Copied from parallel post on OCC Facebook Page: Georgie Rebane
We had the same issue when we had our life raft serviced after crossing the Atlantic. We were horrified. We bought our boat in 2016 and had the life raft serviced in 2017. It had been in South Africa, so hot but not humid weather, until we crossed to Grenada. I can get you the model info later. The previous owner of our boat was diligent about all maintenance and would have kept up with servicing the life raft. Paul Mckissick
Just curious. Was your raft in a hard case on deck or a soft case and stowed below deck? I read an article about rafts being stowed on deck deteriorating faster then ones stowed below. So just curious. Paul Mckissick Georgie Rebane
Thanks. Looking forward to the article. As we are looking for a new offshore raft for our upcoming trip Sherry McCampbell
We bought a Revere 6 man offshore raft in the US in early 2007. We knew going in that Revere did not have any of it's own service centers outside the US. We kept it in a vacuum pack, then in a hard case, in the cockpit under a bimini. We had it serv…See more Bill Bremner
Very interesting and insightful. Thanks for sharing that! Chris Bates
My Avon service is every 3 years but in New Zealand the recommend 2 years if used in the tropics .I have so far had 2 sercices, it is due it's 3rd next year . No problems at first two . Exhorbitantly expensive in Trinidad must less so in NZ . What frequency of service did you gives your'r ? Don't think you said Neil McCubbin
While life rafts have saved many lives, there are also too many reports of some failing to inflate or being found to have deteriorated at service time. It is rather dated now, but if you read the full report of the 1979 Fastnet race disaster and do the arithmetic you will realize that if life rafts had been prohibited fewer people would have died. Richard Farrington
Two things come out of this: firstly, don’t abandon ship unless you really need to. Secondly, the heat and UV of the tropics takes a huge toll on most things; just because it’s in a box or a bag we should not assume it will be protected. Oh, and thirdly, read the small print! Nick Dwyer
There is a reason that professionals are required to have an annual service of life rafts. Life jackets inflated every month. Joanne Bower
We bought a Plastimo canister life raft while in Turkey in 2005. It was serviced before we left to bring the boat to the S France and on to UK in 2007. During the winter of 2007/8 I took it to be serviced by a local company in Cornwall after hearing a horror story about Foriegn bought/serviced rafts. I was politely asked to come and view my raft. Ed said “ we’ll it would’ve saved your life for about 5 minutes!”. It was an absolute wreck... John Dyer
Ed Banyard is a great guy, very honest and has serviced most of my life rafts over the years! Spruce Ohlson
Our liferaft is Avon Ocean 4-person, new in 2009, serviced 2010 (Antigua), 2011 (uk), 2012(Panama), 2014 (NZ), 2017 (Malaysia), plan next service here in Seattle area in early 2019. Last service reported it in v.good condition but the inspector (who normally services Royal Malaysian Navy eqp't) said it was made from butyl and not PVC so is usually gives better results upon service inspection. Since new this is only second winter not in tropics. The plastic canister is showing signs of becoming brittle. Daria Blackwell Daria and 3 others are consistently creating meaningful discussions with their posts.
Our liferaft is a Winslow 6 man almost twenty years old and there's only a handfull of places outside the US where it can be serviced. Had we known this, we would have thought differently about it when we bought it. For years, we kept it in a soft case…See more Manage
TELEGRAPH.CO.UK Shipwrecked for 38 days: the real life family Robertson Daria Blackwell Daria and 3 others are consistently creating meaningful discussions with their posts.
This is a great thread. Please let's save this on the Forum. Julia Freeland
Same happened to us. We bought a US brand in Puerto Rico ,but nowhere to service it after 3 years, in French Polynesia. A bit of a problem Paul Mckissick
What brand? What did you end up doing? Manage Julia Freeland Paul Mckissick
Revere. Our previous liferaft was a Zodiac in a valice that lived indoors most of it's life. It had been serviced in Greece and had some of the valves replaced. It was fine at that point. When the floor failed it was about 15 years old! It gave me a scare when I saw the bottom had come unglued, when they inflated it. We are selling our boat and recommending the new owners to buy a new liferaft in French Polynesia, as we can't get the Revere serviced. It might be OK...but who knows???? Sherry McCampbell
ust because YOUR liferaft brand does not have a service center where you are cruising, doesn't mean you can't get your liferaft serviced! Having an "approved" service center might help you with warranty issues, but it doesn't help you with getting a good repack. (a friend spent a lot of money to ship their raft from Fiji to NZ to an "approved service center" for a repack. On the next repack, they found that the "approved" NZ service center had neglected to take care of a recall item, and their raft wouldn't have inflated if needed). Get your raft serviced, and do it in a place where you can watch and see what's in your raft! Also, you do NOT necessarily HAVE to replace everything at a repack, especially if you are cruising outside your home waters where your home country safety regulations may require you to. Those really expensive repacks are expensive because (a) they use your cylinder and replace/refill it, (b) they replace all the expensive flares, standard flashlight batteries, water packets, etc at exorbitant prices (ask for an itemized list with your repack quote, you'd be surprised). (c) They use a new vacuum bag vs re-sealing the old one. We repacked in Ecuador for $300 and in the Philippines for $400, by making sure our grab bag has a good set of offshore flares (which we might want OUTSIDE the raft in most circumstances where we are in distress but not ready to abandon ship), and we have our own considerations for food, water, flashlights, fishing gear, etc. Spruce Ohlson
They should not use your CO2 cylinder to inflate the raft. It should be gently inflated with a remote air supply, slowly brought up to full operational pressure and the pressure at which the bleed valves operate should be checked to be within spec. The shock load of an operational inflation should only be inflicted once, when you do it for real. The CO2 cylinder inspection/test is a separate issue. Spruce Ohlson
When we witnessed our liferaft being unpacked in Malaysia, the CO2 cylinder was found to have not been fully installed in NZ, had we pulled the ripcord a significant amount of CO2 would not have entered the raft and a big manual inflation job would have ensued. When serviced in Panama, they used the old hermetically sealed bag, but had not hermetically sealed it. Damp/moisture was in the raft. There are cowboy operators everywhere, not only in the less developed world. Hugh Pilsworth
I had an Avon, now Zodiac, 6 ocean life raft.
After 8 years it wasn’t worth servicing and was in an awful state internally. John Dyer
We have an ocean safety iso9650 liferaft. Just checked with Ocean safety in the UK and they confirm that 3 years is ok in the tropics with their life Rafts! Neil McCubbin John Dyer
do you mean 3 year total life or 3 between chicks? Judith L. Jacobsen
We have a Viking Rescyou in a cannister, hanging on the back.
Should the cannister be shielded from the sun?
E.g. With a cover? Rowena Barton
It would be interesting if you could include data of rafts that have been used in anger and how they performed.