I was at a Maritime Industry Day event hosted by the United States Coast Guard recently. A sort of conference meet and greet of people from various factions from within the industry. Few of us, luckily, have ever seen an IBA (inflatable buoyant apparatus) actually inflate. Even working in the industry, these giant inflatables are rarely seen fully inflated and even more rare to see the actual inflation process. The IBA’s are stored securely in their capsules and secured in their cradles ready for the worst.
Lucky for us a representative was on hand and gave a demonstration of what is involved. It is a 50 person IBA, this is a style of raft that is used on vessels that operate on inland waterways, meaning relatively close to land. For this demonstration the raft was first manually removed from its protective capsule.
Sorry for the video sizing, I only had my phone with me.
These types of rafts are secured in a cradle to the ship with straps and a hydro-static release mechanism. This is a device the allows the capsule to be automatically released if it where to be submerged to depth of about 10 feet. The painter a small rope of 100 feet in length and is then pulled out of the capsule to inflate. I thought it was something interesting to share…