Lifeboat (rescue)
Overview
 
A rescue lifeboat is a boat
Boat
A boat is a watercraft of any size designed to float or plane, to provide passage across water. Usually this water will be inland or in protected coastal areas. However, boats such as the whaleboat were designed to be operated from a ship in an offshore environment. In naval terms, a boat is a...

 rescue craft
Rescue craft
A rescue craft is a boat, ship or aircraft used in rescuing.The most common are Lifeboat for Inshore and closer to shore rescues. For operations further out from shore helicopters & ships are mainly used....

 which is used to attend a vessel in distress, or its survivors, to rescue crewmen and passengers. It can be hand pulled, sail powered or powered by an engine. Lifeboats may be rigid, inflatable
Inflatable boat
An inflatable boat is a lightweight boat constructed with its sides and bow made of flexible tubes containing pressurised gas. For smaller boats, the floor and hull beneath it is often flexible. On boats longer than , the floor often consists of three to five rigid plywood or aluminium sheets fixed...

 or rigid-inflatable combination hulled vessels.
There are generally three types of boat, in-land (used on lakes and rivers), in-shore (used closer to shore) and off-shore (into deeper waters and further out to sea).
Encyclopedia
A rescue lifeboat is a boat
Boat
A boat is a watercraft of any size designed to float or plane, to provide passage across water. Usually this water will be inland or in protected coastal areas. However, boats such as the whaleboat were designed to be operated from a ship in an offshore environment. In naval terms, a boat is a...

 rescue craft
Rescue craft
A rescue craft is a boat, ship or aircraft used in rescuing.The most common are Lifeboat for Inshore and closer to shore rescues. For operations further out from shore helicopters & ships are mainly used....

 which is used to attend a vessel in distress, or its survivors, to rescue crewmen and passengers. It can be hand pulled, sail powered or powered by an engine. Lifeboats may be rigid, inflatable
Inflatable boat
An inflatable boat is a lightweight boat constructed with its sides and bow made of flexible tubes containing pressurised gas. For smaller boats, the floor and hull beneath it is often flexible. On boats longer than , the floor often consists of three to five rigid plywood or aluminium sheets fixed...

 or rigid-inflatable combination hulled vessels.

Overview

There are generally three types of boat, in-land (used on lakes and rivers), in-shore (used closer to shore) and off-shore (into deeper waters and further out to sea). A rescue lifeboat is a boat designed with specialised features for searching for, rescuing and saving the lives of people in peril at sea or in estuaries.

In the United Kingdom
United Kingdom
The United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern IrelandIn the United Kingdom and Dependencies, other languages have been officially recognised as legitimate autochthonous languages under the European Charter for Regional or Minority Languages...

 and Ireland
Ireland
Ireland is an island to the northwest of continental Europe. It is the third-largest island in Europe and the twentieth-largest island on Earth...

 rescue lifeboats are typically vessels manned by volunteers, intended for quick dispatch, launch and transit to reach a ship or individuals in trouble at sea. Off-shore boats are referred to as 'All-weather' and generally have a range of 150-250 nautical miles. Characteristics such as capability to withstand heavy weather, fuel capacity, navigation and communication devices carried, vary with size.

A vessel and her crew can be used for operation out to, say, 20 nautical miles (37 km) away from a place of safe refuge, remaining at or on the scene to search for several hours, with fuel reserves sufficient for returning; operating in up to gale force sea conditions; in daylight, fog and darkness. A smaller IRB inshore rescue boat / ILB inshore life boat and her crew would not be able to withstand (or even survive) these conditions for long.

In countries such as Canada and the United States, the term 'motor lifeboat', or its US military acronym MLB, is used to designate shore-based rescue lifeboats which are generally manned by full time coast guard service personnel. On standby rather than on patrol mode these vessels are ready for service rather like a crew of fire fighters standing by for an alert. In Canada, some lifeboats are 'co-crewed', meaning that the operator and engineer are full time personnel while the crew members are trained volunteers.

