Wednesday, November 12, 2014

Dee's liferaft

One of the items in the check list to our preparation for crossing the Pacific Ocean next year was the liferaft which, according to the inspection seal on it, was not checked since 2001!
During our stay in St Lucia we decided to make that extra investment. One investment that we, sincerely, hope never need to use!
Opening the PLASTIMO liferaft
The place to do it was the local agent of PLASTIMO, the brand of our liferaft, the Liferaft & InflatableCenter in St Lucia, owned by a couple living here for decades. One the requirements we had, due to the limited budget, was to give in exchange a electric stove we had on board since we bought a gas stove in St Maarten! Fortunately it was possible to do business and the stove paid for a substancial part of the bill.
The Force10 electric stove
Another of the requirements was to see the inspection being made, both the opening and the sealing of the box. The company did not raised any obstacles for us to be present and see the whole process, which made us more confident on a good service.
Inspecting the liferafts is not mandatory in most countries but for us, since we plan our life at sea, is more than required, is essential. Our lives may depend on it, though we hope never have to use it. But if needed, we don’t want to be surprised seeing not working!
The whole process took about three days, being opened and closed in our presence and as you can see in the video. Interior was surprisingly in excellent conditions, however, all the emergency equipment was more than overdue and all had to be replaced.

The list is as follows:
Waterproof Flashlight and batteries
Flares with parachute
Handheld flares
Orange-coloured smoke
Seasickness pills
Repair Kit
First aid kit
Blue adhesive tape
Super glue

There were food and water for the six persons also, items that were not replaced because we have a portable watermaker in the ditch bag to abandon the ship.
Was also inspected and replaced the CO2 cylinder and was made a Hydro test valid until 2019.
The liferaft is for six persons, manufactured in 1995 and certified for use at high sea.
The total service cost was $ 4260EC (about US $ 1600) and was isssued an inspection certificate valid for two years according to SOLAS regulations and the resolution 9185528 IMO. The company advised us to do another inspection after two years to check especially if the floor of the liferaft is in good conditions and change the glue that holds the whole structure. This is the biggest problem of the liferafts and should be always checked whenever possible to avoid problems when using it.
The advice was to insist on re-gluing the floor of the liferaft whenever a inspection is done to make sure that the floor is in place and will not come out!
Folding it in
The service provided by Liferaft &Inflatable Center was professional and completely open, without any hidden details. Everything was discussed with us and they were always very attentive and tried everything to see us satisfied. This, for us, was very important as we are in a very short budget and they made us feel that the they take care of our the clients the same way, since we were not a priority customer arriving with a full wallet.


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