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How to mount your life raft

West life raft mounted with accessories

Securing your life raft is just as important as having one in the first place. It shouldn’t be able to move from its position unless intended. No one wants to receive a phone call from AMSA asking if you’re okay because they found your life raft washed up on the beach.

Mounting solutions can vary in design with some being as simple as chocks that the raft rests on, others could be custom stainless cradles. These will prevent side-to-side movement but will not be enough to contain the raft in rough seas or accidents. A suitable lashing will be required to ensure it doesn’t leave its perch.

Hydrostatic release units (HRU) are also required for all commercial operators and recommended for everyone else. These will automatically deploy the life raft in the event the vessel sinks. HRUs house a spring-loaded blade that will be released when the water pressure pushes on the membrane at a specified depth. The rope is cut and the life raft is freed and allowed to float to the surface.

If you’re a commercial operator who previously had a ‘float-free box’ you should be able to continue using it but may need to add a lashing and hydrostatic release unit to confirm with the latest rules.