Inflatable boats (IB), (RIB) and (RHIB)

Older inflatable boats, such as those introduced by the RNLI in 1963, were soon made larger and those over 3 metres (9.8 ft) often had plywood bottoms and were known as RIBs. These two types were superseded by newer types of RIBs which had purpose built hulls and flotation tubes. A gap in operations caused the New Zealand
New Zealand
New Zealand is an island country in the south-western Pacific Ocean comprising two main landmasses and numerous smaller islands. The country is situated some east of Australia across the Tasman Sea, and roughly south of the Pacific island nations of New Caledonia, Fiji, and Tonga...

 Lifeguard Service to reintroduce small 2 man IRB's, which have since been adopted by other organisations such as the RNLI as well.

Ships

Larger non-inflatable ships are also employed as lifeboats. The RNLI fields the Severn class lifeboat
Severn class lifeboat
At long, the Severn class lifeboat is the largest lifeboat operated by the Royal National Lifeboat Institution . Introduced to service in 1996, the class is named after the River Severn, the longest river in Great Britain...

 and Tamar class lifeboat
Tamar class lifeboat
Tamar class lifeboats are all-weather lifeboats operated by the Royal National Lifeboat Institution around the coasts of Great Britain and Ireland...

 as all-weather lifeboats (ALB). In the United States and Canada, the term motor live boat (MLB) refers to a similar (though slightly smaller) class of non-inflatable lifeboats, the latest of which is the 47-foot Motor Lifeboat
47-foot Motor Lifeboat
The 47-foot MLB is the standard lifeboat of the United States Coast Guard . The 47′ MLB is the successor to the 44′ MLB.The 47' MLB is designed to weather hurricane force winds and heavy seas, capable of surviving winds up to , breaking surf up to 6 m and impacts up to three G's...

.

China

The earliest lifeboat stations and service with a documented history operated along the middle reaches of the Chang jiang or Yangtze, a major river which flows through south central China. These waters are particularly treacherous to waterway travellers owing to the canyon like gorge conditions along the river shore and the high volume and rate of flow. The 'long river' was a principal means of communication between coastal (Shanghai) and interior China (Chongqing, once known as Chungking).

These riverine lifeboats were of a wooden pulling boat design, designed with a very narrow length-to-beam ratio and a shallow draft for negotiating shoal waters and turbulent, rock strewn currents. They could thus be maneuvered laterally to negotiate rocks, similar to today's inflated rafts for 'running' fast rivers, and also could be hauled upstream by human haulers, rather than beasts of burden, who walked along narrow catwalks lining the canyon sides.

United Kingdom

The first lifeboat station in Britain was at Formby
Formby
Formby is a town and civil parish in the Metropolitan Borough of Sefton in Merseyside, England. It has a population of approximately 25,000....

 beach, established in 1776 by William Hutchinson, Dock Master for the Liverpool
Liverpool
Liverpool is a city and metropolitan borough of Merseyside, England, along the eastern side of the Mersey Estuary. It was founded as a borough in 1207 and was granted city status in 1880...

 Common Council.

The first non-submersible ('unimmergible') lifeboat is credited to Lionel Lukin
Lionel Lukin
Lionel Lukin Lionel Lukin Lionel Lukin (18 May 1742 (Great Dunmow, Essex, England) - 16 February 1834 (Hythe, Kent, England) is considered by some to have been the inventor of the lifeboat (although see William Wouldhave for the competing claim)....

, an Englishman
English people
The English are a nation and ethnic group native to England, who speak English. The English identity is of early mediaeval origin, when they were known in Old English as the Anglecynn. England is now a country of the United Kingdom, and the majority of English people in England are British Citizens...

 who, in 1784, modified and patented a 20 feet (6.1 m) Norwegian yawl
Yawl
A yawl is a two-masted sailing craft similar to a sloop or cutter but with an additional mast located well aft of the main mast, often right on the transom, specifically aft of the rudder post. A yawl (from Dutch Jol) is a two-masted sailing craft similar to a sloop or cutter but with an...

