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Old 08-25-2008, 05:17 PM   #1
Mark Youngblood Sportfishing
 
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Default 4 person life raft and EPIRB question

where is the best place to get a 4 person life raft that automaticly deploys, what should I look for since I know nothing about them? all suggestions will be appreciated, I assume this is something I can keep from boat to boat. I also would like suggestions on an EPIRB, what to look for and where to buy? I want to be as safe as possible but obviously I do not want to spend more than I have to.

Thanks,
Mark

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Old 08-25-2008, 07:31 PM   #2
wavechaser
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Default Re: 4 person life raft and EPIRB question

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Originally Posted by Fish Slapper View Post
where is the best place to get a 4 person life raft that automaticly deploys, what should I look for since I know nothing about them? all suggestions will be appreciated, I assume this is something I can keep from boat to boat. I also would like suggestions on an EPIRB, what to look for and where to buy? I want to be as safe as possible but obviously I do not want to spend more than I have to.

Thanks,
Mark
I did some recent research for online raft sales and you might be able to get one online for a better price, but the shipping charge + online price costs more than the local company's prices + WA sales tax. If you're in SW WA, you might want to look at Englund's Marine in OR to avoid sales tax.

Since non-sponsor links are prohibited, you can google these companies.

Both of these have good prices on 4-man life rafts
Westpac Marine in Tacoma
Puget Sound Inflatables in Seattle

I bought my ACR PLB w/ GPS (EPIRB) at Seattle Marine in Ballard. I think it was about $150 less than the same model at West Marine.
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Old 08-25-2008, 08:13 PM   #3
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Default Re: 4 person life raft and EPIRB question

These are several of my comments from previous posts. You're thinking the right way, glad to see another Dog thinking about safety. Not many options in Portland, but Seattle has far more to offer, due to the size ofthe commercial fleet operating up there. Seattle Marine in Ballard ROCKS, they have helped me on all sorts of things. I'm happy to forward the Viking contact to you via PM. They were great to deal with, I think I;ve sold 4 rafts for them to iFishers since I bought mine.


Posted 2/3/08

In my personal opinion, Winslow makes the best raft available in the market. I wanted the Winslow 6 man, but they are not USCG approved, and they do not intend to submit their product for certification testing. Because I will have a commercial tuna only license this season, I HAVE to have the USCG rated raft, that narrowed down my decision quickly. Viking and Winslow reps do each other a lot favors, Charlie (Winslow) recommends Karen (Viking) for commercial rafts and she recommend Charlie for aviation rafts, they both respect each other's products.

I am less concerned with fouling of the raft than most, even though I have a large radar mast, 15 rod holders and 3 antennas up there. The displacement of the raft is so great, it will break almost anything that fouls it, except for the mast. The roof mounted canister can be manually deployed, easier than from a run to the bow or into the cabin, and is already tethered with the painters line and weak link. In my opinion, the only reason for a valise if to take on other peoples boats. Appearance and visibility are issues, but easy to overcome when you consider that this is a life saving device.

In the conditions many state, the hydrostatic release requires a pressure of 10 meters to release, think about where you would be with the valais under the same conditions. Would it have been pulled out of the v berth, and readied for deployment? Removed from it's case, tethered to the boat and readied for action? A sudden broaching, rogue wave or a pitchpole off a breaking wave...would the valais have better chance of being deployed than one that popped off automatically? Remember, I can manually deploy my raft within seconds..and it's out of the way for 99.9999% of the things I'll be doing on my boat.

Each skipper has the choice to make. The first choice is considering it mandatory safety equipment when running 50 miles or more offshore. This was an easy choice for me, the lives of my crew and I are worth FAR more than the $3100 I spent last week (Winslow 6 man, $4600). Whether its a valais or canister, it's the right decision. It's up to the individual to determine which one provides greater security for their crew. I felt the canister was safer option for my boat. Hey, it looks good too...you LOOK like a serious mariner who is concerned about fishing another day.[/font]

Posted 9/4/07

Trusting my life to a rental? Have you seen the uHaul fleet? It would be better than nothing though. A lottery ticket if you will.

The Survivor Man episode was kinda funny. The first raft sank within 15 minutes and it's survual kit was in a non waterproof bag, everything was ruined. The raft was 6 months expired and came from a personal boat in Belize. I don't recall where they found the 2nd raft. Les made a point about having current and maintained life safety equipment. It was still leaky on the extended 3-4 day float trip. I figure I need 2 hours...an Eprib with 3 minute notification, Tillamook/Astoria heli underway in 15, 50-60 miles out, with a Dauphin helo running at 160 mph...2 hours is all I expect out of the raft.

