Life rafts

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With any new design there is a chance of having a problem. If your life is on the line, a life raft is a good backup plan. A simple life raft will get blown over in big waves and high winds. There are designs that work much better than the simple life raft.

Givens Buoy Raft

The [1] uses water ballast so wind gusts and breaking waves don't tip it over. They have a testimonial of some guys that survived 48 hours in a hurricane, including passing through the eye. The water ballast also makes the raft drift much slower in the wind, so rescuers don't have to look so far. This design looks far safer than a simple open raft. There are life rafts for 4, 6, 8, 10, 12, or 25 people. An 8 person Givens raft costs between $6,155 for standard yachting raft and over $8,000 for the deluxe Solas A raft.

The basic Givens design was developed by NASA to recover Apollo astronauts. See the 2009 NASA Spinoff Publication. [2] There is also an interesting article in BoatTest.Com that somewhat chronicles the development and testing of inflatable life rafts in general. [3]

The following video speaks for itself in comparing the hydrodynamic stabilization of the Givens to other traditional ballasted life rafts.

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Winslow Life Raft

The Winslow Life Rafts include models designed for open ocean. Prices are similar to Givens.

Switlik Life Rafts

The switlik life rafts are another heavy weather life raft. They also make a Inflatable Single Place Life Raft ISPLR which can be worn as a 5 lbs belt pack.

Free fall lifeboats

People can enter from the back and then they drop into the ocean. If things are looking bad for the main ship people can get into the lifeboat and wait to see if the problem can be fixed or if the ship is going to sink. Once in the lifeboat they can launch at any moment.

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In another video you can see the inside of the boat. Seats face backward.

Can see product info at

Stuff to have in lifeboat

  • Sea Anchor - to keep bow pointed into waves
  • Water maker - if you can make water you last out a storm
  • Food
  • EPIRB - emergency radio beacon
  • GPS - to know where you are
  • Kite - so after things calm down some you can go where you want