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#108232 - 10/10/07 02:08 PM GEAR: Navy Life Raft Survival Equipment
TomApple Offline
Journeyman

Registered: 09/05/06
Posts: 80
Loc: Suffolk, Va.
Hello Group,

As program manager for Navy life rafts I will be revising our survival equipment pack to update it some to hopefully make it more effective and easier to support logistics wise.

Currently our Mark 7 25-person life raft is a militarized off-the-shelf (MOTS) USCG/SOLAS approved life raft design. The Navy is not required to have a life raft that meets all USCG/SOLAS regs, however we use them as general guidelines.

The Mk-7 is constructed of polyurethane coated nylon with RF welded seam construction. It is inflated by a breathable air inflation system which will fully inflate the life raft in less than 30 seconds in -22 degree F temperature. USCG/SOLAS rafts are required to inflate in less than three minutes at that temperature. We currently have the life rafts on a five-year service interval, with a 0.005% failure to inflate rate after the five-year certification cycle.



Now for the nitty gritty:

The current survival equipment is as follows:

First Aid Kit: contains various wound dressings for combat related injuries, sunscreen (30-spf), lip balm, dimenhydrinate (anti-seasickness meds), aspirin, as well as wire splint, arm sling, eye first aid kit, surgical scissors, foreceps, etc.

Flare kit: 6 Mk-124 day/night flares, 2 sets (14 cartridges) Mk-79 pen gun type flares.

Other Signalling Devices: whistle, sea dye marker, glass signal mirror, and 2 or 3 D-cell flashlight w/ spare batteries and bulbs(ASTM F-1014).

Other Survival Gear: fishing kit, 12 ea. emergency blankets, standard military pocket knife, bailer, sponges, 2 sets of leak clamps (3 sizes of clamps in a set), spare sea anchor, manual air pump, paddles (2 ea.), 2-qt Water storage bags (2 ea.), pressure relief valve retainer.

Sustenance: 25 each 3-day food packets (USCG approved), 25 each 0.5 liter graduated nalgene bottle of water, and military version of the PUR Survivor-35 manual reverse osmosis desalinator (MROD).


Contemplated Changes

Replace pyrotechnic flare kit with non-pyro devices: could possibly include green laser flare, hand-held strobe, and improved LED flashlight (SF G2 LED or similar). All or most devices would run off of CR123A 3-volt lithium batteries or AA lithium batteries.

Add PLB w/ GPS to two rafts per ship: would increase ability to alert rescuers of abandon ship scenario and provide a location fix. One raft port and one starboard could be equipped with PLB.


In adding/changing equipment I have to consider: cost, size, weight, volume, ability to work anytime during 5-year maint. cycle, and ability to easily logistically support and not create new problems with HAZMAT. It is preferable that any new equipment be manufactured in the U.S. or Canada.

If you want more details of a particular item, let me know.

NOTE: This is an informal discussion for this group, and it is to remain here as an informal discussion. This should not migrate to any other sort of publication or be construed in any way other than as a chat amongst friends.

Regards,

Tom A.

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#108236 - 10/10/07 02:56 PM Re: GEAR: Navy Life Raft Survival Equipment [Re: TomApple]
OldBaldGuy Offline
Geezer

Registered: 09/30/01
Posts: 5695
Loc: Former AFB in CA, recouping fr...
"...Replace pyrotechnic flare kit with non-pyro devices..."

Space available, how about changing "replace" to "supplement"??? Why get rid of a proven signaling device???
_________________________
OBG

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#108239 - 10/10/07 03:04 PM Re: GEAR: Navy Life Raft Survival Equipment [Re: TomApple]
billym Offline
Addict

Registered: 12/01/05
Posts: 616
Loc: Oakland, California
Is everything redundantly waterproof?
Remeber the Survivorman "Lost at sea" episode?
The survival kit was full of water pretty quickly.

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#108248 - 10/10/07 03:30 PM Re: GEAR: Navy Life Raft Survival Equipment [Re: OldBaldGuy]
TomApple Offline
Journeyman

Registered: 09/05/06
Posts: 80
Loc: Suffolk, Va.
Originally Posted By: OldBaldGuy
"...Replace pyrotechnic flare kit with non-pyro devices..."

Space available, how about changing "replace" to "supplement"??? Why get rid of a proven signaling device???


Good question...

For several reasons.

Logistics: Flares are considered ammunition, and as such requires special handling, transport, and storage. A life raft facility can easily exceed its rated explosive storage capacity when servicing rafts from a large population ship. It's a reoccuring expense as the flares have to be periodically replaced. Non-pyro signals just use batteries. After initial acquisition, the cost is a few bucks for new batteries for subsequent servicing.

