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If you intend to carry a lifeboat, consideration to where and how it is mounted is critical in the event of an emergency. A small boat tied down on the hardtop takes lots of effort to launch. Lifeboats tied down or those that require power to lower to the water, are not reliable. It cannot serve as a lifeboat if it is not capable of quick deployment.

If you must go up on deck or onto the hardtop to release them, getting there may be a troublesome task. Vessels tend to heel over when taking on water, which makes getting to the hardtop difficult. The weight of the lifeboat in a cradle or tied down when the craft has heeled over can cause an extensive strain on lines or straps holding the lifeboat, and it may be impossible to release.

In the case of fire, the first few minutes after a fire breaks out are critical and may be the only ones you have to save your passengers and vessel. Fire always burns up in the direction of the lifeboat so you may waste precious minutes that you should be using to fight the fire. If you do carry it on the hardtop, a spring release mount is a better option than a tie down.

Swim platforms can provide room for an inflatable or rigid hull lifeboat carried on its side. The releases are manual; a quick pull allows the vessel to fall off the platform with just a slight push and quickly boarded and then disconnected from the platform. Sailboats often tow a small boat that is readily accessible and often serves as a lifeboat.

If you expect to venture offshore and want the security of a lifesaver, the best choice is a Coast Guard or Solas approved survival life raft that quickly inflates. Good ones have an enclosure and lifesaving equipment such as flares, mirror, and sound producing devices. Many also include blankets, water, food and first aid supplies along with additional survival equipment.

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4 Responses to Lifeboat

  1. Winston Reed says:

    Useful article,thanks for posting!

  2. Walt Poulson says:

    A swim platform mounted life boat seems to be the best solution.

  3. Walt Poulson says:

    This article really covered the “cons” of having a bow mounted life boat that requires a powered davit to deploy. I had one on the bow for years and finally removed it. The inflatable dinghy on the swim platform seems to be the best solution.

  4. James Scott says:

    A good article but the font was too small and I couldn’t expand it.

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