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#108279 - 10/10/07 07:00 PM Re: GEAR: Navy Life Raft Survival Equipment [Re: TomApple]
teacher Offline
Addict

Registered: 12/14/05
Posts: 691
Tom and everybody,

I've been giving this some thought. Now, I know nothing about liferafts, ocean survival or the Navy. So my ideas are very general and not well informed.

Given that:

1. What is your goal with the life rafts? How many people under what conditions for how many days? Everything else flows from that.

2. Can you talk to people who have acutally used the rafts? Survivors can tell you things that we will never think of. What works/ what doesn't. Find a few dozen sailors who used a raft and ask them their opinions.

3. Supplement to #2. Can you get a bunch of folks and a pool, even for a day, to test gear? You will discover some of your basic assumptions are wrong (And how to fix them, I hope.) In marketing terms; a focus group.

4. Is the above pictured raft the best design? Why not oval? Why a 6' peak (if it is) and not 7' or 5'? Why orange? Is green better? etc.

5. What does your current kit do about hypothermia?

6.What happens to each piece of gear when soaked in salt water? does it still function?

7. Can you order gear to have all interchangeable batteries? Is there a hand charger of some sort provided? What is the cost of a small re-charging solar panel?

8. What gear does each life vest include?

More ideas if you need them,

teacher

PS I do creativity/ marketing for a living, but this is the first time for a liferaft.


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#108283 - 10/10/07 08:03 PM Re: GEAR: Navy Life Raft Survival Equipment [Re: Art_in_FL]
TomApple Offline
Journeyman

Registered: 09/05/06
Posts: 80
Loc: Suffolk, Va.
Originally Posted By: Art_in_FL
I would add a couple of simple hats with wide brims and rudimentary sunglasses.

<snip>

Another consideration would be to have a supply of simple light colored bandannas or triangular bandages available.


There are space type blankets that can be cut into strips that function well as sunglasses. When the aluminized material is close to your eyes, you can see through it. The survival manual mentions this.

There are some cloth triangle bandages in the first aid kit.

Tom

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#108285 - 10/10/07 08:25 PM Re: GEAR: Navy Life Raft Survival Equipment [Re: teacher]
TomApple Offline
Journeyman

Registered: 09/05/06
Posts: 80
Loc: Suffolk, Va.
Originally Posted By: teacher

Given that:

1. What is your goal with the life rafts? How many people under what conditions for how many days? Everything else flows from that.


The ships are equipped with enough life rafts to accommodate 110% of the maximum possible manning. In all probability rescue would occur in less than three days, unless we're talking about a nuclear holocaust.

Quote:
2. Can you talk to people who have acutally used the rafts? Survivors can tell you things that we will never think of. What works/ what doesn't. Find a few dozen sailors who used a raft and ask them their opinions.


I've studied several life raft survival situations, including the use of modern inflatables by the Argentines during the Falklands War when the General Belgrano was sunk. The biggest problem for life raft survivors is hypothermia.

Quote:
3. Supplement to #2. Can you get a bunch of folks and a pool, even for a day, to test gear? You will discover some of your basic assumptions are wrong (And how to fix them, I hope.) In marketing terms; a focus group.


We test gear all the time. One motto on the wall is "One test is worth a thousand expert opinions."

Quote:
4. Is the above pictured raft the best design? Why not oval? Why a 6' peak (if it is) and not 7' or 5'? Why orange? Is green better? etc.


It's a proven design which meets USCG/SOLAS requirements.

Quote:
5. What does your current kit do about hypothermia?


There are 12 survival (space blankets) versus the 3 carried by USCG/SOLAS approved rafts.

Quote:
6.What happens to each piece of gear when soaked in salt water? does it still function?


Yes, everything still works when wet.

Quote:
7. Can you order gear to have all interchangeable batteries? Is there a hand charger of some sort provided? What is the cost of a small re-charging solar panel?


My hope is to have all equipment powered by CR123 batteries with adequate spares supplied.


Quote:
8. What gear does each life vest include?


The new float coats have a man overboard transponder and beacon.

