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Lifeboats – Types and its use at Emergency


Lifeboats are small boats that are carried on a large ship to rescue the passenger from the ship at the time of disasters or emergency. It’s used to escape from the sea by the people who are in danger at sea. These lifeboat have safety equipment like Search and Rescue Transponder (SART), Compass, EPIRBs, Life Jackets, etc. Sometimes when the availability of lifeboats are more at sea than the lifeboats present on the ship to save the people then some Lifeboats are sent from the nearest port or harbor, to ship where it’s required at the time of emergencies. Talking about its structure lifeboats is usually a rigid and inflatable combination of hulled vessels. The Ist lifeboat was invented by Henry Greathead (boatbuilder). It’s called the ‘Original’, of 1789, and was built in South Shields.

Photo by Will Francis on Unsplash

Types of Lifeboats:-

There are so many types of lifeboats that are usually used in various kinds of ships such


Open lifeboats are lifeboats that have no roof and it is normally propelled by manual power by using hand-propelled ores to move at sea. But there is a very big disadvantage with this kind of lifeboats as it has no roof and due to their older design, so it can’t provide 100% safety to their passengers or crew members.


Closed lifeboats are the lifeboats that are enclosed which provide safety for their passengers or crew members from seawater, bad weather, and heavy wind. It’s safer than open boats that’s why so many ships prefer this lifeboat for their rescue mission or at the time of emergency.

Closed lifeboats are further classified into two parts:-
1) Partially enclosed lifeboats.
2) Fully enclosed lifeboats.



Freefall lifeboats are lifeboats that are somewhere similar to enclosed lifeboats but their entire process of launching is different. The special features of these lifeboats are that they can penetrate the water without harming the body when launched from the ship. This lifeboat is located at the aft of the ship because it provides a maximum area for free fall to a free-fall lifeboat.

Credit: Marine Gyaan

Maintenance Required In Lifeboats :-

As we know lifeboats have their significance at sea, hence they need to be functioning
perfectly all-time at sea. So we need to maintain it very well. So to maintain it here are some useful tips that assured proper lifeboats maintenance at all times.

  1. To protect it from damaged lifeboats maintenance must be done at a regular interval of three months.
  2. The engine of the lifeboat must be checked for at least three minutes every week.
  3. The Battery of the lifeboats provides lighting and helps to start the engine must be renewed at regular intervals of Two years.
  4. The Air support system of lifeboats must be checked. And their Sprinkler system must be installed and check regularly to see the function of the valve.

Essence of Lifeboats in Shipping Industry:-

Nowadays lifeboats became a very important part of the shipping industry. We can term lifeboats as lifesavers because they save so many lives daily at sea. There are so many operations that are happening very smoothly because of lifeboats at sea. Lifeboats also help to make a route for larger ships. It’s also used for providing some basic facilities from the port to ship when needed. Nowadays lifeboats became advanced like some lifeboats are fireproof which is mainly used in oil tanker vessels at the time of emergency.

Therefore we can say that it’s a lifeboat that saves so many crew or people at sea and made the ship safer for them and safety is always a prime priority of any shipping company or for Seaman as well. Lifeboats are like a boon for Seaman or in Maritime Industry.

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