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Thread: liferafts ? who has one ?

  1. #1
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    Default liferafts ? who has one ?

    I am looking hard at getting a life raft for my boat its not a big boat 22 seasport. It seem to be a very good insurance policy as any real rescue around south-central is probaly going to be an hr or more away by CG. I have a dingy raft for going ashore but dont really feel it is a viable liferaft if the sh$$ really hit the fan in bad weather.

    how many people have one and what do you have ?

    what do others think about having one ?

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    Moderator Paul H's Avatar
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    I don't have one, but have considered one. I carry both cold water survival suits and a dinghy. Honestly with the speed a small boat can go down and our cold water, I feel cold water survival suits are probaby a better choice.
    Those that are successful in Alaska are those who are flexible, and allow the reality of life in Alaska to shape their dreams, vs. trying to force their dreams on the reality of Alaska.

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  3. #3

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    Quote Originally Posted by Paul H View Post
    I don't have one, but have considered one. I carry both cold water survival suits and a dinghy. Honestly with the speed a small boat can go down and our cold water, I feel cold water survival suits are probaby a better choice.
    I would actually come to the opposite conclusion. With a boat going down quickly, what are the true odds that you would have enough time to retrieve, unbag, and put on a cold water survival suit? Much quicker to jump into a dinghy or life raft and then get the suit on once clear of the sinking/sunk boat.

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    Member tzieli22's Avatar
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    For my boat in Seward, yes I carry one. It came with my 31' Uniflite, but if it didn't, I would have picked one up. Plus if I do over nighters, I bring my Achilles or zodiak. I often think about picking up survival suites, but haven't yet. I look at it this way, if you can afford it, why not? You only get one life, depends on what it's worth I guess...
    Tony

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    I think EVERYONE who boats in saltwater should have survival suits onboard then worry about a raft. I keep my suit close to the cabin door and my PLB on the dash so its the first thing i'll grab if the poop hits the prop. I have a bungee on the PLB so i can throw it over my head and on to my chest/waist so its inside the suit.

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  6. #6

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    ...next on the list is 2 survival suits for the wife and myself as we are now starting to venture outside to "safe" inner passage!...which does lead some interesting questions about the suits:

    1.do I buy suits for all and any guests that agree to come aboard for fishing etc?
    2. do I insist that it is "their" responsibility to have a suit-that fits them and only then--they are allowed on board?
    3. am I responsible if they choose not to buy a suit and just wear a life jacket- and hopefully they make it into the life raft?
    4. will I "go down with the ship" as I give away my own suit so another may live to fish another day, because they choose to come onboard without one?
    5....etc, etc???---really don't know what the correct answer is??

    oh yah , the question was do we have a liferaft?..yes!! its a 9.5' Achilles!...sits on top of the pilot house, 95% of the time!
    here's a buddy taking "little pez" out for a "burn!!



    29' Wooldridge Pilot House, Twin 200 Hp Etecs! "...Pez Gordo..."
    18' Wooldridge Sport with 200 hp sport jet. "...Little Pez..."

  7. #7

    Default untrained adults & kids

    suits are great if you are trained and practiced at putting them on, now imagine your (or someone elses) wife & kids putting suits on, assuming you have one in their size, and can distribute them to everyone in time, and then there is your beer buzzed buddy who never saw one before either..........

    I think a real self inflating raft is the better choice if you have to pick between raft and suits, obviously both is better, but I'd go for the raft first, we are talking southcentral during summer, it is not -20 outside so you will survive in a raft without a suit. The raft must be accessible (they are big and weigh over 50lbs) so you can chuck it easilly or a self deploying (canister)

    All those dingies tied down in 4 places to the roof will go down with the ship, or get blown by the wind right out of your hands, unless everyting goes right........... and you have practiced getting it off quickly without spearing or tangling the side grab ropes on a hook on a rod in a rocket launcher.

  8. #8

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    I have an 8 man Winslow Life Raft. Great raft and great company. Keep in mind these style rafts need to be inspected and serviced every three years or so. I would spend the money on a raft over spending it on a suit. IMHO.

  9. #9

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    I keep a personal 406 beacon, knife and strobe on my PFD. The dingy on the roof is held on with two cam straps. The straps only needs to be cut once on each strap and it's free of the boat. The ditch bag is located where it is easy to grab and clip to the dingy. May not be perfect but seems I would probably be able to respond in most situations. No set up or system is perfect. I've used suits out of Dutch. They would be great to also have in addition, but practice or you can waste a lot of time. I think you decide what your comfortable with, set that up and actually do practice drills so you can respond in the least amount of time. Include others that might be regular crew members, have a little talk to give to others that come on board when you set off on an outing. My two cents. A good ditch bag is also a good idea.

