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The objective was to ...
Get as many sailors as possible into a "flotation device". In my mind, these were not very helpful in the North Atlantic with very cold waters, where exposure in cold would kill before long exposure in salt water. But, in a convoy operation, there was a greater expectation of being rescued in relatively "short order". In the Pacific the waters were warmer, and sharks were the bigger immediate concern. The death rates of survivors went down the longer they were in the water ... period.
There was NOT enough room onboard wartime ships to carry "real" boats. As poor as these "floats" may have been, the Floater Nets were worse. They operated on the same principle in having a sort of "basket" shape for the crew to get into. But there wasn't a "surround" ring of floatation material and supplies of food/fresh water/medical first aid, found in the "Floats".
Plenty of WW1 survivor reports out there to confirm being in the water sapped body heat and strength.
The USN nomenclature was "Floats". They came in different sizes and were designated by how many crewmen could be accommodated, aka "25-man Float". These weren't "Rafts" with a bottom and wouldn't have been very good at traveling on the ocean. The bottom actually dropped down with netting sides and sailors would stand in the float. But, many simply call them rafts or floats/rafts. For the USN, the 25-man Floats were the most common size used because they were easier to install in more locations. On merchant ships larger Floats/Rafts were used.
But did the U.S. Navy just have the one size (25-man) raft? Was there not a larger one? The rafts on the Houston's funnels look quite large.
Were they always called "rafts" or did the U.S. Navy also have "Carley floats," as the British did?
I completely agree about Black Cat.
Benjamin runs a top notch operation. Black Cat products are the cat's meow right across the board.
Black Cat Models makes 3D printed 25 man round rafts.
Iíve ordered direct from Ben @ Black Cat and shipping was fast & easy. Freetime is US distributor if ordering from EU is a problem.
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