Mounting a Zodiac on the roof would pose trailer problems for me, over height as well as my perception of problems with the radar. But, this let my wife go shopping in Roche Harbor while I nap on the hook.

PM to another Ifisher:

No expert here, but certainly an advocate for being cautious. I researched all brands extensively and determined the Switlik and Viking rafts were the best value in commerically rated Solas A packs. I believe the Wilson raft to be the best built, however it does not carry a commercial rating with the USCG and I required the commerical rating for a commercial tuna only license. Wilson recommended Viking. Viking does about 80% of the cruise ships around the world, and has a long tradition in life safety equipment...the wives and mothers of the fisherman hand build the rafts, blah blah blah. I bought it. Karen Hansen at Viking, ask for show pricing, it gets you the raft, a cradle, hydro release and freight. I also refered CrazyFish to Karen, and he purchased the 4 man version, where as I bought the 6 man. They have a service office in Portland and Seattle. Englunds sells the Switlik.

I spent about $3400 on my set up...cheap considered to the alternative...like waiting for another boat to come save your tail. You saw how many people rolled up gear and went to assist the M&Me. That USCG audio and video from LaPush should sell the expense to your wife. Make sure you have the Eprilb/PLB too. I have two now, one for the boat and one glued to me.
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Old 08-25-2008, 08:35 PM   #4
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Default Re: 4 person life raft and EPIRB question

Mark
PM sent on a RFD Crewsaver 4 person CG/Solas approved A pack
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Old 08-26-2008, 04:04 AM   #5
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Default Re: 4 person life raft and EPIRB question

Google Marine Safety Services, Inc. in Seattle too. They made me a sweet deal when phone shopping for EPIRB and liferaft. Was cheaper to buy an 6 person A pack than B with the discount they gave. If I had tyo do it again, I would have bought an 8 person raft since the 6P canister ios the same size. Ditto to Westpac and PSI.

If you or any iFisher buys a large/heavy item like a raft from a WA vendor and prefer not to pay S/H, I'm headed to DB almost every wknd thru October. Give me a call and I can meet you along I-5 corridor to about Salem.

All I ask in return is you buy me a big cup of hot truck stop sludge so I can get to Depoe without a roadside nap.
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Old 08-26-2008, 04:10 AM   #6
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Talking Re: 4 person life raft and EPIRB question

Viking life raft owner here.

While researching the purchase of a life raft a several of years ago, several things became clear after looking at the different makes/manufacturers.

1- Service after the sale. Viking has their own repacking facilities and the 4 person raft I bought was vacuum packed from the beginning. This allows a three year service interval, safely. Unless you pay several hundred extra for most makes, they do not come vacuum packed and require annual services to maintain their certification. (at least this was the case when I was looking at rafts three years ago)

2- 10 year warranty to the original owner that covers all repairs except the canister.

3- Solid track record in the manufacturing and support, in the life raft industry. If you get on most any cruise ship/ocean liner and look at what kind of rafts they are carrying, most have Viking.

Congratulations with your decision to keep your passengers safe, some don't think about it until it's to late.

WD.
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Old 08-26-2008, 07:21 AM   #7
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Default Re: 4 person life raft and EPIRB question

Mark,

I thought you were a good swimmer?! I too was looking at rafts and did find some on e-bay...but like mentioned before shipping can add up fast, but if you can get one for 50% off......let me know what you find I would like to be safe also if I could ever get out there.....

Aaron
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Old 08-26-2008, 07:34 AM   #8
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Default Re: 4 person life raft and EPIRB question

Viking here also. Karen set me up with a great deal and I feel much better. I got the show special in Jan and told them a date to deliver it. They had it to me right on time.
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Old 08-26-2008, 07:46 AM   #9
Mark Youngblood Sportfishing
 
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Default Re: 4 person life raft and EPIRB question

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Originally Posted by tailwalker View Post
Mark,

I thought you were a good swimmer?! I too was looking at rafts and did find some on e-bay...but like mentioned before shipping can add up fast, but if you can get one for 50% off......let me know what you find I would like to be safe also if I could ever get out there.....

Aaron
I think you are suposed to be in good shape to be an effective swimmer so that kinda kicks me to the curb....I figured I better get a raft! I just remembered your hats are still in my camper and I need to send them to you guys, I promise I will get around to it sooner or later! I will let you know what I find, I am going to take a ride up to Seattle to look at a few today .
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Old 08-26-2008, 08:41 AM   #10
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Default Re: 4 person life raft and EPIRB question

I just went through this excercise. Found some good deals online on the east coast.
EPIRB Cat2 ACR model Landfallnavigation.com
Revere life raft Rivermarinesupply.com
Compared to local comparisons saved alot of $
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