Coronapanic Consequences: life rafts

A friend is planning a trip to the Bahamas in his new Cirrus SR22 (more than 1 million Bidies for a piston-powered airplane!). When out of gliding distance from land, it is prudent to carry both life jackets and a life raft in an aircraft. Pre-coronapanic, rafts of all kinds were in stock at retailers and would ship within a day or two of being ordered. What does it look like after Americans took months or years off work? “I can’t find any of the brands that people like without a multi-month wait,” he said. “Winslow dealers are telling me 8 months to 2 years.”

It is unclear to me why Winslow is so backlogged given that the company is located in Florida and they were never ordered by a governor to shut down. But perhaps they are having trouble getting the components and/or being part of Collins Aerospace (a big bureaucratic presumably corona-averse company) has contributed to the shortage.

What do these look like? Here’s one from Switlik, which I like because it can go 5 years between recertifications (cumbersome and expensive):

Also, Switlik is a supplier to the U.S. Coast Guard, which presumably knows water at least as well as Dr. Fauci knows SARS-CoV-2. When is the Switlik available? They can’t even say on their web site! “Due to demand and limited inventory, this product is experiencing longer than normal lead times. Please call for quote – 609-587-3300.”

A raft isn’t required for a private single-engine airplane headed over water so it is quite possible that the disruption in the economy caused by COVID lockdowns will lead to additional risks being taken. And for every aviator who is at risk there are presumably 100 boaters who are having trouble getting the life rafts that they want. This is a consequence that I don’t think the technocrats recommending lockdowns in the spring of 2020 would have factored into their decision.


5 thoughts on “Coronapanic Consequences: life rafts

  1. Off topic, but hilarious for performance car owners:

    OP: I bought a new maserati granturismo for 120k and 3 years later I sold it for 35k.

    Commenter #1 – Jesus Christ, did it fall off an airplane?

    OP: The resale on them is terrible. Mine would have been worth ~50k – 60k, but it had a ridiculous carfax issue which dropped it to ~35k.

    The battery is in the trunk. One day after work I discovered the battery was dead. Maybe I left the lights on? Well no matter, I’ll just jump it! The trunk latch is electronic but has a manual release. I used the physical key to open the driver door, reached for trunk release cable, pulled it, and it yanked right out of the seat. Trunk was still shut. I had no way to open it now.

    I wound up calling the maserati dealership and they put it on a flatbed, took it to the dealership, and gave me a loaner. They couldnt get into the trunk either. After a day of trying to disassemble the car around it, they wound up trying to pry it off before giving up and finally cutting the trunk lid off entirely. I wound up footing the bill for a new one, and for some unfathomable reason this was reported on the carfax as body damage.

    Commenter #2 – What did I even just read?

    Commenter #3- The typical Maserati ownership experience.

  2. “This is a consequence that I don’t think the technocrats recommending lockdowns in the spring of 2020 would have factored into their decision.”

    Technocrat don’t care.

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