, fitting it with water-tight cork-filled chambers for additional buoyancy
Buoyancy
In physics, buoyancy is a force exerted by a fluid that opposes an object's weight. In a column of fluid, pressure increases with depth as a result of the weight of the overlying fluid. Thus a column of fluid, or an object submerged in the fluid, experiences greater pressure at the bottom of the...

 and a cast iron
Cast iron
Cast iron is derived from pig iron, and while it usually refers to gray iron, it also identifies a large group of ferrous alloys which solidify with a eutectic. The color of a fractured surface can be used to identify an alloy. White cast iron is named after its white surface when fractured, due...

 keel
Keel
In boats and ships, keel can refer to either of two parts: a structural element, or a hydrodynamic element. These parts overlap. As the laying down of the keel is the initial step in construction of a ship, in British and American shipbuilding traditions the construction is dated from this event...

 to keep the boat upright.

The first boat specialized as a lifeboat was tested on the River Tyne
River Tyne
The River Tyne is a river in North East England in Great Britain. It is formed by the confluence of two rivers: the North Tyne and the South Tyne. These two rivers converge at Warden Rock near Hexham in Northumberland at a place dubbed 'The Meeting of the Waters'.The North Tyne rises on the...

 in England on January 29, 1790, built by Henry Greathead
Henry Greathead
Henry Francis Greathead was a pioneering rescue lifeboat builder from South Shields. Although Lionel Lukin had patented a lifeboat in 1785, Greathead successfully petitioned parliament in 1802 with the claim that he had invented a lifeboat in 1790, and he was awarded £1,200 for his trouble...

. The design won a competition organised by the private Law House committee, though William Wouldhave
William Wouldhave
William Wouldhave is a rival of Lionel Lukin for recognition as inventor of the lifeboat. His tombstone, erected thirteen years before Lukin’s, describes William Wouldhave as;-Personal History:...

 and Lionel Lukin both claimed to be the inventor of the first lifeboat. Greathead's boat, the Original (combined with some features of Wouldhave's) entered service in 1790 and another 31 of the same design were constructed. The 28 feet (8.5 m) boat was rowed by up to 12 crew for whom cork jackets were provided. In 1807 Ludkin designed the Frances Ann for the Lowestoft service, which wasn't satisfied with Greathead's design, and this saved 300 lives over 42 years of service.
Double-ended designs could operate a rudder from either end so there was no need to turn.

The first self-righting design was developed by William Wouldhave
William Wouldhave
William Wouldhave is a rival of Lionel Lukin for recognition as inventor of the lifeboat. His tombstone, erected thirteen years before Lukin’s, describes William Wouldhave as;-Personal History:...

 and also entered in the Law House competition, but was only awarded a half-prize. Self-righting designs were not deployed until the 1840s.

These lifeboats were manned by 6 to 10 volunteers who would row out from shore when a ship was in distress. In the case of the UK the crews were generally local boatmen. One example of this was the Newhaven
Newhaven, East Sussex
Newhaven is a town in the Lewes District of East Sussex in England. It lies at the mouth of the River Ouse, on the English Channel coast, and is a ferry port for services to France.-Origins:...

 Lifeboat, established in 1803 in response to the wrecking of HMS Brazen
HMS Brazen (1798)
HMS Brazen was the French privateer Invincible General Bonaparte , which the British captured in 1798...

 in January 1800, when only one of her crew of 105 could be saved. The UK combined these local efforts into a national organization in 1824 with the establishment of the Royal National Lifeboat Institution
Royal National Lifeboat Institution
The Royal National Lifeboat Institution is a charity that saves lives at sea around the coasts of Great Britain, Ireland, the Channel Islands and the Isle of Man, as well as on selected inland waterways....

. One example of an early lifeboat was the Landguard Fort Lifeboat
Landguard Fort Lifeboat
The Landguard Fort Lifeboat is an example of early attempts to design an unsinkable vessel. Several years before the foundation of the RNLI, Richard Hall Gower had been addressing the special problems of lifeboat design. Bayleys at Ipswich built one to his design, being paid for by public...

 of 1821, designed by Richard Hall Gower
Richard Hall Gower
Captain Richard Hall Gower was an English mariner, empirical philosopher, nautical inventor, entrepreneur, and humanitarian.-Mariner:...

.

