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Well, a deck-chair raft would have needed to do more than float. Floating wasn't the problem (life vests could solve that problem). The problem was staying dry and, therefore, not dying of hypothermia. I believe the seas were dead calm and rescuers were there in a few hours, so a makeshift boat or raft wouldn't have had to be very sea-worthy, and there may have been things on board that would have served the purpose, but I don't think deck chairs were a likely candidate.
I agree with slocum - hypothermia would be the big problem. Wouldn't it have taken about 10 minutes for hypothermia to have set in? Now my sister claims that some people living in Alaska surf. I would like to know how they avoid hypothermia!
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