Seattle Boat Show 2016 number 2

Our vendors are starting to supply us with their show special pricing for the 2016 Seattle Boat Show.


Switlik was first up with substantial savings both in product cost and shipping for both their life rafts and MOM modules. As with most programs, the pricing is only good through the end of the show (February 6th). Sorry to say we can not publish the prices, you either need to come by our booth on the Concourse Level or give us a call. During the show our booth phone number is (509) 674-8350 but you can also call the shop at (253) 627-6000.

Switlik Offshore Passage Raft
Switlik MOM-8A
Switlik MOM-600

End of the year savings on EPIRBs and Switlik X-Back vests

We have special pricing on several of the items we offer:

GME Category I EPIRBs for only $499.00 (subject to stock on hand). These beacons have integral GPS and use the inexpensive to replace Hammar hydrostatic release.

Switlik X-Back with Molle constant wear crew vest. Switlik will not let us advertise the price, you will need to call Rollie at (800) 343-5826.

Switlik’s X-Back Basic constant wear vest. This is the economy version of the X-Back with Molle but still has the most popular features at a lower price. Again, Switlik will not allow us to advertise our price, you will need to call Rollie at (800) 343-5826.

Switlik lowers pricing

Two exciting things happened yesterday, the announcement of a new James Bond movie and the receipt of revised pricing from Switlik. The movie we have to wait for, the pricing is here for us now.

Some examples include:

MOM-8A which was $719.00 and is now $595.00

MOM-600 (without pylon) was $1199.00 and is now $896.00

Coastal Passage Raft in Hard Container dropped from $5599.00 to $4082.00

Every marine product (this does not include replacement parts) Switlik offers now has a lower price and you can check them all out at

Hydrostatic Release Installation


You just had your life raft serviced, now it is your responsibility to make sure that the hydrostatic release unit (HRU) is properly installed. It is amazing how many times I see or hear of improper installations. Sometimes it is even the Coast Guard inspector giving improper advise.

If you don’t hook the HRU up properly, your life raft WILL NOT function properly!

Most HRU’s sold in the United States are manufactured by C.M. Hammar. They have a slick tool to teach proper HRU installation. It is a movie and I am not sure that all computers will be able to run it but it is worth checking out.

If you have a Switlik life raft in a flat container I have a page that goes through the proper installation.

Still not sure? Call your service facility. What ever you do make sure that everything is properly hooked up, your life depends on it.

Cold weather and life rafts

It has been quite cold here in the Pacific Northwest. You don’t have to go very far to get in to single digit territory which brings up the question of what conditions a life raft will operate in. As some of us remember from physics, everything else being the same the pressure of a gas will decrease as the temperature decreases. Since life rafts like to have around 2 psi of gas pressure, as it gets colder the amount of gas needed to reach that pressure increases.

Commercial life rafts are designed to work down to minus 20 degrees Fahrenheit. Rafts designed for recreational boats tend to have their lowest working temperature much higher, somewhere between plus 10 degrees to plus 40 degrees.


So what happens if your raft isn’t designed for the temperature range where you will be operating? Nothing good! If your raft is able to deploy itself out of its container or valise it will not fully inflate and will take a long time even getting to that point. Worse yet it might not inflate enough inside the container (or valise) to even deploy leaving you swimming in very cold water.

For most vessel operators really cold weather is not an issue. Wintertime is for skiing or trips to the sun, not boating. Still there are some of us who find being on the water in the winter really beautiful and without the crowds that sunshine brings. This group needs to be concerned and choose the right life raft. USCG approved commercial rafts are a great choice but tend to be pretty large to fit on recreational boats. Switlik’s new Offshore Passage Raft and Coastal Passage Raft also provide excellent cold weather inflation since they use high pressure air rather than carbon dioxide as their inflation gas. With high pressure air you get inflation times that do not change much as it gets colder. My guess is this is the raft Santa uses on his sleigh and the really good news is the material it is made out of is tough enough that reindeer hooves should not pose an issue.

Northwest Fire Show- 2013

Last week we attended the 2013 edition of the Northwest Fire Show. It’s always fun to look at toys and this show has lots of them.

FireShowTruckWe saw fire trucks, big ones that run around $1,000,000.00. It seems they are so big you need special equipment just to wash them.

FireShowWasherSo they sell portable fire truck washing equipment (it is spinning which is why the picture is a bit weird). But what if you need to change the oil? There is stuff to help there full John Wick: Chapter 2 2017 film

FireShowLiftThree different types of vehicle lifts were on display so you can do that service right at the fire house.

On top of all these big “toys” there was plenty of other stuff to check out. Gloves, turn out gear, hose, tools, medical supplies and even our water rescue equipment and straps.

FireShowBoothWe had the U-Zip-It suit from Switlik, a representative sample of straps, webbing and buckles and some products from the Sterling Rope Company.

Next year’s show is in May and we are looking forward to returning with even more products for this market.





Switlik life rafts- installing a Hydrostatic Release

Switlik Logo

Switlik builds great life rafts but has to have the most confusing cradle set up when you want to include a hydrostatic release.

This is how you start

And you need to get here

I have outlined the steps in one of my Tech Files articles, complete with pictures and tips. Hooking up the hydrostatic release correctly is the most important task a boat owner faces when dealing with their life raft. Do it wrong and the raft will not properly deploy. Every cradle design is a bit different so make sure you have the instructions that fit your situation.

If you want to learn how to properly date your release, and have a bit of fun at the same time, check out the Hammar web site which has tools to help with your education.

Finally if Westpac Marine serviced your life raft and you have any questions please give us a call at (253) 627-6000. Our customer’s lives are important to us and taking a few minutes to make sure you have everything the way it should be is why we are here.

Boarding the MOM-600

The MOM-600 is a fantastic device for crew recovery. If someone falls overboard you can toss it to them and it will auto-inflate. Boarding is simple,  [youtube=] you just use the internal life lines to pull yourself up on to the device. Once the victim is onboard the MOM-600 he (and we all know why there are more men overboard than women) can just climb back on to your vessel. This is especially important if you don’t have the lifting equipment and the headroom needed to recover a victim using products like the LifeSling.

The MOM-600 comes in two models with the only difference being the inflatable pylon.  They only weigh 15 pounds and have a packed size of 17″ x 17″ x 3½”.

Basic MOM-600

Deluxe MOM-600 with inflatable pylon

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Switlik’s U-Zip-It suit goes rock climbing


I am not one to go rock climbing, actually not liking heights I have never tried, but I can imagine that ease of motion and flexibility are essential. Switlik sent over these photos of their U-Zip-It anti-exposure dry suit being put through its paces on some indoor rock climbing wall.


If you need one of these advanced anti-exposure dry suits for either rock climbing or more traditional uses give us a call, (800) 343-5826.