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floating platform of wood, cork, or air-inflated rubber for conveying goods or people. Originally, several logs, bound together by vines, strips of animal skin, and later rope, formed a flat surface upon which goods and people could move across bodies of water. From prehistoric times to the 19th cent. rafting was an important means of transportation. Rafts were indispensable in the frontier period of American history; on rivers such as the Ohio and Mississippi they were used to convey settlers and transport supplies. Large rafts are still used occasionally on the Pacific coast to float lumber along the coastline. In recent times life rafts have come to replace lifeboats on many vessels. Because they are more easily handled and cannot capsize or crash in launching, life rafts can merely be thrown over the side of a ship or permitted to slide down into the water. They contain distress signals and other emergency paraphernalia to sustain the lives of persons awaiting rescue.
The Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia™ Copyright © 2013, Columbia University Press. Licensed from Columbia University Press. All rights reserved. www.cc.columbia.edu/cu/cup/
The following article is from The Great Soviet Encyclopedia (1979). It might be outdated or ideologically biased.



(1) A transport unit composed of bundles of logs that is used for timber flotation. Usually rafts are towed by a vessel; more rarely they float with the current of the river. The shape of river and lake rafts is usually rectangular, and their volume may be as much as 27,000 cu m. Seagoing rafts are cigar-shaped, and their volume may exceed 1,500 cu m.

(2) A platform made up of several connected floating objects, on top of which a plank flooring is usually laid. People and cargo are transported over water on rafts. The rafts are propelled by poles, oars, or sails. For making the rafts, logs, reed bundles, floats from hollow objects (barrels or boxes), or inflated containers are used.

(3) A means for rescuing people; part of the rescue equipment of a vessel or aircraft.

The Great Soviet Encyclopedia, 3rd Edition (1970-1979). © 2010 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.


A quantity of timber or lumber secured together by means of ropes, chains, or rods and used for transportation by floating.
A rock fragment caught up in a magma and drifting freely, more or less vertically.
An accumulation or jam of floating logs, driftwood, dislodged trees, or other debris, formed naturally in a stream by caving of the banks.
McGraw-Hill Dictionary of Scientific & Technical Terms, 6E, Copyright © 2003 by The McGraw-Hill Companies, Inc.


a buoyant platform of logs, planks, etc., used as a vessel or moored platform
Collins Discovery Encyclopedia, 1st edition © HarperCollins Publishers 2005


(Resource Area For Teaching, San Jose, CA, www.raft.net) A non-profit organization that offers materials and its Silicon Valley facility to help K-12 kids learn science, math, technology and art with hands-on activities. RAFT recycles surplus and used equipment as well as scrap materials and routinely sends trucks to local donors for pickup. See e-cycling.
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References in periodicals archive ?
There will be prizes for the rafts that best represent the theme Chester Heritage and Transport through the Ages as well as for the fastest rafts.
"For those of you who are not scared of getting wet, and want to have fun while raising money for charity, we still have equipment for one or two more raft race teams to build their rafts and compete on the day."
Agents were also able to rescue another five people that were missing after the raft capsized.
RAFT will take place from Thursday, June 6 to Sunday, June 30.
It would be a huge shame to lose the raft race because it is so well enjoyed as part of the ROM fortnight.
In "Rafts and Other Rivercraft in Huckleberry Finn", Peter Beidler (Lucy G.
Since it is difficult to record the actual field data of the piled raft foundation during an earthquake, physical models can play an important role in the study of connected or disconnected piled raft foundations under seismic or horizontal loading.
From a review of the literature, it appears that the traditional modeling of the floating raft system only concerns the vibration transmission along the supporting path (machineries-raft-base) while neglecting the influence of the nonsupporting attached equipment like pipes, cables, and so on.
The volunteers who come from across the company, including managing director Stuart Cameron, entered the life raft at 5pm on Friday and remained inside until 5pm on Saturday.
To see a video of the raft race |visit www.dailypost.co.uk
"A member of Wellesbourne Lions Club has a number of components available which could be used to construct a four or six seater raft and these parts could produce a survivor class raft or, for the more adventurous, there is a paddle wheel included which would make a mechanical class raft."