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Old 01-02-2012, 08:10 PM   #1
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Which first: dinghy or life raft..

After I boat purchase I am trying pace the $$$.

We intend spend our time cruising the San Juan's for a few weeks at a time in addition some long weekends..

Our kids are young.. If that makes a difference. We are adamant about them wearing vests all time in addition we purchased a MOB alarm for both.

What should be our first investment, a dinghy sittymready to go on Davits or a decent 6 person hydrostatic release life raft?

Howard
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Old 01-02-2012, 08:31 PM   #2
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Which first: dinghy or life raft..

Really 2 different animals....

A*life raft is a liferaft but a really good, modified dingy can be a suitable rescue platform for coastal and even possibly offshore cruising plus it's still a dingy.

if you are new enough to ask the question...then work really hard at getting both.* For coastal cruising even an inexpensive*liferaft is OK...really a rescue platform and not even a liferaft some manufacturers call them.* Most liferafts are overkill if you are less than 100 mile of the coast and relatively near a rescue helicopter base. Also the hydrostatic release isn't necessary...nice but for many boats not all that important.

As in all boating...you have to use your head when trip planning...weather and possible outcomes if something goes wrong.



-- Edited by psneeld on Monday 2nd of January 2012 09:33:57 PM


-- Edited by psneeld on Monday 2nd of January 2012 09:34:30 PM
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Old 01-02-2012, 08:41 PM   #3
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RE: Which first: dinghy or life raft..

My only concern about the life raft not in a auto release is making sure my wife could handle it. Some of the valises are over 100lbs... way too much for her.

I am probably over thinking things... She could launch a dinghy off a davit... but not hoist something over a railing
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Old 01-02-2012, 09:06 PM   #4
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RE: Which first: dinghy or life raft..

FWIW, I'd go with an inflatable with a*small outboard, say 3.5-5 hp*outboard. Having had 4 kids growing up around boats, I have found an inflatable dingy/RIB to be perfect for young kids. No sharp edges when they fall, very stable &*v*irtually unsinkable,*not to mention a lot of*fun. Just keep them away from oysters.(the boat not the kids)

Downside, they won't last as long as traditional dingy and new, are realatively expensive.

The thing to remember though is as your kids get older you will probably want to think about a larger RIB with a bigger motor. So it may not be that important that the first dingy lasts more than say 4-5 years.By then you may *buy a few water toys, get a bigger RIB with say a 15hp *and scare the daylights out of them and their friends on a whip in a donut.

By the time they are about 8, you will find they are quite capable of navigating the dingy from boat to shore(with you next to them), after that there is no holding them, which is the time to lay down the boat use rules. Good times ahead for the Badger family I think.
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Old 01-02-2012, 09:12 PM   #5
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RE: Which first: dinghy or life raft..

For cruising the San Juans, you can probably get away without a raft.** You will never be far from shore, and a lot of other boats.* A dingy will come in handy far more often that a raft and in smooth water will substitute for a raft just fine.*

Still, if you did need to get off the boat* in bigger water or rough seas,(due to fire or sinking) you may not be able to get to the dingy, or get it launched in time.* In rough water, launching will be more difficult, and it's likely to be less stable than a raft.*

A raft has a lot going for it, especially one with a hydrostatic release.* It's not unheard of for a boat to sink suddenly, and a raft that inflates automatically could save lives if your unable to get into the dingy in time.* Don't worry about your wife launching it either.* We have all heard stories of mon's lifting cars off their kids.* Actually, placed correctly, you don't even need to lift it, just push it into the water.*

As you start out, a dingy will provide hours of fun at anchor and provide transportation to and from shore and other boats. As you expand your cruising grounds, a raft will make more sense in more open waters. Having both is desirable once you can afford it.* ..Arctic Traveller

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Old 01-02-2012, 09:14 PM   #6
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Which first: dinghy or life raft..

Quote:
psneeld wrote:
Really 2 different animals....

A*life raft is a liferaft but a really good, modified dingy can be a suitable rescue platform for coastal and even possibly offshore cruising plus it's still a dingy.

