Caribbean Inflatable
 Boats and Liferafts
6200 Estate Frydenhoj, Suite 2, Saint Thomas, VI 00802




All boaters should prepare for worst-case situations and create Standard Operating Procedures, or SOPs, to overcome emergencies. These plans include, when all efforts have failed, gathering crewmembers together and deploying the life raft. Abandoning ship into the raft should always be the choice of last resort, hence the axiom that you should always STEP UP from the boat into the raft.

*There are tragic accounts of boaters who perished in their relatively tiny and unsheltered rafts, after abandoning damaged vessels that were later found adrift, afloat and uninhabited.

Board your raft only when all other options have vanished

Life rafts are inflated by compressed gas, usually nitrogen and CO2, stored in a high-pressure cylinder. When the inflation lanyard is pulled, a valve releases the gas into the inflatable chamber(s). The resulting inflated shape may be square, pentagonal, hexagonal, octagonal, elongated octagonal, etc.

Most have a protective canopy supported by one or more inflatable tubes. Doors or openings allow occupants to board and to alter the amount of ventilation and storm protection according to the conditions. Life rafts can also contain rations of food and water, weather sheets, a basic first aid kit, and more depending on the raft.


Helpful Tips when using a life raft

It is suggested to store the raft on the deck, but in most charter boats they are stored in a locker.
Once you decide to abandon the boat, a choice that should be the last when you face a difficult situation, pay attention on the following steps :
• Move and place the life raft on the deck (if it is not already there) and tie somewhere secure.
• Throw the raft into the sea. If it does not open, pull the rope to open.
• If it opens in the sea with the bottom up, a crew member should swim to the raft and using a rope fitted on the bottom of the raft, turn it in the right position.
• All the crew members should then enter the raft
• The skipper should enter last, and cut the rope, in order to separate the raft from the boat.
Remember to take with you the EPIRb device and activate it.

What is an EPIRB...?
Distress radio beacons, also known as emergency beacons, PLB, ELT or EPIRB, are tracking transmitters, which aid in the detection and location of boats, aircraft, and people in distress. Strictly, they are radio beacons that interface with worldwide offered service of Cospas-Sarsat, the international satellite system for search and rescue (SAR). When manually activated, or automatically activated upon immersion, such beacons send out a distress signal. The signals are monitored worldwide and the location of the distress is detected by non-geostationary satellites, and can be located by some combination of GPS trilateration and Doppler triangulation.

The basic purpose of a distress radio beacon is to help rescuers find survivors within the so-called "golden day" (the first 24 hours following a traumatic event) during which the majority of survivors can usually be saved.

Since the inception of Cospas-Sarsat in 1982, distress radio beacons have assisted in the rescue of over 28,000 people in more than 7,000 distress situations. In 2010 alone, the System provided information which was used to rescue 2,388 persons in 641 distress situations.


Tips for Surviving in a life raft

Once evacuation has been completed, take care about the following points :
• Check your supplies.
• Help and treat any injured or ill person.
• Depending on your position, estimate a rescue time and divide your water and food supplies according to the number of the persons on board.
• Have your safety equipment (flares etc) ready to use.
do your best to stay calm!

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