The #1 consideration for recreational life rafts is accessibility.
If you wish to store your life raft on deck, a canister model is recommended. It is also recommended that the unit be outfitted with a hydrostatic release unit, which allows the unit to self deploy in the event you are unable to manually delpoy the unit.
If you are planning to store your life raft below deck, a valise model is recommended. A valise outfit will be lighter in wieght and equipped with handles for manual deployment. However, if below deck make sure you can launch the life raft within 15 seconds or less.
The last resort in the event of an emergency is getting into the water. Sudden entry into the water can induce involuntary gasp reflex, in which water is accidentally inhaled. Even worse, sudden or unexpected entry into the water can cause cardiac arrest a phenomenon known as cold water shock or sudden cold-water immersion. This can happen to even the healthiest of persons.
Hypothermia does and can occur in various water temperatures, not just extremely cold water. Hypothermia can happen in the warmer coastal waters of the South East and Florida (For more information on survival times, see our hypothermia chart below). The goal in any abandon ship scenario is to avoid exposure. A life raft is the only safety device available that can guarantee your survival in any conditions.