In 1851, James Beeching
James Beeching
James Beeching was an English boat builder who invented a "self-righting lifeboat" and designed a type of fishing boat which became characteristic of the port of Great Yarmouth in the 19th century...

 and James Peake produced the design for the Beeching-Peake SR (self-righting) lifeboat which became the standard model for the new Royal National Lifeboat Institution
Royal National Lifeboat Institution
The Royal National Lifeboat Institution is a charity that saves lives at sea around the coasts of Great Britain, Ireland, the Channel Islands and the Isle of Man, as well as on selected inland waterways....

 fleet.

The first motorised boat, the Duke of Northumberland, was built in 1890 and was steam powered. In 1929 the motorized lifeboat Princess Mary was commissioned and was the largest ocean going lifeboat at that time able to carry over 300 persons on rescue missions. The Princess Mary was stationed at Padstow Cornwall, England.

USA

The United States Life Saving Service (USLSS) was established in 1848. This was a United States government agency that grew out of private and local humanitarian efforts to save the lives of shipwrecked mariners and passengers. In 1915 the USLSS merged with the Revenue Cutter Service to form the United States Coast Guard
United States Coast Guard
The United States Coast Guard is a branch of the United States Armed Forces and one of the seven U.S. uniformed services. The Coast Guard is a maritime, military, multi-mission service unique among the military branches for having a maritime law enforcement mission and a federal regulatory agency...

 (USCG).

In 1899 the Lake Shore Engine Company, at the behest of the Marquette Life Saving Station, fitted a two-cylinder 12 hp (9 kW) engine
Internal combustion engine
The internal combustion engine is an engine in which the combustion of a fuel occurs with an oxidizer in a combustion chamber. In an internal combustion engine, the expansion of the high-temperature and high -pressure gases produced by combustion apply direct force to some component of the engine...

 to a 34-foot (10 m) lifeboat on Lake Superior
Lake Superior
Lake Superior is the largest of the five traditionally-demarcated Great Lakes of North America. It is bounded to the north by the Canadian province of Ontario and the U.S. state of Minnesota, and to the south by the U.S. states of Wisconsin and Michigan. It is the largest freshwater lake in the...

, Michigan
Michigan
Michigan is a U.S. state located in the Great Lakes Region of the United States of America. The name Michigan is the French form of the Ojibwa word mishigamaa, meaning "large water" or "large lake"....

. Its operation marked the introduction of the term motor life boat (MLB). By 1909 44 boats had been fitted with engines whose power had increased to 40 hp.

The sailors of the MLBs are called "surfmen", after the name given to the volunteers of the original USLSS. The main school for training USCG surfmen is the National Motor Lifeboat School (NMLBS) located at the Coast Guard Station Cape Disappointment
Coast Guard Station Cape Disappointment
United States Coast Guard Station Cape Disappointment, situated near Cape Disappointment, Washington at the mouth of the Columbia River, is the largest United States Coast Guard search and rescue station on the Northwest Coast, with 50 crewmembers assigned. Cape Disappointment Station is also the...

 at the mouth of the Columbia River, which is also the boundary separating Washington State from Oregon State. The sand bars which form at the entrance are treacherous and provide a tough training environment for surf lifesavers.

Canada

Canada established its first lifeboat stations in the mid-to-late 19th century along the Atlantic and Pacific coasts, as well as along the shores of the Canadian side of the Great Lakes. The original organization was called the "Canadian Lifesaving Service", not to be confused with the Royal Life Saving Society of Canada
Royal Life Saving Society of Canada
The Royal Life Saving Society Canada operates throughout Canada as the Lifesaving Society. The Society works to prevent drowning and water-related injury through its training programs, Water Smart public education, water-incident research, safety management and lifesaving sport...

, which came later at the turn of the 20th century.

In 1908, Canada had the first lifeboat (a pulling sailing boat design) to be equipped with a motor in North America, at Bamfield, British Columbia (province).

