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 Author  Topic: 1942 Navy Balsa Life Float (raft)
Rott51

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Post a Reply To This Topic    Reply With Quotes     Edit Message   Posted on: Sep 22, 2010 - 7:13pm
I recently picked up this 1942 dated Navy life float (raft). I was hoping these may have been used on PT boats and did find, through searching some forum threads and reading veterans accounts, that they indeed were used on PT boats. I also was able to find a picture of one this size attached to a PT boat. This life float is probably the smallest version in that it had a 10 man capacity. Overall it is in great condition and probably 99% intact.. It is basically a solid balsa wood ring wrapped in gray painted canvas stripping. The brass tag dates it to December of 1942 and has the US Navy inspection stamp. It has a wood floor that was suspended by rope, so sailors actually were mostly submerged in the water while inside the ring. I took it up on my deck to rinse off the years of dust and while hosing it down (this may sound weird) I honestly stopped as the thought hit me on what the sailors that found their lives depending on this simple device must have been thinking while clinging/floating in the middle of nowhere with probably no supplies and little or no hope. I don't know if this is a rare item or if they are available but passed over by collectors due to their size. If anyone has any other pictures of either PT boats with one of these attached or a picture of shipwreck survivors being picked up while using one of these, please post. Please post comments also. Thank you, Ron

















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PeterTareBuilder

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Post a Reply To This Topic    Reply With Quotes     Edit Message     View Profile of PeterTareBuilder  Posted on: Sep 22, 2010 - 8:24pm
WOW!

I never knew that the bottom of a stowed balsa raft (from a PT boat) extended beneath the raft ring when in ue! What a great idea for a diorama. You could build one with it in use or one being folded up aboard a PT boat after use.

Thanks for the images.

Cheers from Peter

"Give me a faster PT boat for I'd like to get out of harm's way!"

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Frank J Andruss Sr

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Post a Reply To This Topic    Reply With Quotes     Edit Message     View Profile of Frank J Andruss Sr   Send Email To Frank J Andruss Sr Posted on: Sep 22, 2010 - 11:34pm

Here some photos I found of the Balsa style rafts.

Frank













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Rott51

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Post a Reply To This Topic    Reply With Quotes     Edit Message   Posted on: Sep 23, 2010 - 3:46pm
Thank you for the pics Frank
-Ron


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Donald Shannon

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Post a Reply To This Topic    Reply With Quotes     Edit Message     View Profile of Donald Shannon  Posted on: Sep 24, 2010 - 8:35am
Hello Ron:

Would you please contact me at the PT Boat museum in Fall River Massachusetts.

Donald Shannon
dshannon@battleshipcove.org
508 678 1100

Donald Shannon

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Frank J Andruss Sr

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Post a Reply To This Topic    Reply With Quotes     Edit Message     View Profile of Frank J Andruss Sr   Send Email To Frank J Andruss Sr Posted on: Sep 24, 2010 - 8:47am
Ron

Too bad you could not donate that Raft to PT BOATS INC. I bet Don Shannon (PT Boat Coordinator) would love to add that to one of the 2 preserved PT BOATS on display at BATTLESHIP COVE. It would be there for all future generations to enjoy. Think about it Ron............


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Drew Cook

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Post a Reply To This Topic    Reply With Quotes     Edit Message     View Profile of Drew Cook  Posted on: Sep 24, 2010 - 11:23am
Ron,

Wow! That's pretty cool piece of WWII history you've got there.

Not to cast aspersions on your raft's possibly having been used aboard PTs, but from the all the photos I've ever seen over the years of PT rafts, yours seems to be much more "squared-off" than the typical round-edged rafts found on PTs.

Also, I've never been aware of the PT rafts having had such deep, drop-down netting secured to a wooden flooring device.

If your raft was used on PTs, I've -- again -- learned something new every day!




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Rott51

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Post a Reply To This Topic    Reply With Quotes     Edit Message   Posted on: Sep 24, 2010 - 11:58am
Hi Drew, thanks for your comments. I also cannot say for sure that this shape was used on PT boats but it may just be a difference in manufacturers styles. I found these passages regarding WWII Navy balsa life float regulations which describe the smallest being of 10 man capacity.

(d) Standard type balsa wood life floats

(1) Types and capacities. Balsa wood life floats shall be of the elliptical or rectangular types, as illustrated by Figure 1 and Figure 2, Alteration 1, dated November 15, 1943, respectively, and shall be furnished in 10-, 15-, 25-, 40-, or 60-person capacities.

(11) Platform, net, and rigging. The platform, netting, and rigging shall be in general accordance with Figure 1 or 2. Care shall be taken that the platform and netting will readily pass through the life float when it is launched, regardless of which side of the life float strikes the water. All parts of the platform, including surfaces, edges, and rivets, shall be smooth and present no cutting edges, points, or splinters which might be dangerous to a barefooted person. The platform shall be finished in natural wood and painted with two coats of water-resisting spar varnish.

Doesn't really answer the question, I guess, but I can't imagine they would only use the elliptical type rather than the rectangular type when they are virtually the same. All we can really go by are the pictures and maybe some or our valuable veterans memories.
Thanks again to all who have commented, and if anyone has any other opinions of information, please add.

Ron




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  Jerry Gilmartin

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Post a Reply To This Topic    Reply With Quotes     Edit Message     View Profile of Jerry Gilmartin   Send Email To Jerry Gilmartin Posted on: Oct 10, 2010 - 6:49pm
Hi Ron,
I have some info for you pictures etc and some other questions about your life raft. Can you email me offline? My email address is visble on the View Profile Icon. Thanks Jerry PT658 Portland, OR

Jerry Gilmartin

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  Jerry Gilmartin

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Post a Reply To This Topic    Reply With Quotes     Edit Message     View Profile of Jerry Gilmartin   Send Email To Jerry Gilmartin Posted on: Nov 7, 2010 - 3:54pm
Hi Ron,
I took a couple of pictures of the balsa wood life raft we have on the PT658 just for comparison. I like yours better. Thanks Jerry

Life raft on bow of PT658


Interior of raft showing water cask, 1st aid kit, ration cannister and fishing kit opened plus a couple of WW2 era emergency ration cans

Jerry PT658 Portland

Jerry Gilmartin

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