A Basic Guide to Life raft inflation systems


liferaft inflation systems


Marine conditions can be highly dangerous and change without warning. Therefore, it is vital that life rafts are always carried onboard boats and ships. Leafield Marine work alongside many life raft manufacturers, supplying highly fast and reliable life raft inflation systems. These systems can be very complex, depending on the size and design of the life raft. Luckily, Leafield Marine have worked in this sector for over 65 years and consequently, are experts in the design process. We manufacture components for SOLAS approved inflation systems.

We always recommend customers contact us directly with their life raft specifications to ensure the correct products and systems are put in place. Although the basics of the systems tend to remain the same, there are a number of variations and additions for different products. There are many complex parts that form the inflation systems. These can be found here.

Click Here To Make An Enquiry

What Do You Need on Life raft Inflation Systems?

Gas Cannister:

liferaft Inflation System cannister

A Gas Cannister is an essential part of any inflation system. Leafield Marine can supply empty cannisters if needed. However, you will then need to have them filled at a life raft station. Alternatively, you can purchase a cannister separately to use with our equipment. Please note, the size and number of cannisters required for this will vary depending on the size and type of life raft.

Gas Inflation System:


The Gas Inflation System is connected to the top of the cylinder. When a crew member pulls the lanyard, it activates a cutter system to release the air from the gas cannister. Please note, we offer two types of Gas inflation system. Therefore, the type you need may change depending on your product. One of these is the GIS system. This is the original system that Leafield Marine developed in 1992. Our customers often use this on their SOLAS life rafts and marine evacuation systems. The GIS features functions as part of multi-cylinder systems and applications. We designed the GIST to be a compact and cost-effective system. Due to its compact size, the GIST is frequently used on leisure life rafts. However, some customers have also used it on a large scale systems due to its high flow rate and rugged design.

Hose Assemblies:


Hose assemblies are a key part of a life raft system as they connect the gas cannister to the inflatable life raft structure. As previously stated, life rafts are unique designs. As a result we produce hose assemblies to your measurements. Our hose team cut the hoses to your specified length. At Leafield, we design our hoses to be robust and reliable in extreme conditions. They have very good low temperature performance, operating between –55ºC to +100ºC. This is essential due to the extreme temperatures caused by the gas inflation. Additionally, we supply a wide variety of hose fittings. You can find out about the different hose fittings by reading this recent blog post.

Gas Inlet Valves:


The Gas inlet valves clamp into the fabric of the inflatable structure. The other end connects to the hose. This allows high-pressure gas to be transferred from the cylinder, through the hoses and into the structure in a controlled way. The transfer of Carbon Dioxide gas from the cannister to the gas inlet valve causes expansive cooling to take place. This can result in the formation of ice, which causes freezing in the system. Consequently, our Gas Inlet Valves are designed to minimise the level of ice formation when they are used with our gas inflation cylinder valves. Like the Gas inflation system, we offer two types of Gas inlet valve. Therefore, we suggest you contact us directly to establish which is right for you.

Additional Products…

These are the basic elements you need for a gas inflation system. However, the type and size of these vary depending on the life raft.

B10 Pressure relief valve

On a larger raft, it is common to fit additional products. For example, our B10 Pressure Relief Valve (pictured above). The B10 is well established as the market leading pressure relief valve (overpressure valve) for SOLAS life rafts. The valve has a selection of different pressure settings to suit your needs. The B10 is approved to ISO 9650 and ISO 15738 as a transfer valve.

A8 Inflation / Topping Up Valve for liferaft inflation systems

Many customers also chose to fit our A8 transfer valve to their life rafts. The valve is highly compact and cost-effective, with simple clamp fitting. Therefore, it can easily be fitted into a wide variety of materials. Our customers most often fit it into the arch tube of the life raft to allow flow of air into the arch while preventing reverse flow. The A8 has a low opening pressure, just 0.25 psi. The A8 valve can also be used as a top up valve. It has a very good flow rate to allow for rapid inflation and topping up of air pressure.

As well as these, many of our other products are used on life rafts to enhance their performance. Our team will offer advice on the additional products you may need. Furthermore, Leafield Marine supply a selection of tools and spare parts. These include fitting tools, spanners, and adaptors. Different equipment will require different tools so please don’t hesitate to contact us to ensure you have all the products you need to safely fit our valves.

What’s Next?

Life rafts use complex systems that can vary significantly depending on the brand, size, and type. As a result, there is no one system fits all. Leafield Marine are world-leaders in the design and manufacture of life raft inflation systems and our team are highly knowledgeable about their design. Furthermore, our team have expert knowledge in the approvals and accreditations required for these life saving products for example, Lloyd’s register and PED certifications. As a result, they are happy to support you throughout the process of gaining these certifications. When purchasing life raft inflation systems, we prefer that you contact us directly with your specifications. This will make sure you receive the most suitable system for your project.

The Leafield Marine team have worked on all types of life raft and marine evacuation systems. From the smallest rafts to the world’s largest inflatable lifeboat. Our background of experience means you can rely on us for all life raft inflation system needs.


Contact us today at [email protected] to find out what we can do for you.