Offshore Life Rafts

** Affiliate disclosure. This web site is supported by its awesome audience. When you click or purchase through links on our site, we may earn an affiliate commission.

Offshore Life Rafts

Offshore life rafts can be crucial safety equipment for boaters. It is important to have all crew members aware of what they need to do in an emergency. If the boat has a failed electrical system, an onboard fire, or a mechanical failure, the last resort would be to gather all crew members and launch the raft. This would be an emergency measure that must be taken as quickly as possible. If the water is warm enough, it is also vital to use the raft to reach shore.


The SOS Marine Canopy is an inflatable canopy that fits over a two-person coastal life raft. It’s inflated using an oral inflator tube, similar to that found on a life jacket. It’s designed to protect the raft’s occupants from sunlight, wind, and rain.

The SEP’s boarding aids are superior, but the canopy top doesn’t seal properly. It also lacks a medical kit and SOLAS-grade flares. It does, however, offer an insulated floor and reflective finish. If you’re in need of a liferaft that will stay dry and secure in rough waters, Zodiac offers a 7-foot, three-foot, and five-foot model.

Another difference is the placement of the canopy. A conventional canopy-covered raft may invert before its occupants are able to get inside. The bottom side of the raft has a hole for entering water, which serves as ballast. An inverted raft is difficult to re-enter. It may require the occupants to climb up the bottom side to climb out.

A liferaft canopy can provide protection for occupants in rough seas and can also be used for coastal service. It provides four square feet of floor space for each occupant, as well as a self-inflating canopy. The patented system also offers a convenient boarding ramp for easy boarding. It also has interior lifelines to stabilize the occupants during heavy seas. A weather-proof valise can also be purchased for the liferaft.

The REVERE Coastal Compact 6 Person Life Raft with Canopy is an excellent choice for coastal boaters. This is the smallest liferaft on the market today. It has double-200-pound capacity SuperRev weighted ballast pockets and a self-contained CO2 inflation system.

Toroidal ballast

A toroidal ballast is a type of weight that is placed under an offshore life raft. It is a red rectangular bag that extends around the perimeter of the raft and is filled with water. The toroidal ballast fills quickly and is used to provide a good capsize resistance and keep wind from getting under the raft. It is an important feature on a boat-shaped raft, and it has a few other benefits as well.

This type of ballast is designed to help stabilize the raft in a variety of conditions, including a downdraft from a rescue helicopter. While all rafts have pockets for water, the best ones will have a toroidal ballast system that wraps around the entire bottom of the raft. In addition, you should look for a life raft that has two to four boarding points, rather than one. Also, rigid steps are better than webbing ladders, as they have higher freeboard.

Some rafts feature both toroidal and hemispheric ballast systems. These systems have been proven to be effective in heavy-weather capsizes. A toroidal or hemispheric system has been the most effective in such cases. Some models have large holes that prevent wind from blowing the raft over.

Another type of toroidal ballast has been designed to provide stability to an offshore life raft. The design of this ballast allows it to act as a stabilizer when submerged. It is also easy to assemble and may be attached to the raft with conventional snaps or connectors. The water ballast inside the stabilizer resists sudden horizontal or vertical movement, and helps to reduce the raft’s rocking motion caused by surface waves.

Another reason why toroidal ballast is so important in offshore life rafts is the fact that it will increase the buoyancy of an inflatable raft. It will also make the raft easier to board from the mothership.

Hydrostatic release unit

When choosing a hydrostatic release unit for an offshore life raft, look for a reputable manufacturer. The Hammar H20 is a world-famous hydrostatic release unit that has been saving lives for over 25 years. Its glass fibre reinforced nylon (GFRN) construction is durable and corrosion-resistant. It is also 97% recyclable. Plus, it has a simple installation process and fewer parts to replace, which reduces storage and maintenance costs. Furthermore, a Hammar H20 hydrostatic release unit is faster and easier to install than a traditional release unit.

The Hammar H20 hydrostatic release unit is a durable, high-quality device that is approved for use on offshore vessels. Its design allows it to perform well even in extreme conditions, including ice and sea water. It is activated by increasing water pressure and releases the life raft in the event of an emergency. It is approved for use on both commercial and recreational vessels and has a two-year expiration date.

LALIZAS, which holds a leading position in the marine industry, produces the HRU. This unit is designed to fit any life raft shape and is manufactured in the EU in accordance with SOLAS standards. It is made in the same factory that manufactures LALIZAS inflatable lifejackets.

HRUs are used to deploy life rafts and EPIRBs automatically in cases of emergency. Typically, HRUs work at 1.5 to four meters of water. AMSA inspectors often identify deficient HRU arrangements when inspecting vessels. An HRU should be installed properly in order to avoid this problem.

Rated capacity

The rated capacity of an offshore life raft specifies how many people the raft can accommodate. Each person should have approximately four square feet of space on the raft. This number does not include any space for extra survival gear or comfort. It also does not consider the size of the raft’s interior. When choosing a raft, consider how many people you will be carrying and whether you plan on bringing along extra survival gear. If you have more than this number, you’ll need to hope that you get rescued quickly.

Offshore life rafts come in different sizes, designs, and prices. Some are designed for casualties in less severe conditions, while others are designed for serious situations. Offshore life rafts with transoceanic capabilities are made to be much more rugged and have larger ballast bags and self-righting inflating canopies. They also come with a longer list of safety equipment, including a drogue and insulated inflatable floors.

Depending on your needs, you can choose between a wooden or fibreglass hull. The best choice is dependent on the number of people you’re carrying, the amount of equipment you’re carrying, and the number of crew members aboard. Generally, liferafts will carry a minimum of six people.

A life raft can cost from $500 to $1,000. It’s best to purchase a name brand raft. You can also purchase used ones and get them professionally recertified. A life raft rental service can cost anywhere from $500 to a thousand dollars, depending on your needs and the duration of your trip.

The longer the time that it takes for rescue efforts to reach the boat, the more substantial your raft needs to be. It should also include extra space for supplies. The distance from land and normal shipping lanes also affects the time it takes for a rescue team to reach you. It should also contain an emergency communication and location device, such as an EPIRB or PLB.

Storage options

Offshore life rafts come with a variety of different storage options. Some are portable and are designed to store a single life raft for multiple crew members. Others are larger and require more space. Whether a raft is portable or fixed, it’s important to choose a solution that will be the most convenient for its user.

Fortunately, some newer boats have a raft stowage area on the interior. However, most production boats don’t have such a feature. This makes storing your life raft a challenge. In addition, your raft will need regular service and maintenance. Remember to replace the CO2 canisters used to inflate the rafts on a regular basis to ensure safe operation.

Another good storage option is a valise container. It can be stored below deck or in a cockpit locker. When not in use, the valise is protected from moisture, heat, and UV rays. However, you need to take into account that an offshore life raft can weigh up to 100 pounds, and moving it isn’t a simple task.

If you’re going to be out on the ocean for an extended period of time, consider investing in a ditch bag or dry bag. These can subsidize the cost of your life raft by containing your backup personal locator beacon, or EPIRB. A working EPIRB will call rescue services within 24 hours. Don’t keep all your possessions in these bags, however. For example, a handheld radio and a solar still may not be useful on a billfish trip, but they could be useful in a survival situation. Other items to keep in a ditch bag include medications, sunscreen, and repair cement. Offshore life rafts also come with different storage options. Winslow’s “Super-Light” line offers several types of rafts that will fit most situations. For example, there’s the Basic Cruising and Fishing Offshore for $3,795 (viewport-equipped), the Offshore Plus, and the Ocean Rescue.