Life Raft Products
Throw-overboard liferafts are stored in containers on deck and inflate in the water when the painter line is pulled. It meets the requirments of SOLAS 74/96 Amendment, LSA and MSC. This product has been approved by CCS, ZY, EC (GL) certificate. It can be used in the ships engaged on international voyages.
Davit-launched liferafts are connected to the davit, inflated, boarded from the deck and then lowered to water level. It meets the requirments of SOLAS 74/96 Amendment, LSA and MSC. This product has been approved by CCS, EC (GL) certificate. It can be used in the ships engaged on international voyages.
For passenger ships and ferries operating in inland and coastal waters. Emergency pack according to High Speed Craft code.
Yacht throwing inflatable liferafts are used in yacht and boat. It meets the requirement of
Throw-overboard liferafts are stored in containers on deck and inflate in the water when the painter line is pulled.
Inflatable life Raft – The Ultimate FAQ Guide
Welcome to a quite efficient and useful guide about inflatable life rafts!
Following article about the inflatable life rafts will help you quickly find out all the correct information about these rafts.
There are a great variety of inflatable life rafts in the market, but it takes proper research to get valuable features.
This FAQ guide will keep you updated about the inflatable life rafts application, types, maintenance, advantages, and specification.
It can give you satisfactory and accurate answers to many of the common questions that might arise in your mind when you are planning to grab one.
Read this article till the end to get the best use of this guide.
1. What is An Inflatable Life Raft?
A life raft is a useful life-saving invention for people in the water.
It is a small, rigid boat that should be kept on board to save people in an emergency or disaster.
Inflatable refers to one of its most essential features.
An inflatable life raft is a life raft that is easy to fold and store in a safe place when it is not in use.
Whenever you want to use it, you can quickly inflate it. Life rafts are very important safety equipment.
It is mandatory to keep a life raft on board with you whenever you travel by sea.
The inflatable life rafts have different varieties.
Mostly the life rafts have auto-inflation systems.
They also contain canisters and mechanical pumps.
A special mechanism involving controlled pressure and quick release is fit in the boat, which helps in quick and auto-inflation of the raft.
Most recreational sailors keep it on their ships.
2. How Can One Use An Inflatable Life Raft?
A life raft has many different uses.
The main purpose of an inflatable, rigid life raft is to hold the people from abandoning the ship.
Life rafts are useful because of their function as a backup to lifeboats.
If lifeboats are unavailable in some ships on the voyage, they allow keeping inflatable life rafts as an alternative.
The sailors prefer life rafts because they are easy to carry and occupy less space.
However, some sailors still prefer small, proactive lifeboats which do not sink easily.
You can use an inflatable life raft to get to a safe place by using the direction of the wind.
The commercial aircraft also keep life rafts with them to ensure protection in case of any emergency.
The offshore oil platforms also have life rafts to keep them safe in an emergency water landing.
3. What Is The Estimated Cost Of An Inflated Life Raft?
A good-quality inflatable life raft is a little expensive for a new buyer.
However, its countless features, long life span and safety measures make it worth all the money and hype.
The average cost of a recreational and new life raft with space for at least six people costs between $1700 and $3700.
This type of life raft usually has a basic survival package.
The cost may vary depending upon the manufacturer of the life raft.
For example, a six-person life raft in valise costs about $1750, whereas the same life raft in a fibreglass shell costs almost $1850.
The inflatable life rafts are made from special illuminating, reflecting and fluorescent material that is easily visible.
They contain oars, flares and mirrors that help give signals.
When a ship launches a lifeboat, then it hardly sinks.
4. What Kind Of Maintenance Does An Inflatable Life Raft Demand?
All the life rafts, either inflatable or not, need proper periodic maintenance.
You should be careful when selecting the life raft for you.
The selection of the right boat depends upon different factors like the budget and the type of sailing.
The maintenance of a life raft includes the detailed inspection of the life raft.
This inspection helps you to decide whether you should repack it or replace it.
The inspection will also help you find the pros and cons of a new and used life raft.
The inspection includes checking for any leakage of the vacuum bag.
The painter should be neatly folded inside the case.
There should be no wear and rips. The compressed air cylinder should have no corrosion, oxidation or wear.
Check for the hydrostatic testing and the certification. The barometric pressure changes should be managed as well; otherwise, they might affect the results.
If there are any damages or leakages in the life raft, you should get it checked by the service centre.
Make sure that the service centre fulfils all the requirements of marine industry standards.
If there are larger leaks or damages, then you should replace the life raft. Do not take any risk with the life raft as it might put your life in danger.
5. What Is The Average Life Span Of An Inflatable Life Raft?
Before buying something for your personal use and its costly, the most important thing to check is its durability.
