One of the most important pieces of safety equipment on any vessel aside from the EPIRB is the life raft, which has been tested, designed and approved for being a life-saving device in the event the boat needs to be abandoned. Proper life raft servicing not only ensures that your life raft is in excellent condition and ready for deployment, but it’s the only way to combat the broad list of elements that could cause deterioration by the natural aging process.
As a general rule, inspections for your life rafts, are highly recommended by factory-trained and certified technicians at a U.S. Coast Guard approved servicing facility. A life raft is the last piece of equipment any boater ever expects to use. After everything else has failed, the crew turns to the life raft with the assumption to likely never to see that boat above water again. Life raft inspections restore your confidence in open waters and at the same time increase your raft's life expectancy.
Many boat owners that have new and unopened life rafts may be under the mistaken impression that there is no need to have their rafts serviced. There is no room for cutting corners in the life raft department and you must have complete confidence in the people who inspect and repack it. Inspecting life rafts should only be done by trained professionals who can give you an in depth tour of your gear and properly repack it so that water will never get inside.
The next time you get your life raft inspected, watch the inspectors inflate the raft and become familiar with the features unique to your raft. It’s very important that you know how to deploy and use your raft as it will be a huge benefit in the unfortunate event of an emergency at sea in the middle of a raging ocean.
Get to know your life raft. Every couple of years, boaters take their raft to an inspection station and a week later pick it up. The reality is, the money paid to the inspector is not an insurance policy against disaster. This approach guarantees that you will remain uneducated about how to properly deploy and use this very important piece of survival gear. When you have your raft inspected, you have a golden opportunity to see it fully inflated and familiarize yourself with its contents and proper use. Keep in mind that the time you spend watching your raft being inflated and inspected could save your life.
Your life raft should do two things without fail, inflate and hold air. If a raft doesn’t do those two things, you’re in big trouble. It’s imperative to get your raft serviced regularly by professionals like LRSE, as the longer you let your raft go between servicing, the more likely it will become expensive to service, or worse, fail when you go to set it off in an emergency. When and if it comes time to use one of your most important pieces of safety gear offshore, and it inflates and holds air for you, you’ll be glad you took it in to get serviced and gain peace of mind by taking the time to go through it with a professional.