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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.



(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.


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.


a buoyant platform of logs, planks, etc., used as a vessel or moored platform


(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.
References in periodicals archive ?
He said three rafts have washed up and are littering beaches in Gower including Caswell and Langland.
Rafters enjoyed glorious weather as they battled it out in the seventh raft race to find the 2016 champions.
Rajasankar, Chief Scientist, SERC said that preliminary studies inferred that the design increased yield substantially per unit of cultivable area and assembly of triangular raft, in inverted V shape, helped to reduce the drag force to increase stability.
But Sam Nicholson from the group, said he was looking forward to spending time on the raft with his pals.
There was an excellent turnout for the Great Strait Raft Run 2015 with 40 rafts and plenty of spectators HADYN IBALL
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.
The new range of ISO9650-1 rafts was developed from the company's continuous improvement program, and will replace the current ISO9650-1 raft range.
It's your chance to get together with friends, family, work colleagues or social groups and build a zany raft and create crazy costumes for one of the most entertaining events at the heart of a packed waterfront weekend.
As riders head toward the drop, their raft is loaded with potential energy.
Food consumption by mussels in floating rafts is a function of the flow through the rafts, mussel biomass and filtration rates, and ambient food concentrations.
Using life raft makes him/her less likely to get tired from the seawater or an attack by a shark.
With a few exceptions, these life rafts are not certified in accordance with FAA TSO-C70a (we call them "non-approved") and are generally significantly less expensive and often weigh considerably less than approved life rafts.