*
*Exactly, here is a picture of our Life raft ( Safety purposes only ). We have a 10' QuickSilver tender with a 5.5hp for going to the shore when moorned off.*

<a></a>

<a target="_blank"></a>

Elwin*


-- Edited by Ocean Breeze NL on Monday 2nd of January 2012 10:47:19 PM
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Old 01-02-2012, 09:15 PM   #7
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RE: Which first: dinghy or life raft..

I think in this area a proper shoreboat/dinghy will serve you better if you're going to buy only one thing, particularly if it is mounted on your boat in such a way as to be easily and quickly deployed in an emergency. For this reason I don't like boat-deck mounted dinghies as they take too long to deploy, and in rough or rough-ish water they can be downright dangerous to deploy. But where you are able to carry a dinghy will be dependent on the configuration of your boat.

If you were boating in the open ocean or making long, open water passages in bodies of water known for rough conditions, the life raft would be a good investment I think. But here, with relatively short distances, lots of places to duck in to, good weather forecasting, and a fair amount of boat traffic year round, I think you will get much more use--- and enjoyment--- out of having a proper shoreboat. We prefer a hardshell dinghy because of its inherent longevity and resistance to damage on our often rocky shorelines. But inflatables/RIBs have their advantages, too, so it's a matter of personal preference (and budget).
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Old 01-02-2012, 10:03 PM   #8
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RE: Which first: dinghy or life raft..

I'd vote for the dinghy first but at the same time buy an EPIRB or PLB so in an emergency you don't have to spend much time in the dinghy. Make a good ditch bag to throw in the dinghy.
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Old 01-02-2012, 10:14 PM   #9
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RE: Which first: dinghy or life raft..

Quote:
HopCar wrote:
I'd vote for the dinghy first but at the same time buy an EPIRB or PLB so in an emergency you don't have to spend much time in the dinghy. Make a good ditch bag to throw in the dinghy.


I already own a gps enabled PLB (I travel for work using sno cat a lot) and ordered a cat I EPIRB as well.
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Old 01-02-2012, 10:17 PM   #10
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RE: Which first: dinghy or life raft..

You could consider the Portland Pudgy, one of which we have mounted on our stern platform via Weaver Davits:

http://www.portlandpudgy.com/
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Old 01-03-2012, 08:13 AM   #11
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RE: Which first: dinghy or life raft..

Badger, I'm impressed that you're giving this so much thought. You wouldn't believe how many people come into my store and ask what safety equipment the Coast Guard requires. That's all they will buy.
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Old 01-03-2012, 08:13 AM   #12
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RE: Which first: dinghy or life raft..

I'd second the Portland Pudgy idea if you really want to consider both. The Pudgy also rows and sails well, and stores it's own rig aboard. The Pudgy is on my short list for the next dinghy. I like my Carribe Rib, but for our usage, a Pudgy adds the sailing dimension that would be fun, especially in shallow anchorages distant from shore.
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Old 01-03-2012, 08:42 AM   #13
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Which first: dinghy or life raft..

My philosophy on dingies is they are essentially a workboat for your boating lifestyle...first and foremost they should be stable in a variety conditions..especially the way you are using your dingy the most

Having stability with a heavy load to one side...heavy person plus secondary anchor and chain plus trailing line and some water in the bilge is one requirement I have.* The rowing and sailing is nice...but pretty far down even though reasonable rowing is always a good thing.* The recreational aspect is important to me..but definitely secondary.

Don't let ads fool you...a lot of*documentation and pictures are well crafted to support claims and*when you read closely the claim is carefully worded too.

Looks are nice...but way down on most cruisers lists unless they carry 2...or they are lucky enough to own a dingy that does it all (I personally don't know of any practical ones with looks that are carried on 40 foot or less trawlers)


-- Edited by psneeld on Tuesday 3rd of January 2012 09:43:01 AM
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Old 01-03-2012, 10:52 AM   #14
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RE: Which first: dinghy or life raft..

