I have a Viking 4-man USCG approved liferaft
in the cannister that lives on deck
. We made a fabric
cover that fits over it for added protection from the sun and rain when we are at dock
and it seems to help. Underway, the cover is removed so the raft can be immediately deployed.
If you have the room, I would keep a valise raft stored below deck
next to the companionway
or under the dodger
- otherwise there is a good chance that it is going to eventually get damaged being stored in a locker.
A word about Viking rafts - while very nice and well made, they are incredibly expensive to have serviced and Viking will not deviate one tiny bit about what can be packed inside a raft.
Since my raft has is a USCG model, it is supposed to be serviced EVERY year even though it is on a non-commerical yacht. This was a problem of my own making as I wanted many of the features that were only available on an approved, commerical model (USCG) liferaft
Since I bought my raft, a number of the "yacht" type of rafts now come with these features, so you might want to think about buying
a raft made for use on yachts that have the extended service
periods (3 to 5 years).
You might also want to think about buying
a raft with only a "basic" or "inshore" survival gear
pack and having your own "ditch bag". You can pack higher quality gear
into it and "service" it on a regualr basis since you can open up the bag anytime you want. This is what my wife and I ended up doing.
Just my thoughts and what I have done.....