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.