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I am thinking about putting a life raft on my boat. We have an automatic EPIRB onboard already but if the boat sinks.....what next? The EPIRB will get them coming but how long will the wait be? That boat sinking last year out near the Petronius has had me thinking about our plan ever since. We are ranging that far and further to fish on every trip. Luckily those guys had another boat help them that was nearby. This time of year there more than likely will not be anybody anywhere in site. It is also a lot colder in the water now. Exposure comes to my mind also. Should something happen I just want to have a better plan than the one I have been flying by the seat of my pants on in the past.

How many of you guys are carrying a life raft? Has anyone thought about exposure this time of year and what is your plan?

I appreciate anyone helping me think this through..



Ronnie
 

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I use one and it does give me peace of mind. I put an 8 man offshore model on the boat and I hope I never have to use it. Is it a big expense? Sure is, but if the day ever comes that the boat sinks it there and has a hydrostatic release and it will pop up if it's not manually released. It has water and energy food for 8 men to last several days. I always take a bail out bag no matter who's boat I'm on, so between that and the raft I feel comfortable and safe with everything I could think of to fit a small waterproof pack. Coolest thing is the little hand pump water maker, doesn't make a lot of water fast but it's definitely better than no water at all. Anyway back to the life raft, the hardest thing to decide is if you want a bag or a hard canister, the second is where and how to mount it.



Kim
 

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We carry a six man BSF raft aboard. Plus every one on board knows were it's at and how to deploy it. And you are right who knows how long it will take for some one to get to you if needed. With the right type of gear on for winter fishing off shore you should be ok until some one can get to you and your crew. Gene Team Recess
 

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Have a 6 man in the bag that we carry depending on our fishing plans, plus an epirb and hand held vhf in the ditch bag. Definitely nice to have that extra peace of mind just in case.
 

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Just having one isn't enough. You need to have it serviced regularly and do drills. It isn't going to do you any good if you can't get it deployed or cut a whole in it or freak out when the valve is letting off excess pressure, etc. You need to be ready to use it and don't rely on the hydrostatic if you don't have too. It could get caught up in the rigging or not deploy properly or the curent might be too strong to get to it. It's best to release the clip yourself and throw it in the water and pull hard on the cord after playing out the line. Get it tied off good to a stern cleat and get into the raft and be ready to cut the line with safety knife that comes in the raft as soon as the boat starts going down. Stay with the boat as long as you can because it makes a bigger radar target for the coasties.
 
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