How Often Should A Lift Raft Be Serviced?
This is an age-old question when it comes to the use and ownership of life rafts. A lot of the time it is followed by "Why should I get my life raft serviced?" The answer is a very simple one, service intervals were set by the Coast Guard of The United States in order to ensure all safety devices can function as they intend. Although the service intervals only apply to inspected and commercial fishing vessels it is recommended that even recreational vessels follow the same guidelines so that if deployed you can be confident in the device potentially saving your life.
Inspected and Commercial Fishing Vessels
Life rafts under these categories must be services annuals, although non-SOLAS vessels are NOT required to have their new rafts serviced for the first year they are in service. SLOAS class vessels on the other hand need to have their rafts services every year and do not qualify for the first year exemption. This is the regulation is in place for these categorized products.
If you are not required to equip a life raft, the USCG does not require you to follow the same servicing guidelines if you choose to bring one along board. That being said the manufacturer of your life raft does have a service interval that is highly recommended. The most common interval is every 3 years although some rafts still abide by the suggested annual servicing.
Those of which who are not required by the USCG often ask if they can go longer than the recommended period for servicing. In actuality you can, although it is not recommended. While no one will force you to get your life raft serviced it could be paramount in a difficult situation that the raft works as intended. We strongly encourage everyone to not exceed the 3 years between servicing on any lift raft simply due to the importance of their functionality.
Frequently Asked Questions
How much time is needed for a life raft to be serviced?
Liferafts typically take a least 4 hours to undergo servicing, on average these services include:
-Inspection & Testing
Liferafts that require repairs may take more than 24 hours in order to ensure the adhesive that is used will cure properly.
What are some of the tests performed on the life rafts?
-Working Pressure Test
-Bridle Overload Test
-Gas Inflation Test
-Floor Seam Test
-Necessary Additional Pressure Test
As well as it may be necessary to carry out the NAP test if the raft has been repaired.
Can I service my own liferaft?
The owner of the liferaft should not attempt to service their own rafts due to the risks and challenges that may be presented. A life raft that has been opened and repacked by someone who has not been thoroughly trained may cause the raft to not inflate when need be.
To get your raft serviced you should visit authorized service stations where technicians undergo specialized training. Service stations also stock the necessary spare parts that are needed in order to perform proper servicing.
We abide by all servicing standards with our liferafts and if you are interested in renting a life raft then take a look at our wide variety to choose from. If you have any questions or want further information feel free to contact us today!