Usage: If a military vessel is sunk during combat, there is a high probability of fuel on the water. A flare burning at 3500 F degrees can ignite the fuel if it were to come in contact with it. They also pose a hazard to the raft and survivors if misused or if they malfunction.

Training: It's difficult to provide hands-on training with flares due to the expense and hazard. Non-pyro kits can be distributed to all the ships and training commands such the sailors can train with them, making them more effective and safe to use.

Regards,

Tom A.

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#108249 - 10/10/07 03:34 PM Re: GEAR: Navy Life Raft Survival Equipment [Re: billym]
TomApple Offline
Journeyman

Registered: 09/05/06
Posts: 80
Loc: Suffolk, Va.
Originally Posted By: billym
Is everything redundantly waterproof?
Remeber the Survivorman "Lost at sea" episode?
The survival kit was full of water pretty quickly.


Yes, if an item is not already in a watertight container, it is heat sealed into an 8 mil polyethylene pouch with a desiccant pack.

Most critical items are also equipped with a lanyard and clip to secure to the raft life lines so a wave doesn't wash it all overboard.

Tom

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#108251 - 10/10/07 04:34 PM Re: GEAR: Navy Life Raft Survival Equipment [Re: TomApple]
JCWohlschlag Offline
Some guy who wandered in…
Old Hand

Registered: 11/26/06
Posts: 724
Loc: Dallas, Pennsylvania, United S...
One thing you may want to look at is replacing or supplementing the sea dye marker with a RescueStreamer. Doug gives a pretty compelling review of these vs. the sea dye markers in his writings, and it does seem like a large advancement in numerous perspectives.
_________________________
“Hiking is just walking where it’s okay to pee. Sometimes old people hike by mistake.” — Demitri Martin

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#108252 - 10/10/07 04:36 PM Re: GEAR: Navy Life Raft Survival Equipment [Re: TomApple]
thseng Offline
Old Hand

Registered: 03/24/06
Posts: 899
Loc: NW NJ
Quote:
25 each 0.5 liter graduated nalgene bottle of water

Is the water factory bottled or are they just manually filled with tap water? If so, do you sterilize it?
_________________________
- Tom S.
Mora Knives & Adventurer Series Survival Gear

"Never trust and engineer who doesn't carry a pocketknife."

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#108254 - 10/10/07 04:45 PM Re: GEAR: Navy Life Raft Survival Equipment [Re: JCWohlschlag]
TomApple Offline
Journeyman

Registered: 09/05/06
Posts: 80
Loc: Suffolk, Va.
Originally Posted By: JCWohlschlag
One thing you may want to look at is replacing or supplementing the sea dye marker with a RescueStreamer.


Thanks for the suggestion.
We're already looking at the strobe illuminated version. The plain non-illuminated streamer won't add much more visibility from the air as the bright orange canopy on our 25-person rafts already is fairly easy to find. Our 50-person Mark-8 life raft even more so.

Rescue Streamer has a newer streamer with an LED illuminated light baton that will automatically activate at night and turn-off during the day. It's very bright and flashes SOS in Morse code. It's a pretty cool rig, definitely worthy of consideration.

The plain streamer is more effective on small life rafts which have little visible footprint on the ocean surface.

When my FY08 funding for our signal test program arrives, we will be testing a variety of strobes and other signals to try and establish some baseline performance data to help us determine what criteria should be used to select candidate devices.

Regards,

Tom

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#108255 - 10/10/07 04:49 PM Re: GEAR: Navy Life Raft Survival Equipment [Re: thseng]
TomApple Offline
Journeyman

Registered: 09/05/06
Posts: 80
Loc: Suffolk, Va.
Originally Posted By: thseng
Quote:
25 each 0.5 liter graduated nalgene bottle of water

Is the water factory bottled or are they just manually filled with tap water? If so, do you sterilize it?


The water is factory bottled and is sterile. We've conducted tests of the water at various ages up to ten years and found no biological contaminants and GC mass spectrometer tests show volatile organics (from the plastic bottle) to be below measurable levels. As it is, we replace the water at every servicing.

Regards,

Tom

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#108259 - 10/10/07 04:53 PM Re: GEAR: Navy Life Raft Survival Equipment [Re: TomApple]
paramedicpete Offline
Pooh-Bah

Registered: 04/09/02
Posts: 1914
Loc: Frederick, Maryland

How about replacing/supplementing:

the standard military pocket knife with a decent multi-tool

the sponges with one or more micro-fiber towels

the wire splint for a SAM splint

non-aspirin pain/anti-inflammatory meds

duct tape


Pete

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