Modern lifeboats

Modern life boats have been modified by the addition of an engine
Internal combustion engine
The internal combustion engine is an engine in which the combustion of a fuel occurs with an oxidizer in a combustion chamber. In an internal combustion engine, the expansion of the high-temperature and high -pressure gases produced by combustion apply direct force to some component of the engine...

 since 1890 which provides more power to get in and out of the swell area inside the surf. They can be launched from shore in any weather and perform rescues further out. Older lifeboats relied on sails and oars which are slower and dependent on wind conditions or manpower. Lifeboats of this type generally have modern electronic devices such as radios
Marine VHF radio
Marine VHF radio is installed on all large ships and most seagoing small craft. It is used for a wide variety of purposes, including summoning rescue services and communicating with harbours, locks, bridges and marinas, and operates in the VHF frequency range, between 156 to 174 MHz...

 and radar
Radar
Radar is an object-detection system which uses radio waves to determine the range, altitude, direction, or speed of objects. It can be used to detect aircraft, ships, spacecraft, guided missiles, motor vehicles, weather formations, and terrain. The radar dish or antenna transmits pulses of radio...

 to help locate the party in distress and carry medical and food supplies for the survivors.

The Rigid Hulled Inflatable Boat (RHIB) is now seen as the best type of craft for in-shore rescues as they are less likely to be tipped over by the wind or breakers. Specially designed jet
Jetboat
A jetboat is a boat propelled by a jet of water ejected from the back of the craft. Unlike a powerboat or motorboat that uses a propeller in the water below or behind the boat, a jetboat draws the water from under the boat into a pump inside the boat, then expels it through a nozzle at the...

 rescue boats have also been used successfully. Unlike ordinary pleasure craft these small to medium sized rescue craft often have a very low freeboard so that victims can be taken aboard without lifting. This means that the boats are designed to operate with water inside the boat hull and rely on flotation tanks rather than hull displacement to stay afloat and upright.

Inflatables (IB)s fell out of general use after the introduction of RIBs during the 1970s. Conditions in New Zealand and other large surf zones was identified and Inflatable Rescue Boats (IRB), small non rigid powered boats, were introduced by New Zealand and have been put into use in many other countries including Australia and the RNLI in the UK.

Australasia

In Australasia
Australasia
Australasia is a region of Oceania comprising Australia, New Zealand, the island of New Guinea, and neighbouring islands in the Pacific Ocean. The term was coined by Charles de Brosses in Histoire des navigations aux terres australes...

 surf lifesaving clubs operate inflatable rescue boats (IRB) for in-shore rescues of swimmers and surfers. These boats are best typified by the rubber Zodiac and are powered by an outboard motor. The rescue personnel wear wet suits.

Lifeboats are also operated inland at events, organisations such as the Royal Life Saving Society (RLSS UK)
Royal Life Saving Society UK
The Royal Lifesaving Society UK, also known as Lifesavers, is the governing body for lifesaving and lifeguarding in the United Kingdom. The Royal Lifesaving Society also exists in the Republic of Ireland under the title RLSS Ireland.-History:...

 provide coverage of rivers, lakes and such like.

Canada

The Canadian Coast Guard Agency operates makes and models of motor lifeboats that are modified RNLI and USCG designs such as the Arun
Arun class lifeboat
The Arun class lifeboat is a fast all-weather lifeboat designed by the Royal National Lifeboat Institution for service at its stations around the coasts of Great Britain and Ireland. They were operated by the RNLI between 1971 and 2008...

 and the 47 footer
Cape class motor life boat
The Canadian Coast Guard maintains a fleet of Cape-class motor lifeboats, based on a motor lifeboat design used by the United States Coast Guard....

 (respectively).

Germany

In Germany
Germany
Germany , officially the Federal Republic of Germany , is a federal parliamentary republic in Europe. The country consists of 16 states while the capital and largest city is Berlin. Germany covers an area of 357,021 km2 and has a largely temperate seasonal climate...

, the Deutsche Gesellschaft zur Rettung Schiffbrüchiger
Deutsche Gesellschaft zur Rettung Schiffbrüchiger
The Deutsche Gesellschaft zur Rettung Schiffbrüchiger or DGzRS is responsible for Search and Rescue in German territorial waters in the North Sea and the Baltic Sea, including the Exclusive Economic Zone.The headquarters and...

