Sorry to say, we are getting heavier

It used to be that life raft capacity was figured on 165 pounds per occupant. The new number is 185 pounds. All approved life rafts must now use this figure but I have yet to see any non-approved rafts designed for recreational use make this switch. This is something to consider if you are looking to purchase a life raft. Rather than asking how many individuals a raft is rated for, find out what the rated load is in pounds (or kilograms if you deal better in the metric system) and make your decision based on that. It is always better to have more raft than you need!

This change in “average weight” affects more than just life rafts. Vessel capacity calculations use this number and the 20 pound increase can have cause some dramatic changes in carrying capacity. The American Spirit went from being able to carry 304 people down to 250.

Rollie Herman

Rollie Herman

Working in the marine industry since 1971, president of Westpac Marine since 1984.
Past president of the United States Marine Safety Association and retired sailor
Rollie Herman

Published by

Rollie Herman

Working in the marine industry since 1971, president of Westpac Marine since 1984. Past president of the United States Marine Safety Association and retired sailor

2 thoughts on “Sorry to say, we are getting heavier”

    1. Round containers are stronger which is important if someone is going to stand on it. If the raft just is in its cradle without any outside forces both styles hold up fine.

      Maybe more importantly round containers give you a better chance of having the raft inflate right side up. They are designed with the center of gravity quite low so when they are in the water the top will rotate to point upwards. This allows the raft to inflate properly without having to do all sorts of fancy tricks in the packing which is required with flat packed rafts.

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