DIY liferaft servicing

Peter

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Not really looking for comments on the pros and con of DIY liferaft servicing, as already unpacked and inflated in kitchen. Looks OK and appears to be in good conditon for a older design, not sure of age. Liferaft kit ok, but not sure or quality of some of the items, ie cheap torch but will replace. Slightly surprised to find no food or water. Looking for help on
Should the liferaft kit be repacked of in a grab bag? Can see pros and cons for both. Biggest con would be if I lost grab bag when leaving yacht in panic
If repacking pack kit should I include for some food/water but could increase size of packed liferaft for repacking in container.
Plastic bag, not sure of function, but planning to use large "storage vaccumm bag" as has attachment for Hoover to extract air
Last question, what tape to use to reseal container?
 

tjbrace

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50mm repair tape from B&Q to bind the 2 parts of the container. Plastic packing strapping with plastic buckles to keep them together (bought online). I used 2 ratchet straps to compress the container.
I moved some stuff to the grab bag too, and will add food and water to the grab bag.
Took a few attempts to get the right dimesions when folding and had help from a pal, so 2 person job.
It was a pentagonal shape so folding wasn’t obvoius, photos during unpack helped but I eliminated 2 of the original folds to keep its folded height lower.
 

rszemeti

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I've gone for Sealey waterproof LED torch ... lacks the "signalling" button of the SOLAS approved one, but about 3 times as bright and lasts twice as long. I've put a first aid kit in (was missing from the raft, although signed off as present by the certified packer!) there are sealed just out of date ones on eBay for a tenner, that would be £80 in date. Left the old flares in the raft, along with everything else that was supposed to be in there.

Everything else is in the grab bag, new flares, handheld radio, another torch, food, mars bars, etc basically, all the perishables.
 

ctva

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The key thing to do is when unpacking in the first place is to take photos or video of every step or fold so that you can repeat in repacking.

I used two ratchet straps to SLOWLY compress the two half's of the Seago life raft together. Once compressed, just sealed in the same way as the manufacturer has done with some whipping twine between the ends of the straps.


All the stuff except paddle, bailer and repair kit were removed and stored in a grab bag.


Food. Are you UK waters cursing or crossing the Atlantic? Given that in UK / European waters you would be unlucky not to be picked up within 24hrs so food is irrelevant.
 

ghostlymoron

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I would get quite hungry within 24hrs.
The key thing to do is when unpacking in the first place is to take photos or video of every step or fold so that you can repeat in repacking.

I used two ratchet straps to SLOWLY compress the two half's of the Seago life raft together. Once compressed, just sealed in the same way as the manufacturer has done with some whipping twine between the ends of the straps.


All the stuff except paddle, bailer and repair kit were removed and stored in a grab bag.


Food. Are you UK waters cursing or crossing the Atlantic? Given that in UK / European waters you would be unlucky not to be picked up within 24hrs so food is irrelevant.
 

garvellachs

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Not really looking for comments on the pros and con of DIY liferaft servicing, as already unpacked and inflated in kitchen. Looks OK and appears to be in good conditon for a older design, not sure of age. Liferaft kit ok, but not sure or quality of some of the items, ie cheap torch but will replace. Slightly surprised to find no food or water. Looking for help on
Should the liferaft kit be repacked of in a grab bag? Can see pros and cons for both. Biggest con would be if I lost grab bag when leaving yacht in panic
If repacking pack kit should I include for some food/water but could increase size of packed liferaft for repacking in container.
Plastic bag, not sure of function, but planning to use large "storage vacuum bag" as has attachment for Hoover to extract air
Last question, what tape to use to reseal container?

We serviced ours a few years ago and used a vacuum bag; took out most of the water and left the coastal essentials; re-sealed the cannister with rubber tape glued on like the original. Kept it for a while, confident that we had done a good job. Then we bought a new-to-us one from a forumite and I decided to awe the grand-kids by inflating the old one in the garden. A large crowd gathered to watch, but I could not get the cord to trigger it - it was stuck inside somehow. I had to cut it open and untangle the cord and then pull it, as the crowd drifted away. After decades of storage it inflated fine thereafter and stayed up in the garden for ages. So my advice is to make sure the route of the pull-cord is certain to work - the compression is very tight in there.
 

ctva

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We serviced ours a few years ago and used a vacuum bag; took out most of the water and left the coastal essentials; re-sealed the cannister with rubber tape glued on like the original. Kept it for a while, confident that we had done a good job. Then we bought a new-to-us one from a forumite and I decided to awe the grand-kids by inflating the old one in the garden. A large crowd gathered to watch, but I could not get the cord to trigger it - it was stuck inside somehow. I had to cut it open and untangle the cord and then pull it, as the crowd drifted away. After decades of storage it inflated fine thereafter and stayed up in the garden for ages. So my advice is to make sure the route of the pull-cord is certain to work - the compression is very tight in there.