 (DGzRS) has provided naval rescue service since 1865. It is a civilian, non-profit organisation and has a variety of boats and ships, the biggest being the 46 meter (150 ft) SK Hermann Marwede. The DGzRS operates from 54 stations in the North Sea
North Sea
In the southwest, beyond the Straits of Dover, the North Sea becomes the English Channel connecting to the Atlantic Ocean. In the east, it connects to the Baltic Sea via the Skagerrak and Kattegat, narrow straits that separate Denmark from Norway and Sweden respectively...

 and the Baltic Sea
Baltic Sea
The Baltic Sea is a brackish mediterranean sea located in Northern Europe, from 53°N to 66°N latitude and from 20°E to 26°E longitude. It is bounded by the Scandinavian Peninsula, the mainland of Europe, and the Danish islands. It drains into the Kattegat by way of the Øresund, the Great Belt and...

. It has 20 rescue cruisers (usually piggybacking a smaller rescue boat) and 41 rescue boats.

Netherlands

The Dutch lifeboat association Koninklijke Nederlandse Redding Maatschappij (KNRM) has developed jet-driven RIB lifeboats. This has resulted in 3 classes, the largest is the Arie Visser class: length 18,80 m, twin jet, 2 x 1000 hp, max. speed 35 knots (68.6 km/h), capacity 120 persons.

UK

The Royal National Lifeboat Institution
Royal National Lifeboat Institution
The Royal National Lifeboat Institution is a charity that saves lives at sea around the coasts of Great Britain, Ireland, the Channel Islands and the Isle of Man, as well as on selected inland waterways....

 (or RNLI) maintains lifeboats around the coasts of the United Kingdom
United Kingdom
The United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern IrelandIn the United Kingdom and Dependencies, other languages have been officially recognised as legitimate autochthonous languages under the European Charter for Regional or Minority Languages...

 and Republic of Ireland
Republic of Ireland
Ireland , described as the Republic of Ireland , is a sovereign state in Europe occupying approximately five-sixths of the island of the same name. Its capital is Dublin. Ireland, which had a population of 4.58 million in 2011, is a constitutional republic governed as a parliamentary democracy,...

 manned by unpaid volunteers, many part-time, with equipment funded through voluntary donations. There are around 50 other Lifeboat Services that are independent of the RNLI in and around the UK that provide lifesaving lifeboats and lifeboat crews 24 hours a day all year round, manned by unpaid volunteers. Their stations operate inshore and offshore ("All Weather") lifeboats. Most Scandinavia
Scandinavia
Scandinavia is a cultural, historical and ethno-linguistic region in northern Europe that includes the three kingdoms of Denmark, Norway and Sweden, characterized by their common ethno-cultural heritage and language. Modern Norway and Sweden proper are situated on the Scandinavian Peninsula,...

n countries also have volunteer lifeboat societies. The local branch of a society generally schedules practices, maintains a lifeboat and shed, and is contacted by commercial marine radio operators when a rescue is needed.

In Britain
United Kingdom
The United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern IrelandIn the United Kingdom and Dependencies, other languages have been officially recognised as legitimate autochthonous languages under the European Charter for Regional or Minority Languages...

, the RNLI design and build several types of all-weather motor lifeboats, the Arun class
Arun class lifeboat
The Arun class lifeboat is a fast all-weather lifeboat designed by the Royal National Lifeboat Institution for service at its stations around the coasts of Great Britain and Ireland. They were operated by the RNLI between 1971 and 2008...

 kept permanently afloat, the Tyne class
Tyne class lifeboat
Tyne class lifeboats were designed to serve the shores of the UK and Ireland as a part of the RNLI fleet. They are named after the River Tyne in north-east England....

 slipway-launched boat and the Mersey class
Mersey class lifeboat
Mersey class lifeboats are all-weather lifeboats operated by the Royal National Lifeboat Institution from stations around the coasts of Great Britain and Ireland...

 carriage-launched boat. More recently the Arun replacement Trent
Trent class lifeboat
The Trent class lifeboat is an all-weather lifeboat operated by the Royal National Lifeboat Institution from 30 stations around the coasts of Great Britain and Ireland to provide coverage up to out to sea...

 and Severn
Severn class lifeboat
At long, the Severn class lifeboat is the largest lifeboat operated by the Royal National Lifeboat Institution . Introduced to service in 1996, the class is named after the River Severn, the longest river in Great Britain...

 class prototype models were delivered in 1992 with the first production Trent arriving in 1994 and the Severn in 1996. The first production Tamar class
Tamar class lifeboat
Tamar class lifeboats are all-weather lifeboats operated by the Royal National Lifeboat Institution around the coasts of Great Britain and Ireland...

