Get one in a valise and keep it handy down below. That's what we did when we delivered the HR when I first bought it. We didn't buy a new life raft until we knew we'd be sailing outside of VHF range of help for long periods of time. We tried to have the one that came with the boat repacked, but it was DOA and couldn't be redone. So we did without for a couple of years until we went cruising.Thanks WHK - how do you go about mounting a rental?
You sure about that? When a liferaft needs to be re packed virtually everything inside the raft gets replaced. All those $50-$100 SOLAS flares - replaced. The water packets - replaced. CO2 inflator - replaced. Then there is the inflation test. The recertification... It all adds up to nothing close to cheap.Repacks should be relatively cheap unless you need to replace the cannister - i dont know the cost or schedule on that. Ask a good shop.
i was shocked how hard it was to find a raft. Unfortunately, even if had easy access to a raft i still wouldn't be interested in wading back into offshore sailing.I'm going through this as well. I have a raft aboard, but the recert is 1100-1400 (called the LRSE folks). Bermuda 1-2 rental is $750. It's a jimmy kicker for sure. I am discovering why young, non-rich people don't do this sort of racing. I am also enriching a lot of bankers in this process--hopefully they will offer me a drink off their 60ft Gunboat or whatever in Bermuda, since I'm funding their hobby just as surely as they're funding mine. FWIW, found new 4-man rafts in the $1700 range--but, again, with that 3-year recert requirement and my current life schedule, it just doesn't make sense.
If I had the time, I'd set up a swap website for rafts. Not going racing this summer? Rent yours to me for a hundred bucks and get back some of what you've invested.