Maybe I missed someone mentioning this but if you are planning on doing much anchoring you will need to be able to run a shore line to stop or limit the boat swinging. Many anchorages are tight enough that is the only way you won't be swinging into other boats or a rock. Other ancorages are ok only if you don't swing and in the process unhook if the bottom is rocky or the bottom drop off is steep.

Unless you want to swim, and the water is often cold, all the time to do this or depend on someone else you will need some kind of a dinghy that at the least can be rowed. Keep the expense down by going with a used dinghy.

I prefer to swing when I can but there are places it just is not practical.

The raft is good for emergencies, although I don't have one, but the dinghy will likely get frequent and consistent use unless you only dockhop.
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Old 01-03-2012, 11:38 AM   #15
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RE: Which first: dinghy or life raft..

Being a substantial investment, a source of periodic maintenance costs, and highly unlikely to be used, a liferaft is not in my acquisition plans.* This would change if I made extensive open water voyages.* I boat in the*great*San Francisco estuary.

A good dinghy would be much handier and useful.* Haven't acquired one yet.* Leaning toward a hard-hulled, easily-rowed, motorless dinghy.
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Old 01-03-2012, 04:06 PM   #16
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RE: Which first: dinghy or life raft..

Quote:
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*Leaning toward a hard-hulled, easily-rowed, motorless dinghy.
I think a hardshell is the best way to go but you might want to re-think the motorless bit.

We did this at first.* The Montgomery sailing dinghy that came with our boat is great, but not as a stable, load-carrying shoreboat.* So we added the Livingston on the swimstep on Weaver davits.* At the time we thought, "Motor? We don't need no stinkin' motor."* So we rowed everywhere.

Now this worked okay until the day we got caught in a tidal current sweeping out a narrow exit from a small bay we were moored in.* I was barely able to row out of the current and I was pooped by the time I got us free.* FIve more minutes and the current would have won.

Now in this instance*if we hadn't been able to row free it would not have been a big deal because the current would have deposited us outside one end of the bay and we could have rowed--- probably for the better part of an hour--- around to the other entrance to the bay and back to the boat.

But it did get us thinking, what if this had been an emergency?* What if I'd HAD to get somewhere against or across that current and hadn't been able to row clear?* So we decided to acquire a motor.* Not a big one--- 4hp 4-cycle Yamaha in our case.* But this is more than enough to make decent headway against all but the strongest currents in the area we boat.

I don't know what the tidal range is in SFO bay.* Maybe it's not much. So maybe you aren't faced with having to deal with currents, in which case rowing may be sufficient for all your requirements including emergencies.* But if you do have to deal with currents (or winds or rough water) you might find that a motor gives you an edge that you might someday really need.

There's no rule that says if you have it you have to use it.* You can still row if you want to.* But while it's easy not to use the motor you have, it's a real bitch trying to use the motor you don't have.

Just a thought......
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Old 01-03-2012, 04:41 PM   #17
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RE: Which first: dinghy or life raft..

Besides, Mark, if you're rowing you'll never break my record of 18 minutes and 42 seconds around Angel Island
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Old 01-03-2012, 04:51 PM   #18
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RE: Which first: dinghy or life raft..

You have a valid point, Marin.* Currents in some areas of the San Francisco estuary as in the Golden Gate and Carquinez Strait are pretty strong (4 knots and more), and it seems I'm either fighting or coasting on a 2-knot current.* Still, the foreseeable future I would be using a dinghy in the sloughs/channels of the Delta, so there's always land close by.* I figure an outboard doubles the expense and hassle of having a dinghy, so I'm shying away from an outboard.

Ray, I'm not adventurous enough to try that feat.

What happens when your rubber ducky's engine quits and you find yourself heading toward the Golden Gate at several knots?
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Old 01-03-2012, 04:56 PM   #19
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RE: Which first: dinghy or life raft..

...I eat a sandwich...
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Old 01-03-2012, 05:01 PM   #20
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RE: Which first: dinghy or life raft..

Quote:
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...I eat a sandwich...
*I like your style
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