Winslow Life Raft Recertification

When we purchased Red Rover almost a year ago, we knew the Winslow 6 person liferaft was in need of recertification.  Winslow states service is required every three years and ours had been almost 5 years.  This was on the to do list prior to departing for Alaska in early June.  When I looked at Westpac’s website (in Tacoma), we were pleased to see that they offered a service of unpacking the raft in front of us and go thru the operation of and all the components of the raft.  This 2.5 hours and $100 ($100 for doing the unpacking in front of us) was some of the best time/money spent on the boat.  We really had very little idea on how the raft operated and what to expect if it was ever needed.  If you haven’t done so already, would highly recommend to do something similar if offered on your next recertification.

Interesting piece of information that we learned:  What is the number one vessel emergency reason a life raft is deployed?  Answer at the bottom of the post…

Our life raft lives in a pelican case and which sits in a stainless steel cradle on the back deck of the boat.


The raft was pulled out of the pelican case and removed from its nylon jacket.  The red cord would be tied to the boat before being tossed over board.


The raft is contained in a foil vacuum package.  Remember how compact this is once you see what it looks like shortly….


Here is the sealed pull cord that would be yanked on to actually inflate the raft in an emergency.


Next to Rollie’s hand is the co2 inflation bottle.


Zoe waits in anticipation…


The inflation head has two tubes that inflate both the lower and upper part of the raft at the same time.


The raft is never inflated with the co2 cartridge as the compressed gas becomes a very cold liquid.  Using the liquid co2 to inflate it every time it needs certification will weaken the material and seams.  Rollie uses good ole’ compressed air.


It really is interesting how much is stuffed in to a life raft.  It takes two minutes to inflate both sets of tubes but the co2 would take about 20-30 seconds…


Looks comfy for 6?


…and the back side.


Occasionally it may inflate upside down….  Pulling it from the right side (in the photo) will allow it to roll over fairly easy without picking up much water.


These are the raft’s sea anchors to keep it from drifting too fast.  If you wanted to attempt to paddle (good luck with supplied paddles), one would need to pull on the red cord in the right side of the photo to collapse each anchor.


The reflective tape on the raft is very reflective!


As expected, you can zip up the canopy to be protected by weather.


Survival equipment…


The blue items are the paddles mentioned above…


5 year old high protein snacks.  Tasty!  I actually enjoyed the flavor of it…


There was no deck of cards…


Reading material.


With pictures!


The flares centered in the photo are the new ones, the upper left show what came out of the raft.


If the unthinkable ever happened, we now feel better that those moments will be slightly more planned and thought out and slightly less uncertainty in a very uncertain/unnerving time.

Answer to the question above:  The number one reason for deploying a life raft is vessel fire.  So as much as we are concerned about keeping our boats afloat, preparing for an on vessel fire statistically is a higher priority.  Make sure you fire suppression systems throughout the boat are ready to be used and that all crew is away of location/operation of all equipment.

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