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Beaufort Liferaft - overpressure valve failure Messages in this topic - RSS

Ginger
Posts: 12


6/26/2016
Ginger
Posts: 12
Hi Martin,
Thanks for your report.
It may be of interest that the Starzingers, Evans & Beth, got a group of rafts together for a group rate re-packing in Oz and found an unsettling degree of useless rafts (please see their web site for details as I am doing this from memory).
A few questions: How old was it? Was their any water intrusion? Was your raft serviced and was it blown up and left to sit for a day? How long ago was the servicing?
I am not familiar with Beaufort, but not answering their phone nor returning your calls is enough to get me to not buy one of their rafts. Add to this the defect…
What raft did you choose this time?
We have a Winslow raft which we just had serviced and re-packed and we were able to see it inflated and handle all the bits and pieces: a quite valuable exercise.
My best, Dick Stevenson, s/v Alchemy, Galway, Ireland
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Martin Lamport
Posts: 9


6/24/2016
Martin Lamport
Posts: 9
Having recently purchased a new life raft, I decided to unpack and examine my old Beaufort Forties (A) four man raft myself. Although all appeared to be in good condition and the inflation cylinder retained pressure, I discovered that the mushroom valves to relieve over pressure on the main tube had both broken, rendering the raft completely useless as the hole they are supposed to seal was now fully open.

These two valves are held closed by springs and the two mushroom ends joined by a 4mm diameter plastic stem. In both cases the snapped area in the stem seems to be less than 3mm, suggesting there was some sort of groove which weakened the valve at this critical point, allowing the spring and inner closing valve to simply fall off inside the tube.

These valves never operate until the raft is used in anger. They fact that they failed of their own accord and could have done so at any time between services suggests a serious design flaw. If you have such a raft be aware that its integrity, and possibly your life, relies on less than 3mm of brittle plastic. Because the critical bit of the valve is inside the tube a service will not reveal how close the shaft might be to failure.

I have tried to contact Beaufort about this, but each time been referred to an extension which did not answer, or reply to my messages. I have no idea for how long this type of valve was in use on their rafts, if it still is and whether this problem has ever been highlighted before.
All I can suggest is that if you have a Beaufort raft that is more than a few years old, buy something else and use it for the children to play in.
Martin Lamport - Sadko.

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Martin Lamport
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