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Old life raft

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Errrr.... I think I'd like a bit longer than that, 6-8 means rescue/support has to come quicker than it often does.

I think if you could get 24 you'd probably be OK. But then if the Airforce had 6-8 hours of warning and a good location they could drop you a spare in time.

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My raft was 18 months out of service. The torch didn’t go, the flares were at least 2 years out of date, and it went down quite badly too. Tried to use pump and it lasted 2 pumps and was stuffed. 

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I know it's kind of beside the point of there being emergency survival gear in the raft, but knowing that the gear in the raft is probably inadequate just hammers home to me why we carry a grab bag with water, food, torch, plb, first aid kit, etc. As for the deflation etc, how old are these rafts and what is their service history? Genuinely interested as I have a raft coming up to time for it's first service, and the cost of it makes me question if it's worth having it done until we actually need the certification for heading offshore.

 

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My raft that did not work was condemned at a service attempt. It was a 6 year old Seasaver 4,  been serviced  once, before we left on our last big trip, expired while we were away,  condemned on return. never used, soft bag,  and vacuum sealed, kept in liferaft locker out of the sun. 

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Thanks IT, we have a Waypoint Ocean 4 person, also in a soft bag, vacuum sealed, and kept out of the sun. We got that one, even though it wasn't the cheapest, but the manufacturer gave a 3 year service period, and it worked out better value over the longer term. I am bothered though, that the problems seem to happen after service, and it would be good to get a feel for how common it is for issues to be found when the raft comes up for it's second (or subsequent) service.

Edited by AlastairW

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My impression, after recently researching and buying a raft, is that the latest rafts are a step above.  Most of them seem to be made of TPU which doesn't act the way the old rubber-coated rafts did.  I believe one of the drivers behind servicing was to repack the raft so the folds were on previously unfolded material.  Many new rafts now have a 5 year period to first service.

Absolutely agree with the need for a well thought out and researched grab bag.  I was very dubious buying a Chinese made raft - imagine jumping in and finding a brick in place of the survival equipment (hopefully a bad dream and not reality).

I guess you have to regard the money spent on a raft like your insurance premium - hopefully a waste of money....

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Mine was a mid 2000's Zodiac, not sure where it sits in terms of quality but its a supposed reputable brand. The pvc seems in good condition but the leaks I have yet to find. Definitely a grab bag kitted out with respect to the passage you are on is mandatory after seeing this. This raft was in a valise, vacuum packed  and always stored well.

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We had one that was a little too enthusiastic to open. We kept the valise under the saloon table on the cat.

We came back from dinner in Mahon and the cabin was full of liferaft. One of the boys was quite small and managed to crawl in to press the deflate.

Luckily there was an agent over in Palma and he packed it back up with a fresh test certificate.

No idea why it decided to inflate.

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