Q: How far out to sea can I go with my particular liferaft?

A: That depends on the emergency pack fitted:
MSA NZ C - Inshore sailing - within 12 miles
MSA NZ B/SOLAS B - within 200 miles
YNZ CAT III/ORC - within 60 miles
YNZ CAT I - International waters
ISAF - International waters
SOLAS A - International waters

Q: What's the difference between YNZ CAT I and YNZ CAT III emergency packs?

A: CAT I packs have the following items which the CAT III pack doesn't: leak stoppers (3), water (500ml per person), rations (500g per person), survival manual, torch, parachute flares (2), rescue line and quoit.

Q: What's in my raft?

A: This depends on the type of raft and whether it's SOLAS or non-SOLAS but some generic components include:
a.    Bailer
b.    Repair kit
c.    Rescue signal card
d.    Bellows
e.    Red hand flares
f.    Anti seasick tables
g.    Sea anchor

You may also have a survival manual, water and rations, parachute flares, buoyant smoke, whistle, sponge, first aid kit, TPAs (Thermal Protective Aids), radar reflector, torch, heliograph and so on.

Q: How does my raft work?

A: Every raft is fitted with a gas cylinder (usually CO2/Nitrogen mix) that is packed inside the container/valise with the liferaft. The painter line is connected to the operating head on the cylinder and a length of it is external to the raft. When you are ready to inflate you raft, bring the raft to the side of the boat and attach the painter line to a hard point. Pull 3 metres of the painter line and throw the raft overboard. Pull the remaining 7 metres of painter line and then give it a sharp tug. The liferaft will inflate. Take in the slack and board the raft. Cut the painter line and activate the EPIRB/PLB/SART. Await the SAR team and fire off any flares as backup.

Q: How much will my raft service cost?

A: The cost of the service comes down to the type of raft and emergency pack fitted and how well the raft has been maintained. We cannot give an estimate until we inspect the raft to see what condition it's in. If the lifed items need to be replaced, this will add to the cost of the service.

Q: What is my raft made of?

A: This depends on the type of raft. The most common fabrics used in liferaft manufacture are PU-coated nylon, butyl, PVC and natural rubber.

Q: Why does my raft need to be serviced at all?

A: There are lifed items such as flares, food and water that need to be replaced from time to time. Also, there are metal parts on the liferaft such as operating heads, cylinders, inflation hoses, etc. that are subject to corrosion in the marine environment.

The regulatory bodies for marine and aviation - MSA NZ and CAA - determine the time between service depending on the raft type. This servicing must be carried out in order to keep your vessel/craft in operation.

Q: How long does it take to service my liferaft?

A: Generally, if there are no major repairs to be carried out, a raft service will take between 4-6 hours. We recommend that you book your raft in for service well in time before you plan to set off so that you are not delayed.

Q: Why don't you fire the liferaft during the service so that you know it works?

A: We inflate the liferafts via compressor and they are pressure checked to ensure everything is working correctly.  We don't fire the raft by the painter line since it puts unnecessary stress on the materials and would also add to the service cost since we would have to refill the cylinder.

Q: How long will my liferaft last?

A: There's no hard and fast rule regarding this and it depends on how the raft is stowed, whether it is a wet boat, whether the vessel been operating for long periods in high humidity, whether the raft been correctly maintained and so on.

Q: What liferaft sizes are available?

A: Our non-SOLAS marine liferafts range is as follows:

  • 4, 6, 8, 10, 12, 16 and 25-person sizes for canopied liferafts
  • 30 and 65-person sizes for open reversible liferafts.

For SOLAS liferafts we have:

  • 6, 8, 10, 12, 16, 20 and 25-person sizes
  • We also have 35 person, 50 person and 100 person (2 x 50 in the same container) available.

Aviation liferafts are different:

  • Aerolite model in 4, 6, 10, 30 and 46-person sizes
  • Heliraft model in 7, 14 and 18-person sizes.

Q: Do you supply lifejackets for newborn babies?

A: No. Our infant/child lifejacket sizing is as follows:

  • Child Extra Small - 10-15kg
  • Child Small - 12-25kg
  • Child Medium - 22-40kg.

Q: Can flares be sent by overnight freight?

A: No because they are classed as dangerous goods. Given this, it generally takes between 2 and 5 days depending on your location.

Q: If I am wearing an automatic inflatable lifejacket and it's raining, or I get splashed by a wave, will it inflate?

A: No, your lifejacket needs to be submerged in water in order to activate the bobbin.

Q: Can I take my inflatable lifejacket on a plane?

A: Generally speaking the cylinder on your lifejacket will show up during X-ray and you will be queried about it and, in most cases, you will be informed that it has to be removed before boarding the plane.

Q: What should I do with my expired flares?

A: Return them to your local RFD branch for disposal. In some cases your local retailer will accept them.

Q: What's the difference between lifejackets and buoyancy aids?

A: A lifejacket has more buoyancy than a buoyancy aid and is designed to keep the head upright in the water. Whereas a buoyancy aid doesn't have a collar, has less buoyancy and is more closely fitting for watersports but will not keep you upright in the water.

Q: How many lifejackets should I carry on board?

A: You need a lifejacket to fit (most importantly) every person on your vessel.

Q: Can I come in, order a liferaft and take it away?

A: No, but you can have a pre-sale survey carried out. It is better that you speak to us first. We can then give you a quote you and place an order so that it arrives before a particular deadline. This product is not an 'off-the-shelf' item.

Q: I've bought a lifebuoy light but it doesn't seem to work?

A: Have you unscrewed the lens cap and taken the plastic spacer out from underneath the bulb? You need to do this for the light to work.

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