Life raft

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Life raft

Postby daveward73 » Sun Dec 31, 2017 12:40 pm

Hello all, I have recently got myself a lovely 2016 32 express and am intending to explore with it (Keys, Bahamas)
Thing is at the moment I don't know much or have any real experience except the stuff a captain showed me up and down the ICW and a little just off the coast.
I realize I have a lot to learn and I don't want to take risks so will likely hook up with other boats to do the first runs.

First I want to equip the boat with a life raft and life jackets, probably for 4 people, any recommendations what to get and where are appreciated?


Dave & Polly.

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Re: Life raft

Postby On Holiday » Wed Jan 03, 2018 9:59 am

Welcome aboard, not too much to offer other than doing some internet searches. Another item to consider is what is called a "ditch bag" where you keep emergency items in case you need to exit the boat. Always good to have enough life jackets on board for all members on board and knowing where they are located and are of proper size. In our bow rider pfd's are placed where they are in arms reach and children wear them. It is always a good idea for all to wear because if you are hit or hit something you could become unconscious.

Also look at boater safety courses, many courses are available during the winter months.
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Re: Life raft

Postby Kikaboo » Wed Jan 03, 2018 10:40 am

While I was not new to boating my first learning experiences on a cruiser type boat was when we purchased our 32 in 2015 in southern Florida Jenson Beach and Delray area. What worked really well for me in terms of learning all the stuff on the boat and gaining some experience on the ICW and using the inlets was to hire a captain for about $50/hour. I learned the most doing that and it took a lot of pressure off. Super easy to do in Florida.

I don’t have a life raft but have considered it for the more out there trips. I would absolutely recommend some sort of PLB for sure.

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Re: Life raft

Postby Batchski » Wed Jan 03, 2018 8:05 pm

I second the recommendation of a PLB (Personal Locator Beacon). An EPIRB is the best, but we have an ACR ResQLink beacon. I also have a floating and waterproof handheld radio. On excursions offshore, I assemble everything into a ditch bag. I don't have a raft, but like some safety items, seems excessive until you need it! I haven't bought one mostly because they are expensive and take storage space. For life jackets, I have 12 on board, including two for kids. That covers me for the max I'll ever have on board, and to my surprise, parents seem to show up with no life jackets for their own kids. I have 4 of the inflatable-type life jackets, which are great because they don't take up as much space. I have the ones from West Marine called "Coastal." They auto-inflate if you hit the water. These are great when you have inexperienced guests. If somebody doesn't seem confident in their answer of knowing how to swim, they always get a life jacket. Also, we always put one on when going on the bow at night.

As for training, the idea of the captain is great. Also, there are likely courses taught somewhere there, so look for those. You'll want courses like twin screw handling, navigation, and Radar. One more thing is to be in charge as the Captain of your boat. Don't let people do things that endanger your boat and guests. You're responsible for everybody's safety, so keep that in mind. I make sure that my immediate family all knows how to operate the radio, the PLB, and the basics of the boat. They always complain and say they know already, but I don't think they do. Probably an old military thing for me, but we practice it! :D
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