Regards,

Tom

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#108286 - 10/10/07 08:28 PM Re: GEAR: Navy Life Raft Survival Equipment [Re: TomApple]
OIMO Offline
Opinion Is My Own
Journeyman

Registered: 08/03/07
Posts: 57
Loc: UK
Another nod to the Blizzard Survival Blankets, they seem to be used widely by other the armed forces, including in the prevention or treatment of hypothermia:
http://www.blizzardsurvival.com/section.php/2/582bad659b926643f881f6e7b5c317f8

I suspect you could get 25 of these into less space than what I think from your intro is 12 regular survival blankets would take up. (or maybe not now that I see they are 'just' space blankets ;-) )



Edited by OIMO (10/10/07 08:34 PM)

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#108290 - 10/10/07 08:43 PM Re: GEAR: Navy Life Raft Survival Equipment [Re: TomApple]
Leigh_Ratcliffe Offline
Veteran

Registered: 03/31/06
Posts: 1355
Loc: United Kingdom.
1) Every raft should have a PLB/Locator beacon. Two only is not acceptable because you have no way of determining which rafts will survive. A ship is more likely to be lost to the sea rather than enemy action. Therefor it follows that not equipping every raft with a PLB will have unacceptable political and public consequences.
2) Use AMK heat sheets for the survival blankets.
3) The rafts should meet or exceed USCG/SOLAS regs irrespective of your Navy's exceptions.
4) All devices should run off AA lithium batteries. I would not personally be happy about having two types of batteries for survival and signaling equipment.
5) By standard military pocket knife do you mean the 1940's Calli mus designed so called U.S. Army or Marine knife? A one handed opening blunt nosed dingy knife might be a better choice.
6) Chopping/cutting board?

_________________________
I don't do dumb & helpless.

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#108291 - 10/10/07 08:47 PM Re: GEAR: Navy Life Raft Survival Equipment [Re: TomApple]
falcon5000 Offline
Addict

Registered: 09/08/05
Posts: 662
Tom is there anyway to bond in the canopy a military 25 watt solar panel with waterproof connections (sealed cells with shorting protection) as a means to charge batteries and supply power to GPS, radios or what have you? he idea of emergency power for those long floats. In rough seas I know is useless but when the weather calms it can be a benefit especially if you don't know the condition of your batteries sitting for 5 years. Plus it could power an internal light in the canopy plus strobes and a continuous running epirb. An Acr external powered constant running Epirb.
Just an idea but definitely go with the strobe rescue streamer.

Also a back up solar still
http://www.sailgb.com/p/aquamate_solar_still/



Flexible solar panel


http://store.altenergystore.com/Solar-Pa...lar-Panel/p706/

OR

http://www.midsummerenergy.co.uk/buy_sol...olar_panel.html[size:17pt][/size]


Edited by falcon5000 (10/10/07 09:36 PM)
_________________________
Failure is not an option!
USMC Jungle Environmental Survival Training PI 1985

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#108303 - 10/10/07 11:02 PM Re: GEAR: Navy Life Raft Survival Equipment [Re: Leigh_Ratcliffe]
TomApple Offline
Journeyman

Registered: 09/05/06
Posts: 80
Loc: Suffolk, Va.
Originally Posted By: Leigh_Ratcliffe
1) Every raft should have a PLB/Locator beacon. Two only is not acceptable because you have no way of determining which rafts will survive. A ship is more likely to be lost to the sea rather than enemy action. Therefor it follows that not equipping every raft with a PLB will have unacceptable political and public consequences.


It is not practical or correct to put a PLB in every raft, because too many signals in close proximity would mask each other. I've talked to the SARSAT folks already. The thought of 250+ PLBs going off at once if an aircraft carrier went down makes them shudder. Even a dozen or so in close proximity can be problematic. The probability that both PLB rafts on opposite sides of the ship from each other would be damaged before deployment is low. Plus there other military communication devices that would assist in alert and detection. There is a slight liability that an inadvertant activation of a PLB in a life raft could give away the ship's location to the world during a tactical situation. It would be vital that those PLB rafts could be quickly located, opened and deactivated. Too many rafts to choose from could complicate that process.