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    well I went with getting a liferaft to be a little more comfortable when out on the water and no other boats are around. I did end up getting a commercial raft because it is the only type you can get seviced in alaska. No one in alaska is certified to service the personal life raft that cost less and with the shipping cost to seattle and back and the services inpection of the raft the cost would end up being about the same over the life of the raft.
    if anyone wanting more info on getting a raft I did alot of homework before getting one and would be happy to share what I learned about it.

  11. #11

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    Two years ago I purchased a Viking 6 person coastal liferaft at the Seattle Boat Show. The prices were very good as I recall. It was delivered to my boat in Everett a couple months before I cruised her up here. I went with a liferaft for many of the reasons given above though we also had borrowed survival suits for the trip up.
    I remember reading about a wooly that went down heading into Whittier after a bear hunt. It got swamped from the rear and was down instantly. As I recall, all they had was life jackets. Sometimes bad things happen so fast all you have is what is attached to your person. Wear a lifejacket of some sort. Carry a knife and if you have a PLB, it should be on your person. My liferaft is just inside the rear cabin door. All I have to do is wrap the loose end of the rope around a railing and through it overboard. No trying to slip my big belly into a suit.

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    I would go with a mustang, and a 10ft or 12ft Achilles or Zodiac and a PLB. A life raft has to be repacked every two years or so at a cost of over $1000. Remember never leave your main boat unless it is on fire. In my 21 years in the Coast Guard I have found boats that were flooded but not sunk with no one around, then recovered bodies miles away. Take a boating safety class that offers cold water survival training.

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    I did a lot of research both forehand and for NONE commercial use THE RAFT SHOULD be repacked every three years as what was recommended by eagle enterprises. I when with a raft that I could get serviced in alaska as not all rafts can be service by the services centers here in alaska so you need to check with the service center first not rely on what a manufacturer post on the website. Like revere I was going to buy one of their rafts but eagle enterprises is going to no longer service their none commercial raft.
    I also have a regular avon raft but 1 dont feel it is very deployble in an emergency and 2 in bad weather it going to be hard keeping it right side up. I use my little raft a far bit and know work it takes to get it in the water and if the weather was bad it would be very difficult for sure.

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    If you have a life raft on board and it is not up to date, and it fails to work when needed you will be held liable for any damage or loss of life.

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    Member breausaw's Avatar
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    Like some of you I consider the dink strapped on the roof to be the boats life raft. Before getting underway we flip it upright and attach the oars; 30 feet of line is attched to the bow and coiled inside the inflatable. A well equipped Ditch bag is always in the same place ready to grab. In a small boat say under 26 feet there is not really any room for storing survival suits for 3 to 5 people, float jackets makes more sense. We all use auto inflation PFDs and wear them when ever we leave the cockpit.
    If we were blue water sailing things would be different.
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  16. #16

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    We have a fully enclosed self inflating 6 man raft on our 27' SeaSport. As I take out a lot of friends and relatives survival suit training is as likely as flossing everyday. It is nice to know the raft is there if we ever need it, but as Fairbanks has nowhere to have them recharged the cost did not stop at the initial investment. Having the confidence to take my 14 month daughter to Hinchinbrook makes the cost priceless though...

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    It all gets down to economics, training, and space. Survival gear costs money, and it ain't cheap. When you buy it, there is the low end and the high end. If I had raft(s), survival suits, PLB, PFD, flares, ditch bag, strobes, etc. for all the people that I am legally allowed to carry on my boat, it could cost me 10's of thousands of dollars and there wouldn't be room for all the people. Most people don't fish or cruise in their survival suits, you have to don them once an emergancy is detected. That takes time and most of the people I've seen try to put one on for the first time aren't going to make it. To be able to do it right, you have to practice, practice, and practice. Then again, if you're going to be in the water, better with a suit than without one. A raft also costs a lot and takes time to deploy. Just as there are quick don survival suits, there are quick deploy rafts; auto deploy, quick release, etc. Again, you have to practice. How many of you have ever tried to get into a raft in 40kt knot winds and 15' seas? It ain't easy. Then again, if you are going to be waiting for rescue more than a few hours you're better off in the raft than in the suit. Of course, if the weather is really bad and your raft doesn't have a water tight enclosure, you better have a suit and a raft. You also need a place to stow all the gear and it all needs to be serviced.

    I've seen kayakers miles out to sea and they didn't have a raft or a wet suit. Every individual needs to assess his own situation. How seaworthy is your boat? Will your boat float when capsized or swamped? How far from land will you be boating? How quick can a rescue operation get to you? Do you really want to spend the money for a survival suit for your mother-in-law? How competent a captain are you? How much training have you had and how much training are you willing to do on a continuing basis? I would tell you that until you've put your survival suit on and jumped into 45 degree water for two hours, you're not prepared. Same with the life raft. Until you've thrown the raft in the water and then had to jump in the water and get into the raft, you're not prepared. It's not easy and the practice is not fun.

    I would warrent that not many of you have been plucked from the water by air-sea rescue. Those that have know how important that training is. All the gear in the world is worthless if you don't know how to use it. You haven't trained properly until you've used it in the water.

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