, so maybe going all new is the way to go since I'll need to buy a second 4 person raft.
I also have an old Avon 4-man raft. I have not been able to find a cost effective service / re-pack. Basically, what I've been told is that since Avon is no longer selling rafts, there are fewer and fewer technicians qualified to re-pack the rafts.

If you find a good, economical service solution for an Avon raft, I would be interested to hear about it.
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Old 11-05-2018, 07:55   #23
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Re: Emergency Life Raft Recommendations

Ocean Safety now offer three years between service, which over the time period almost equals the price of a new life raft. They also have service agreements in most European countries. Hope this helps
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Old 11-05-2018, 13:18   #24
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Re: Emergency Life Raft Recommendations

"EU (CE) approved will not cut it with the US Coast Guard if on a US flagged"
Ergh, not quite. The USCG has no say in the matter of life rafts on recreational vessels. On "mandatory" i.e. commercial vessels, they do. But the OP has not given us any reason to think his vessel is commercial.

"an inflatable dinghy that I use as a tender, and I have a SPOT Satellite Personal Tracker, if needed I would use the SPOT and get into my dinghy and wait to be rescued within hours."
What is this, Mythbusters?
That will work just fine in good weather along the Florida coast. Not so much in the Atlantic. Unballasted dinghies, just like the older now obsolete unballasted life rafts, will be dumped and swamped in any heavy storm. You'll be in the ocean very quickly. That's why all offshore life rafts pretty much all come with ballast pockets of some kind now.
And while SPOT may be all well and good...you are relying on a private service, a private company, adding another layer of confusion when you send the lower power distress signal to a private satellite network (Iridium) instead of the higher power longer duration of an EPRIB or PLB to the COSPAS-SARSAT program. When any private vendor passes a distress message to COSPAS-SARSAT, there is a time delay AND extra opportunies for confusion. IIRC about three years ago a member used SPOT to send out a request for a tow, outside Miami. The tow company couldn't find him--because someone had given the vessel co-ordinates apparently in the wrong co-ordinate system. Hopefully they've learned not to do that any more.

But transatlantic? SPOT beats nothing but it wouldn't be my choice.

Kenomac-
I would suggest looking for ISO, ISAF, SOLAS, other standards met and exceeded in all ways. But also to look at the service LOCATIONS and costs, along with the service interval, for the raft. Some of them vary quite a bit. Presuming you intend to keep it after the passage...I'd look at a maker with a reputation, and skip over the new (very tempting) Chinese products as simply being unproven in this market. I'm sure someone in China is making life rafts for a lot of domestic boats, but I'm not sure their standards are quite the same. (Reviews are great, but come back in ten years and see what's held up.)
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Old 11-05-2018, 15:14   #25
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Re: Emergency Life Raft Recommendations

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Originally Posted by hellosailor View Post
"EU (CE) approved will not cut it with the US Coast Guard if on a US flagged"
Ergh, not quite. The USCG has no say in the matter of life rafts on recreational vessels. On "mandatory" i.e. commercial vessels, they do. But the OP has not given us any reason to think his vessel is commercial.
If itís in a charter fleet does it qualify as commercial?

Ken, good luck on the crossing.
FWIW, I have an 84 Avon 9.5 that nearly indestructible. But who knows if Plastimo is same quality.
I picked up a Switlik Sar-6 that self inflated in owners absence. I reinflated it. Itís made very well and quite robust, good quality. Available in valaise or hard container. Coastguard drops these out of copters.
My photo shows the arch collapsed but itís pinched in the space on my trailer.
Online pics are more reliable. Ahh canít get photo to stick....
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Old 11-05-2018, 18:26   #26
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Re: Emergency Life Raft Recommendations

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Forget the idea of bringing the life raft back on a plane, that won't work.

Or will it? Does anyone know if these are allowed on airlines?


I have brought several small ones back in a commercial plane, always flying from central and South America, your supposed to remove the inflation canister, no compressed gasses allowed. If it has flares in it, that will be another problem, Iím sure flares are a no no.
That was never a problem for me, however the idiot CBP people in Atlanta felt like they had to open the thing, finally got it backed duct taped into a huge ball.
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Old 11-05-2018, 19:19   #27
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Re: Emergency Life Raft Recommendations

Iíll go ahead and follow up on all the good leads provided and look at getting one thatís also appropriate for charter service in the Med.
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Old 12-05-2018, 00:00   #28
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Re: Emergency Life Raft Recommendations

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Originally Posted by AJ_n_Audrey View Post
I also have an old Avon 4-man raft. I have not been able to find a cost effective service / re-pack. Basically, what I've been told is that since Avon is no longer selling rafts, there are fewer and fewer technicians qualified to re-pack the rafts.

If you find a good, economical service solution for an Avon raft, I would be interested to hear about it.
There are several service points in the Solent area. The existence of the Avon company is irrelevant - there are no non-generic parts. I pay £100 (from memory) for each of my two Avon rafts for the testing and servicing, but the big expense is the consumables. But that can be managed if you are using a friendly service point like Universal Safety, by bringing your own flares, water, food, seasick pills, and by refusing the expensive canopy light battery replacement if it lights up ok. Every so many years you have to hydro test the cylinder, which costs something. But those Avon rafts are built like tanks and last a long time. I always witness the servicing. Interval is three years for the vacuum packed ones, so I find the expense to be actually rather reasonable.

For Ken: Seago was the best "budget buy" in a PBO test, and like everything from Seago, they are excellently designed (I use Seago life jackets), but just keep in mind that the useful life is less than really good rafts. Universal Safety told me that they are often not worth servicing after 5 or 6 years and should be considered disposable. Failure mode is the seams give out, whereupon the raft is condemned.

Quality is expensive in something like this because of the expensive materials and labor intensive manufacturing. I might in your place suck it up and go with something really good like a Viking.
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Old 12-05-2018, 01:44   #29
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Re: Emergency Life Raft Recommendations

I think the first decision is to think about which state flag the yacht will be sailing under for charter work. This will dictate the rules that need to be followed.

If it's going to be a UK vessel, then studying this document is essential for any skipper or owner. Annex I refers to liferafts as well as the main PDF.

https://www.gov.uk/government/public...-use-for-sport
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Old 12-05-2018, 03:45   #30
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Re: Emergency Life Raft Recommendations

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I think the first decision is to think about which state flag the yacht will be sailing under for charter work. This will dictate the rules that need to be followed.

If it's going to be a UK vessel, then studying this document is essential for any skipper or owner. Annex I refers to liferafts as well as the main PDF.

https://www.gov.uk/government/public...-use-for-sport
USA flagged.
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