Old life raft - what to do

sniffyjenkins

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Hello all

An old (1990) 4-person valise liferaft came with my Golden Hind 31 Marschallin. It's never been serviced so I contacted a liferaft service company to get a quote for said job but they said it was really too old to bother with, as the service would likely cost around the same as buying a new life raft.

Hmm.

What does one do with an old life raft like this then? Chuck it in the bin? We're more of a DIY/fix-it sort of a household but I'm assuming that self-servicing this old thing is not really a good idea.

OR IS IT?

Any helpful thoughts appreciated :)
 

FullCircle

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Donate it for liferaft 'live' training. On the East Coast we had a forumite training day, topped off with a liferaft inflation and boarding exercise. Very informative.

Or

Sell it on eBay, which is what I just did with my 11 year old Seago. It fetched a few quid, and wasn't languishing under the bench in my shed.
 

prv

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Self-servicing is possible, but I'm not convinced it's a good idea with a raft that's a quarter-century old and only going to get older.

We gave Ariam's old raft (not as old as yours) to the GAFIRS independent lifeboat people, they were very grateful for it as a training aid. Until that possibility came up, my dad planned to let it off in their neighbours' garden for their kids to play in for a few days, then either keep it for more of the same (with subsequent inflations by footpump) or bin it.

Pete
 

superheat6k

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I took my last one to Universal Safety at Universal Marina in Salisbury Green. They quoted me £20 to examine it if it wasn't serviceable and £300 for a 3 year certificate if it was.

This was a 1985 raft and they reckoned it was better value than any modern new raft due to current mode of construction being so cost centred (cheap).
 

Nigelb

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I had a similar experience with my old liferaft, it had a good service history, but when I last got it serviced they charged me £300 and only gave me a 1 year certificate, as it was over 10 years old. On this basis I am going to have to invest in a new liferaft in the spring. As a skipper, with a duty of care to your crew, can you really put to sea with critical safety equipment that is not "certified", it would never be acceptable on a commercial vessel.
 

BabaYaga

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I have a 4 man raft of similar age as the OP, a BFA in a canister from 1989. It has been serviced by an authorized center on three occasions, last time in 2011. Passed without remarks each time. My advice: Have your raft serviced, it might well be OK.

As a skipper, with a duty of care to your crew, can you really put to sea with critical safety equipment that is not "certified", it would never be acceptable on a commercial vessel.

Doing so must still be more acceptable than putting to sea with no lift raft at all, which is very common.
 

superheat6k

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I had a similar experience with my old liferaft, it had a good service history, but when I last got it serviced they charged me £300 and only gave me a 1 year certificate, as it was over 10 years old. On this basis I am going to have to invest in a new liferaft in the spring. As a skipper, with a duty of care to your crew, can you really put to sea with critical safety equipment that is not "certified", it would never be acceptable on a commercial vessel.
This sounds like a Risk Assessment & Method Statement for your voyage will also be needed to fulfil your duty of care obligations. You will then need another one before you head off to the pub for the evening after your sail.

At some point you will be allowed to have some enjoyment, but the five minutes of the day that will be allowed to occur must be clearly documented in the Method Statement, and a laughter permit will be required to be issued prior to any form of mirth.

You clearly won't be able to use a sailing boat as there is no way the boom and risk of a Chinese gybe can be reduced to low as far as potential head injuries are concerned.

When it becomes mandatory for RAMS on my boat before I go to sea I will set it on fire using the RAMS form to start it with and with myself aboard !
 

ribrage

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Putting in the bin isn't an option as you have pyrotechnics inside it - not a good thing for kids to be playing with when they haul your life raft out the bin and set it off

Take it down to the coast with all your normal crew and have a training session , just remove all the live fireworks from inside before letting them get in - familiarise your self with what little is actually inside a raft and how useless all that crap is in general and make sure the crew try harder to keep the yacht afloat.
 

sniffyjenkins

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Thanks for the useful suggestions, those who gave them. I've been in touch with Gafirs of Portsmouth and will donate to them or a similar organisation if they want/need it.

The life raft will find a new home and my boyfriend will be delighted to get the thing out of his living room :)
 

seaangler23

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I've seen one used as a tent at a festival he got a round of applause as he let it off while everyone was putting their tents up, lasted about 10 mins as it had a leak
 

PetiteFleur

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We inherited an ancient liferaft when we got our boat 10 yrs ago, took it to the local servicing centre and we let it off. Although it had not been serviced for years it blew up ok BUT all the seams were coming apart, they would not service it so it was skipped.
 

KREW2

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I took my 20 year old plastimo 6 man to a company in Poole in 2010
He blew it up while I was there, and looked at it for a fee of £40, if he thinks it is worth it he leaves it inflated for 24 hours. Then he calls the next day to tell you if it is worth servicing. He called and said mine was, which I found surprising, but he did not.
Six years on and it still looks like new when he unpacks it.
 
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