Liferafts On Ship


images blog liferafts ship side


Life rafts are provided as a life saving appliances on every sea going merchant or passenger vessel in addition to the lifeboats. Life rafts are much easier to launch as compare to life boats and in case of emergency situation, evacuation from the ship can be done without manually launching any of them as the life rafts are designed with auto inflatable system.

Life rafts are normally located on muster station, on port and starboard side near the life boat, and fwd and aft of the ship. The location generally depends on size of the ship. Life rafts are stored in a fiberglass container, incorporated with a high pressure gas used for inflating life raft at the time of emergency. A Hydrostatic Release Unit (HRU) is connected to raft container and ship, which release the raft even after the ship sinks in water.
The particulars of the raft is stenciled on the container which includes the capacity, manufacturing date, servicing date, company name etc. along with the launching procedure with a photogenic display for easy understanding. The basic survival items are already stored in the raft which includes rations, pyrotechnics, life jackets etc.
Some ships carries a davit launching system which allows the crew to inflate and  board the raft on deck, avoiding the risk of going into the sea water.

Basic Construction Details of Life Rafts:


  • Life rafts normally come as partially or fully enclosed by a canopy to protect the crew members from rough weather and direct sun.
  • The canopy of the raft is in highly visible orange colour with reflective stripes.
  • The rubber tubing of the raft is generally of double layer type so that if one gets punctured, the other layer can keep the raft afloat.
  • The floor of the life raft is a water proof insulated so that any water collected inside the raft can be easily removed.
  • Pockets are also provided for carrying ballast water, which helps the raft to be stable at rough seas so as to avoid tipping over of the raft.
  • Anchors are also provided for better stability of the raft.
  • A boarding ramp or ladder is also fitted for easy boarding of crew members even at rough waters.
  • A bright illuminating light for easy location of the life raft. It is generally fitted at the top of canopy.
  • Outside lifelines and inside bracing ropes are present to hold the raft.
  • The raft consists of various ventilation, observation ports and rain water collection ports for drinking purpose.