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Switlik Life Rafts used in the 2012 US Sailing Safety at Sea Seminar at U.S. Naval Academy

switlik-sar6-safetytraining-DSC_0440Over the course of this past weekend, two Switlik Offshore Life Rafts were deployed, allowing over 100 participants the opportunity to experience firsthand how to deploy, board and utilize all the safety equipment supplied in a offshore life raft.  The first training session took place on the severn river and was a live deployment off one of the Naval Academy’s sloops.  The raft used in this session was the Switlik SAR-6 Offshore Life Raft, which is the most advanced life raft available on the market.  The key features of this raft is the convertible canopy which allows for simple boarding as victims can jump directly into the raft, limiting their time the water.  The canopy design allows for endless configurations for shelter ensuring proper ventilation in addition to providing easy extraction when rescue teams are on scene.  The second feature which was highlighted in the Safety at Sea Seminar is the large ballast system.  The entire bottom of the raft features one large ballast bag that allows a large amount of water to enter and circulate in an oval fashion, ensuring the raft will be stable while riding waves and can withstand the downdraft of a rescue helicopter when extracting victims.

switlik-sar6-safetytraining-DSC_0148

md3-poolThe second session was located at the Naval Academy pool and the Switlik MD-3 ISAF/ISO approved life raft was used for a range of training drills.  This raft was chosen for this session of the Safety at Sea Seminar as it is a widely used raft in the upcoming 2012 Newport to Bermuda Race as it meets the life raft safety requirements as listed in the Notice of Race.  As shown in the pictures from the pool session, you will see the Switlik MD-3 has a full auto erecting canopy as required by the ISO-9650-1 and Category 1 & 2 racing requirements which is followed by the 2012 Newport to Bermuda Race. The pool session included, both boarding direct to the raft and from in the water.  During the in-water boarding drill the ability to board from two sides, with the help of the rigid boarding ramp provide made for simple entry allowing all victims to get out of the water quickly.

switlik-sar6-safetytraining-DSC_0139Other items on display at the event were a line of man overboard equipment that are widely used in offshore racing, which include the popular Switlik MOM 8 and MOM 600.  The MOM 8 is continually touted by safety experts for its quick deployment and quality of safety contents provided to a victim in water.  The MOM 600 is a new item to the safety market that is proving to be an excellent aid in getting victims our of the water quickly and on a stable, visible platform.  The rigidity of the MOM 600 platform allows for multiple victims to knell or stand aiding in their ability to simply climb back on board a high freeboard boat.  With a full range of demos completed, in addition to excellent lectures from industry professionals, the 2012 US Naval Academy Safety At Sea Seminar was a wide success for all participants and we hope this will contribute to a safe and fun 2012 sailing season.

Photos courtesy: Mary Cox

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