Now it turns out that Martin had an old out of date valise life-raft and suggested that we might us it for a demonstration of how to launch, inflate and potentially board a life-raft.
So after one of our regular monthly meetings we took said raft down to the waterside, gathered around, and shoved it into the water.
A couple of our lady members then tried tugging the painter line without success:
Lesson 1: it's harder to get it to inflate that you might think!, but with a couple of gents helping out we managed to get the valise to pop open and start inflating…. to a chorus of Ooh’s and aaah’s it began to look as if we were about to have a successful launch, however, shortly after the hissing and whining sounds had begun, and the life raft had started taking a recognisable shape…. there was a rather loud pop/bang and a puff of talc, as the life raft exploded.
It seems that the inner latex core and outer plastic of the raft had hardened, or perished and once a certain level of pressure was reached they both gave way!!!
Lesson 2: Life rafts go out of date for a reason - so service them regularly and once past their useful life date, dispose of them!!!!
We salvaged the remnants from the river and explored the contents. those were also wet and disgusting... Not of any use at all.