On a similar note, we had the Seago canister’s first done service professionally by a centre in the NW of England.

When I did a self service at the next point, I found that the bowline attaching the painter to the gas trigger was so loose it had just about come undone! Also the light battery had not been changed and had been activated so dead when I unpacked. They were not interested after the three years, so unfortunately as with most of life, it’s hard to trust professionals.

Anyway, having done it myself now, I’d do the same again and the quality of the Seago is also really good.
 

William_H

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I reckon that an EPIRB with GPS might be a far better use of tight space than food and water. Experience of others shows that even in the far reaches of Southern Ocean you can get help in the form of additional supplies at least within a day or so if they know you are in trouble. I suspect that LR kit lists are predating the EPIRB so include stuff for long time unaided in raft. By all means take additional stuff in a grab bag. But weight and space might preclude putting too much in. As said DIY is the way to go unless there are requirements for a service by a recognized service organisation. ol'will
 

Crisby

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Hi, does anybody know if self servicing a life raft is acceptable to the ‘powers that be’ in the med. Our new to us boat has a raft that was last serviced in 2016.

Thanks

Chris
 

greeny

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Most countries would insist that the equipment is serviced and in date by a certified inspection company along with accompanying paperwork. However if you are uk registered vessel you MAY get away with it if they chose to let you. In Portugal they don't generally stop and inspect UK registered boats but if they do they expect the safety equipment fitted, to be in date certified. I know Portugal isn't strictly the med but similar approach exists there I think.
The last I heard of anyone being fined was several years ago now but the portuguese guys get fined regularly for all sorts of things, from out of date equipment to not wearing lifejackets when fishing. They tend to leave us British alone generally if we keep a low profile. If however you have an incident that the authorities attend, they will inspect and may impound your vessel until remedial work and full inspection is carried out.
I do keep all my equipment certified in date because the fines start at 250 euros and that is per item they find wrong so the cost of service can be small against the possible fine levied.
In my view its not worth the financial risk or potential hassle but I'm sure many on here will disagree.
 

Crisby

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Thanks Greeny, that’s what I thought, unfortunately getting it serviced in Sicily is almost as expensive as buying a new one! It’s an offshore 6 man Zodiac but I might just replace it with a 4 man inshore as that suits what we will be doing for the next few years.

Chris
 

Crisby

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Hi rib, thanks for that but unfortunately Malta is not on our plans at the mo but that is a great price so maybe worth a ferry trip

Chris
 

Elemental

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Where is a good place to get liferaft service supplies?

My (Eurovinyl) liferaft is old, but has been serviced fairly regularly (not at the prescribed three year intervals but neither has it had very long gaps either). Its always been done professionally but I'm considering doing so myself (and if it doesn't go well, then replacing it). It's a canister that is currently secured by two 'packing case' style nylon/plastic bands with a weak link section to facilitate the canister opening when the LR is fired. I haven't found anything similar online. If I were to use repair tape to hold the canister closed, how do I know that when inflated it'll break the tapes? Or is the force exerted by an inflating LR effectively irresistible by such tape?
 

Aeolus

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Where is a good place to get liferaft service supplies?

My (Eurovinyl) liferaft is old, but has been serviced fairly regularly (not at the prescribed three year intervals but neither has it had very long gaps either). Its always been done professionally but I'm considering doing so myself (and if it doesn't go well, then replacing it). It's a canister that is currently secured by two 'packing case' style nylon/plastic bands with a weak link section to facilitate the canister opening when the LR is fired. I haven't found anything similar online. If I were to use repair tape to hold the canister closed, how do I know that when inflated it'll break the tapes? Or is the force exerted by an inflating LR effectively irresistible by such tape?

I was thinking of using 10mm webbing fixed with velcro to replace the nylon/plastic bands. Any thoughts whether that would suffice?

When on the boat, the canister is held on deck by some fairly substantial straps with a quick release mechanism so the webbing/velcro straps would only be stressed while the raft was in transit between home and the boat, i.e. 2 journeys every 3 years or so.
 
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