Life raft service
It's less $$$'s than you might think!!!
When we bought our boat it
came with a 6 person life raft that was purported to be recently
serviced and in good nick. What with the honesty we received
from the other issues during the sale of the boat
every right to expect that big fibreglass box to contain rocks!
But still, we carried it around on our aft deck for years
never really knowing. We talked about it and decided that if
time came for panic, we would give our hard dinghy with it's
built in floatation the higher priority. The bird in hand approach.
The reason we hadn't investigated the life raft was because
we had heard that it cost a lot of money to do the job, besides,
we have been the recipient of many complaints regarding the services
provided by marine trades and to put your lives in the hands
of a stranger.... If I didn't know well, the people doing the
job, or couldn't stand behind and look over their shoulder whilst
being done, I would still be giving priority to our dinghy.
Wok & Woody (Warwick & Janelle) of Whitsunday Ocean
Services have been advertisers with us for some time. Every
time I've been there the place has been in utter chaos. They
do the servicing for most all the rafts for the charter fleet
around the Whitsunday coast, so there is always several of them
spread out on the floor being repaired and surveyed. They also
sell tons of paint, inflatable dinghies and other products and
it's always a similar mess. I feel so at home there. A few
years ago, Wok & Woody built a brand new and larger building
for the business
so now the mess is spread out even further!
I've always wondered what the rafts look like when torn apart,
so have spent some time at W.O.S. , above and beyond the call
of advertising duty when I could. On closer inspection what
appears to be chaos is actually careful organization. The responsibility
of placing your own name on the survey slips is taken very seriously
I became convinced that the right thing was
but what of the cost?
I finally asked.
I don't know where I got the idea that it cost so much, but
I was under the impression that it would be over a thousand $$$'s
to do it. I was happily surprised to be quoted about a third
of that for our 6 person raft. If the raft needs extensive repair,
or the kit of survival gear needs wide spread replacement, then
it would be more. Out of date flares and such need to be replaced,
but W.O.S. prices on those things are good.
(Bobs note; This was a couple years ago. You should ring WOS
to check on current costs. 07- 4948 1366)
The big day comes! Wok cuts away the seal and opens the
box. Instead of the rocks, we find a raft! A good start anyway.
Wok notices moisture inside which is a worry, but further inspection
reveals no harm done from it. Air from Wok's big air compressor
is hooked into it and away it goes. Checked for leaks and all
OK, we have a perfectly good raft! Next, the compressed air
bottle is removed and weighed. The tare weight is stamped on
the side and when weighed ours shows the correct weight for a
full and healthy tank. The bottle is a heavy cast iron thing
like a divers tank in shape. It is inspected for corrosion, ours
is OK but a spot of paint is applied in a corner to prevent
future harm. The valve is inspected and also found to be good.
Next is the goodie bag with the flares and epirb and the rest.
Though some of the gear is out of date, nothing looks to be rubbish.
It would all have worked. A refresh of flares, water, batteries,
and the paint on the gas cylinder will do inside. A better seal
around the case will keep the moisture out and that's that for
a few years.
If nothing else, it was worth it to finally know. If we
have to grab our panic bag in the future, it will be to take
in the raft.