Switlik Offshore Passage Raft
The Offshore Passage Raft (OPR) is Switlik's next generation of inflatable life rafts designed for offshore use, having features no other raft offers. It uses compressed air for inflation which provides excellent cold weather performance and the ability to have a gauge so that you can check the pressure. This feature allows Switlik to recommend a five (5) year service interval, the longest in the industry. Time sensitive survival equipment is packed in an external pocket allowing for updating without servicing the actual life raft.
The OPR is available either with standard ballast pockets or Switlik's patented Torrodial Stability Device which provides the most stable life raft on the market today. It comes packed in either a soft valise for stowing in a locker or protected area or a rugged, low profile fiberglass container for use on deck.
Switlik is also revolutionizing the industry by not saying what the capacity of the raft is in "people" (i.e. 6 person raft). There is a buoyancy rating, in the case of the OPR it is 1358 pounds, but Switlik's theory is "life raft capacity is determined not just by numbers, but by how long you will be in the raft. The longer you might be in it, the smaller it gets". You get to decide if this raft will meet your needs, looking at who would be on the boat and where it would be operating. This really helps when considering families with large weight differences between adults and children. Switlik's actual quote is "Capacity fluctuates based on application and duration of time spent in the raft".
Boarding a life raft has always been an issue and the OPR makes it as easy as possible with four (4) boarding stations. When the raft inflates, the canopy is furled making it possible to board from above (the deck of your boat) without interference. After you get into the raft, the canopy arches are easily and quickly inflated with their individual CO2 inflation systems. Being able to furl the canopy also provides better access for helicopter rescue.
Buoyancy tube material is nylon that is coated with urethane both inside and out provide a tough, abrasion resistant barrier between you and the elements. Having the urethane on both sides of the nylon base fabric also allows Switlik to weld the seams in a "lapped" manner.
High pressure compressed air is used to inflate the OPR. All the other rafts we sell us carbon dioxide which is great for keeping the price down and cylinder size small. What carbon dioxide does not do is give really rapid cold weather inflation. With the OPR you have a life raft that will perform down to -22°F. The pressure of compressed air does not change significantly with temperature which means a pressure guage can be used so you can see if the cylinder remains charged.
- Total buoyancy in salt water: 1358 pounds
- Recommended service interval: 5 years (the most offered by other brands is a 3 year interval). Switlik has a worldwide service network.
- Boarding: 4 boarding stations with rigid platforms and weighted ladders (most rafts have 1 or 2 places to board). Furled canopy on inflation allows easy boarding from your vessel.
- Painter length: 25 feet
- Inflatable/Insulated floor: standard
- Operating temperature range: -22°F to +160°F
- Country of origin: United States of America
Rollie's Raft Rating (1-5 ★'s with 5 being the best)
Pack size: ★★★★★
Ease of boarding: ★★★★★
Cost, initial: ★
Cost, over life of the raft: ★★★
Rollie's Raft Rating is based against other products Westpac offers. I do not rate offshore rafts higher than coastal models but look at how they fit in to their intended uses. Westpac does not offer life rafts (or other products) that I would not use my self so even a 1 ★ rating in a category might be great compared to what other companies have to offer. If you have questions, please feel free to give me a call.