I am looking and purchasing a liferaft for my 34' Californian. I've decided on a 6 man size. Upon researching I found out that options abound galore so decisions need to be made. Becasue of this I would like some input from you guys. After I bring her up here most of my cruising and fishing will be within 50 to 60 miles of the coast and we will be based out of Seward. As you guys know, a liferaft is necessary only when all else goes wrong and there are no other options.
What brands have been good for you guys and do you run offshore or coastal models. How often do you have them serviced (recreational boats) and how much has the service fees been. Any other information on liferafts is welcome.
My 2 cents. If you're offshore that far consider an A pack raft. I wouldn't buy one larger than necessary. If possible, have the dealer show you a demo model that is inflated and get yourself familiar with it. Several good brands out there.
A little story. I had to get in one once. It was a 6 man Switlik. Shelikof in Dec. with winds 100 mph steady and gusting higher, temps in the single digits. Raft was a POS. Couldn't find the much needed knife. Sides wouldn't close etc. ACR 406 EPIRB was how they found us. Chopper crew chose not to turn back (by all rights they should have) and all 5 are alive because of them. They recieved the Distinguished Flying Cross for that rescue. USCG Rocks!!!!