The mariner’s attention is drawn to the following guidelines for launching Davit Launched Life Rafts. The text should only be accepted in a general form as the methods of launch will vary depending on the size and manufactured type of raft/davit. It is also pointed out that different manufacturers have a wide range of fitments which are not necessarily carried on all rafts, and may be described by different names.
1.(In the case of the first raft to be launched) transfer the life raft to a position under the davit head, so that the fall plumbs the raft container.
2.Walk back the fall and secure the release hook to the shackle/ring, extracted to protrude from the life raft container. Check that the release hook is locked and armed.
3.Remove any side rails and check that the overside surface area is clear of obstructions.
4.Pull out the painter line/lines and secure to a strong point.
5.Pull out the bowsing lines and secure to a strong point.
6.Pull out left and right container restraining lines, if fitted, and secure to the mother ship. (Valise type life rafts do not have these lines.)
7.Hoist the life raft on the fall to inflation height and slew the davit overside to the stop position.
8.Inflate the raft by pulling out the full length of painter.
9.Take up any slack on the bowsing lines to hold the raft alongside and secure any boarding flap.
10.Check that the raft has no defects and that it is well ventilated.
11.Check that personnel have no sharp objects on their person, then board the raft keeping it stable.
12.Release the boarding flap and the bowsing lines and throw them into the entrance of the raft.
13.Check the overside is still clear and lower the life raft.
14.Cock the release hook by means of the operating lanyard when the life raft is close to the water surface (within about 10 feet).
15.The raft should be automatically released once the raft becomes waterborne and its weight is removed from the bearing surface of the hook by the buoyancy effects on the raft.
16.The painter should be cut or released and the life raft quickly manoeuvred away from the ship’s side.
Once clear of the immediate area life rafts should be joined together with about a 10 m length between to avoid snatching in a seaway.