If the used material is low quality, the manufacturer does not have a good reputation or the object does not have positive feedback from previous customers, you should rethink your decision.
So, the life span of a life raft matters a lot before you decide to buy it.
Mostly the manufacturers of a life raft warranty its life for almost 10 to 12 years.
This duration, however, has a condition that you should service the raft according to their recommendations.
If you keep a raft properly, dry it before repacking and repack it with care, it may last for more than 20 years without being damaged.
It will only be discarded if the authorized service stations condemn it.
When the occupants are using a life raft at sea, it will last at least 30 days.
However, the survival of the people in it depends upon various factors like the amount of water, ration in the emergency pack and other facilities.
6. Can The User Run An Inflatable Life Raft Manually?
Yes, you can easily launch an inflatable life raft manually without the help of any heavy machinery or a proper system arrangement.
You have to follow some simple steps that can help you in performing this work easily.
First, you have to check for one end of the raft’s painter must be attached and well secured to a strong point on the ship’s deck or its structure.
Remove the lashing from the raft’s container.
Clear out the way to portable rail if it is available.
The side of the ship where you will launch the raft must be clear. Check carefully for it.
Lift the container carefully in a horizontal position and throw it away. This step will require two or more people for attaining perfection.
Now you should check the painter once again. It should be intact in its place. It should not wave away with water and remain fixed to the same strong point.
To inflate the raft, you should pull the painter with a hard jerk. It fires the gas bottle, and the raft inflates itself, and it is ready to use in 20 to 30 seconds.
Board the life raft one by one by using the ladder or a rope.
You should avoid the objects like shoes, knives, forks and other sharp objects on a life raft because they might damage the surface of a raft.
Count them and cut the painter off with a sharp knife when you see that all the people have come on board.
Then the raft starts to float.
7. What Are Different Types Of Inflatable Life Rafts?
There are many different types of life rafts. These types are classified based on their intended use. There are three main types.
A coastal life raft is specially designed to protect the coastal cruisers, mid-shore sport-fishermen and day sailors.
The basic purpose of a coastal life raft is to help people survive in emergencies if they have to go less than 100 miles offshore.
The coastal life raft with its lower freeboard and canopy helps in the survival of the occupants until the help reaches them.
The offshore life raft is much more useful than an ordinary coastal life raft.
It offers greater protection comparatively. It is especially helpful for people who are fond of the canyon.
An offshore life raft is a must to keep the thing for these people.
It has double buoyancy tubes and additional ballasting, which helps it give more useful survival conditions and protection.
This type of life raft can be used in rougher and higher seas.
The transoceanic life raft is made for serving bigger purposes.
It provides protection against big sea emergencies.
It provides high-level security to the people who want to venture beyond the horizon.
If someone wants to cross the ocean, then transoceanic life rafts are the best choice to keep on board.
These life rafts are made with all the precautions from the bottom to the top to provide protection, peace of mind, and calmness no matter the sea’s conditions.
Some other types of life rafts are shown in the figure.
8. Does An Inflatable Life Raft Sink In The Water?
Usually, life rafts are made from great material. They do not sink or set on fire.
The life raft is the most important safety instrument.
But if due to any reason, the raft sinks or catches fire.
Such water is not a good option for the life raft.
The environment must not be hospitable for the life raft to work or inflate properly.
The lie raft provides protection, but you should check the supplies as well as the supplies that come with it.
9. What Are The Highlighting Features of an Inflatable Life Raft?
An inflatable life raft is a very useful invention for sailors or people who love to go on a voyage.
We cannot put enough emphasis on the fact that life raft is one of the most important safety instrument.
Some of the main highlighting features of an inflatable life raft are as follows.
The canopy is the most important part of an inflatable life raft.
It should be made of high-quality material.
Usually, the canopy of an inflatable life raft is made from a tough coated rubber material.
The canopy is basically used to protect the occupants from different elements like wind waves and sea spray.
- Boarding ladder
A life raft is basically used for providing protection in case of any emergency.
A boarding ladder plays the role of connection between the ship and the raft.
One side of the raft has a special opening for strike and passengers so they can enter the wrapped to a small rope letter which is made from nylon straps for easy transfer of people from the ship to the raft.
- Inflation system
The inflation of the life raft is an important factor helping.
Some life rafts run manually; they have a long cord which is called a painter.
The user of the life raft pulls on the painter, which forces a plunger through the seal of an attached gas container.
The gas container has non-reactive pressurized.
Once the painter is pulled on, the gas enters into the fancy chambers and inflates the life raft.
- Exterior strobe light
The strobe lights play an important role in helping the occupants of a life raft. It is usually present on the top of the canopy.
This light makes the life raft easier for rescue planes to see at night.
Some of the advanced rafts now come equipped with transponders.
The transponder automatically gives out radio waves, and the emergency pack in the raft includes high-density light.