Politics don't enter the equipment selection, but I have to make rational, feasible choices based on critical test and evaluation, and product research. I have to be a good custodian of the tax payers' money too.

Quote:
2) Use AMK heat sheets for the survival blankets.


I've recently received some samples and they are very nice and strong. Definitely worthy of consideration

Quote:
3) The rafts should meet or exceed USCG/SOLAS regs irrespective of your Navy's exceptions.


Our life rafts exceed USCG and SOLAR rafts regs in almost every area. Considering we have over 9000 life rafts in service, the performance and reliability is probably unmatched by any other life raft in the world. Our major departure from USCG/SOLAS is that we have a five-year maintenance cycle versus annual inspection. We have more stringent test criteria for our life rafts than required by USCG/SOLAS. At servicing every life raft is test inflated with a pull-force gauge attached to the sea painter. Our current failure rate after a five-year maintenance cycle is 0.005%. The Coast Guard uses them on their ships.

Quote:
4) All devices should run off AA lithium batteries. I would not personally be happy about having two types of batteries for survival and signaling equipment.


Ideally I'd want one battery type too. It would most likely be the CR123A rather than the AA lithium.

Quote:
5) By standard military pocket knife do you mean the 1940's Calli mus designed so called U.S. Army or Marine knife? A one handed opening blunt nosed dingy knife might be a better choice.


Yes, it's the Camillus stainless steel knife, almost unchanged since WWII. I'm kind of nostalgic about that knife. I think its kind of cool we still use it. There is also a blunt/hooked knife used for cutting the sea painter. It's great for opening the plastic bags.

Quote:
6) Chopping/cutting board?


Hmmm, they could use the bottom of the first aid box.


Thanks for your thoughts,

Tom

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#108308 - 10/11/07 12:00 AM Re: GEAR: Navy Life Raft Survival Equipment [Re: TomApple]
Grant Offline
Stranger

Registered: 09/24/07
Posts: 17
I hope this doesn't sound too frivolous, but I'm wondering if there is space for a couple decks of cards or some hand puzzles. I thinking of something that would distract the occupants of the rafts while they wait for rescue. Sitting around looking at each other under that canopy doesn't sound like a lot of fun. I realize that these rafts are serious business, but I'm thinking of something that might help the occupants cope with anxiety and stress. I confess that I am one of those weirdos that believes that survival is about mindset and attitude as well as gear.

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#108310 - 10/11/07 12:23 AM Re: GEAR: Navy Life Raft Survival Equipment [Re: TomApple]
Am_Fear_Liath_Mor Offline
Carpal Tunnel

Registered: 08/03/07
Posts: 3077
Hi TomApple

Is there any facility or technology you are looking at which has the ability to boil water to make hot warming drinks to counter hypothermia. Would a hanging candle system be feasable such as those manufactured by UCO.



This would give some heat and light within the raft and would be a great moral booster in a cold wet dark environment. Would chemical heating pads be a viable addition.






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#108312 - 10/11/07 12:38 AM Re: GEAR: Navy Life Raft Survival Equipment [Re: TomApple]
Russ Offline
Carpal Tunnel

Registered: 06/02/06
Posts: 4934
Loc: SOCAL
Nostalgia has its limits. I still have the Camillus slipjoint knife I was issued back in 1971, what a POS. I keep it only for nostagia, I would never consider it to be a serious tool. Besides not locking, the blade won't hold a sharp edge. I suppose it's okay as a scraping tool and the bottle opener works, but even the lowly Victorinox Swiss Army Knife Pioneer is a better knife for real use.

Being practical though, why include a knife in the kit at all. Every other sailor has a better folder they carry all the time.

Definitely standardize batteries, but why CR123A? Those are good for the high output Surefire tactical lights, especially the non-LED models. But for long life, that high output isn't the way to go. The polycarbonate plastic construction, LED's and AA (alkaline or lithium) batteries are ideal in a survival situation.

$.02

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