, replacement for the Tyne went into service in December 2005 and the FCB2 class replacement for the Mersey is being developed for deployment sometime in 2013.

USA

The United States Life Saving Service began using motorised lifeboats in 1899. Models derived from this hull design remained in use until 1987.

Today in U.S. waters rescue-at-sea is part of the duties of the United States Coast Guard
United States Coast Guard
The United States Coast Guard is a branch of the United States Armed Forces and one of the seven U.S. uniformed services. The Coast Guard is a maritime, military, multi-mission service unique among the military branches for having a maritime law enforcement mission and a federal regulatory agency...

. The coast guard
Coast guard
A coast guard or coastguard is a national organization responsible for various services at sea. However the term implies widely different responsibilities in different countries, from being a heavily armed military force with customs and security duties to being a volunteer organization tasked with...

's MLBs, an integral part of the USCG's fleet, are built to withstand the most severe conditions
Storm
A storm is any disturbed state of an astronomical body's atmosphere, especially affecting its surface, and strongly implying severe weather...

 at sea. Designed to be self-bailing, self-righting and practically unsinkable MLBs are used for surf rescue in heavy weather.

36' (foot)

The 36 feet (11 m) T model was introduced in 1929. At 36 in 10 in (11.23 m) length overall, 10 in 9 in (3.28 m) beam and with a two-ton lead keel, she was powered by a 90 hp (67 kW) Sterling gas engine and had a speed of nine knots (17 km/h). From the early days of the 20th century the 36 MLB was the mainstay of coastal rescue operations for over 30 years until the 44 MLB was introduced in 1962.

Built at the Coast Guard Yard in Curtis Bay, Maryland, 218 36 T, TR and TRS MLBs were built between 1929 to 1956. Based on a hull design from the 1880s, the 36 TRS and her predecessors remain the longest active hull design in the Coast Guard, serving the Coast Guard and the Life Saving Services for almost 100 years, the last one, CG-36535, serving Depoe Bay
Depoe Bay, Oregon
Depoe Bay is a city in Lincoln County, Oregon, United States, located on U.S. Route 101 next to the Pacific Ocean. The population was 1,174 at the 2000 census, with an unofficial estimated population of 1,355 in 2007...

 MLB Station in Oregon
Oregon
Oregon is a state in the Pacific Northwest region of the United States. It is located on the Pacific coast, with Washington to the north, California to the south, Nevada on the southeast and Idaho to the east. The Columbia and Snake rivers delineate much of Oregon's northern and eastern...

 until 1987.

52' (foot)

In the mid-1930s the USCG ordered a 52 foot rescue life boat for service where there was a high traffic of merchants ships and heavy seas that had a high capacity in the number of person that could be rescued of approximately 100 and could tow ten fully loaded standard life boats used by most merchant vessels. Unlike the older 36' foot, the 52' foot had a diesel engine. One was built and stationed at Sandy Hook, New York. No further information is known on any orders for more 52' foot rescue life boats or what happened to the one stationed at Sandy Hook.

44' (foot)

During the 1960s the Coast Guard replaced the 36-foot (11 m) MLB with the newly designed 44 foot (13 m) boat. These steel-hulled boats were more capable and more complicated than the wooden lifeboats they replaced.

In all 110 vessels would be built by the Coast Guard Yard in Curtis Bay between 1962 and 1972 with an additional 52 built by the RNLI
Royal National Lifeboat Institution
The Royal National Lifeboat Institution is a charity that saves lives at sea around the coasts of Great Britain, Ireland, the Channel Islands and the Isle of Man, as well as on selected inland waterways....

, Canadian Coast Guard
Canadian Coast Guard
The Canadian Coast Guard is the coast guard of Canada. It is a federal agency responsible for providing maritime search and rescue , aids to navigation, marine pollution response, marine radio, and icebreaking...

 and others under license from the USCG.