This light will make the survivors more visible to the people on the raft as well as the people that are coming to rescue them.
- Arch tubes
The arch tubes are present in the inflatable life rafts as a structural unit.
They prevent the upper buoyancy chamber from collapsing.
The arch tubes are inflated through the upper buoyancy chamber, and they provide great support to the protective canopy of the life raft.
There are non-return valves present in the arch tube.
These valves make sure that even if the upper chamber somehow bursts, then the initial framework will still remain intact, and it will not collapse.
- Exterior and interior lifelines
The name itself shows what lifelines could be meant for.
The inflatable life raft contains two durable life rafts, one on the exterior and the other on the lifeline present.
So, you can grip on lifelines during bad weather or any emergency.
There are other items that are also attached to the outside of the ship.
These items include a sea anchor, a rescue and a buoyant knife.
- Buoyancy chambers
In any inflatable life-saving instrument, buoyancy plays a central role.
The inflatable life rafts have been designed in such a way that there are typically two separate inflatable floors.
Its purpose is to save you from any emergency if a puncture happens.
In case of a puncture, there is still some buoyancy left to keep the life raft afloat on the surface of the seawater.
These chambers are easy to pump up and deflate. You can do this manually as well.
- Ballast compartments
Inflatable life raft has special balanced compartments which prevent capsizing by weighing the raft down.
It is a collection of ballast bags that are present beneath the craft.
These bags have large holes in them, which are present on the top.
They fill these bags with a suitable volume of seawater which keeps the life raft floating on the surface of the water which keeps the life raft floating on surface of the water.
10. Is an Inflatable Life Raft Recyclable?
Unfortunately, the inflatable life raft cannot be recycled.
It can be reused but not recycled. It is so because all kinds of inflatable materials contain PVC in them, and PVC is one of the hardest plastics on the earth that can be recycled.
However, as long as your inflatable life raft is in good condition and you maintain it properly, you can keep reusing it again and again for further voyages.
All you have to do is keep care that there is no leakage and before you keep it in your raft.
Completely dry the raft before repacking it.
11. How Often Does An Inflatable Life Raft Needs Servicing?
If you want to improve the life of your inflatable life raft, then it is necessary to repair and maintain it within time.
So, that keeps it functioning properly and smoothly.
It is suggested to get your inflatable life rafts inspected every year by a certified service provider.
They will maintain all the issues in your life raft and make it last longer.
12. What Items Are Added In An Inflatable Life Raft?
The life raft is a life-saving instrument. It is necessary that a life raft has all the important equipment present in it already. The equipment includes:
- A rescue quoit with a floating line of almost 30m
- A buoyant rescue knife with a lanyard
- A buoyant bailer
- Buoyant paddles
- Tin openers and scissors
- Complete first aid kit in a resealable, waterproof container
- A source of sound signal like a whistle
- At least four parachute flares
- Red hand flares
- At least two coloured smoke signals
- Electric torch with spare batteries and bulb.
- Radar reflector
- Daylight signalling mirror
- A copy of life-saving signals on waterproof paper for each person
- Fresh water in a watertight container for every person on the boat
- Food for each person in waterproof packaging.
- A graduated rustproof drinking vessel
- Anti-seasickness medicine is sufficient for each person for 48 hours
- Survival and immediate action instructions
- Thermal protective aids for most of the occupants.
13. What Is The Accommodation Of An Inflatable Life Raft?
The life rats are available in different sizes and accommodations.
So, it is not fixed that how many people can easily accommodate in an inflatable life raft.
However, the capacity of the smallest life raft is six people, and the largest one can have as many people as much as the size of the raft.
14. How Is Hydrostatic Release Useful For An Inflatable Life Raft?
Some of the life rafts are inflated manually.
However, the others which are inflated with the help of pressure gain mechanisms use the hydrostatic release.
The hydrostatic release unit is a pressure-activated mechanism.
This mechanism is designed to automatically deploy a life raft when certain conditions are met at the right time.
For example, if a vessel sinks, the hydrostatic release unit will be activated, and it starts to release the life raft at a depth between a few meters.
15. What Is The Importance Of An Inflatable Life Raft?
It is very important to keep a life raft alongside every boat.
The life raft should have the capacity to accommodate the people from the vessel in it.
It is important that the life rafts should be present for each vessel before you go onboard.
It is important because it can protect you from any mishap.
It is easily accessible and keeps you away from any potential harm.
16. What Are The Advantages Of An Inflatable Life Raft?
- It is small in size and occupies less space.
- It is light weighted and easily portable.
- It can be stored easily.
- It has a simple and quick operation.
- It is a simple landing device.
- It has a better ability to protect you against any weather conditions like rain, wind, sun, storm and cold etc.
- It has a better life-saving effect.