The last active 44' MLB in the United States Coast Guard was retired in May 2009, however these boats are still in active service elsewhere around the globe. The 44' MLB can be found in many third world
Third World
The term Third World arose during the Cold War to define countries that remained non-aligned with either capitalism and NATO , or communism and the Soviet Union...

 countries and is faithfully serving the Royal Volunteer Coastal Patrol in Australia and the Royal New Zealand Coastguard Federation. The current engine configuration is twin Detroit Diesel 6v53s that put out 185 hp each at a max RPM of 2800.

30' (foot) surf rescue boat

Another surf capable boat that the Coast Guard has used in recent years is the 30' surf rescue boat (SRB) introduced in 1983. The 30' SRB was self righting and self bailing and designed with marked differences from the typical lifeboats used by the Coast Guard up until the early 1980s. The 30' SRB is not considered to be a MLB, but was generally used in a similar capacity. Designed to perform search and rescue in adverse weather the vessel is generally operated with a crew of two, a surfman and an engineer. The crew both stand on the coxswain flat, protected by the superstructure on the bow and stern. The boat's appearance has caused many to comment that it looks like a "Nike Tennis Shoe".

Since 1997 the introduction of the faster 47' MLB and the phasing out of the 44' MLBs made the 30 footers obsolete. The class of vessels underwent an overhaul in the early nineties to extend their life until the newer and faster 47' motor lifeboats came into service, and in the late 1990s most of the 30 footers were de-commissioned. One still remains on active duty at Motor Lifeboat Station Depoe Bay in Depoe Bay, Oregon and is used almost daily. This station was host to the last 36' motor lifeboat in the late 1980s.

47' (foot)

The USCG has since designed and built new aluminum 47 feet (14.3 m) lifeboats and the first production boat was delivered to the USCG in 1997.

The 47 MLB
47-foot Motor Lifeboat
The 47-foot MLB is the standard lifeboat of the United States Coast Guard . The 47′ MLB is the successor to the 44′ MLB.The 47' MLB is designed to weather hurricane force winds and heavy seas, capable of surviving winds up to , breaking surf up to 6 m and impacts up to three G's...

 is able to withstand impacts of three times the acceleration of gravity, can survive a complete roll-over and is self-righting in less than 10 seconds with all machinery remaining fully operational. The 47 MLB can travel at 25 knots (46 km/h) to reach her destination.

There are 117 operational with a total of 200 scheduled to be delivered to the USCG. A further 27 models are being built by MetalCraft Marine under license to the Canadian Coast Guard
Canadian Coast Guard
The Canadian Coast Guard is the coast guard of Canada. It is a federal agency responsible for providing maritime search and rescue , aids to navigation, marine pollution response, marine radio, and icebreaking...

.

Response boat-medium

The Response boat-medium
Response boat-medium
The response boat-medium is a 45-foot utility boat used by the United States Coast Guard. It is intended as a replacement for the Coast Guard’s fleet of 41′ utility boats , which have been in use by the Coast Guard since the 1970s. The Coast Guard plans to acquire 180 of these RB-Ms over a 6–10...

 is a replacement for the 41' boats
USCG utility boat
The USCG Utility Boat, or UTB, is a standard utility boat used by the United States Coast Guard for a variety of inshore missions. The 41 ft UTB is designed to operate under moderate weather and sea conditions where its speed and maneuverability make it an ideal platform.There are presently...

 and the USCG
United States Coast Guard
The United States Coast Guard is a branch of the United States Armed Forces and one of the seven U.S. uniformed services. The Coast Guard is a maritime, military, multi-mission service unique among the military branches for having a maritime law enforcement mission and a federal regulatory agency...

 plans a fleet of 180 in the USA
United States
The United States of America is a federal constitutional republic comprising fifty states and a federal district...

.

See also

  • Airborne lifeboat
    Airborne lifeboat
    Airborne lifeboats were powered lifeboats that were made to be dropped by fixed-wing aircraft into water to aid in air-sea rescue operations. An airborne lifeboat was to be carried by a heavy bomber specially modified to handle the external load of the lifeboat...

  • James Beeching
    James Beeching
    James Beeching was an English boat builder who invented a "self-righting lifeboat" and designed a type of fishing boat which became characteristic of the port of Great Yarmouth in the 19th century...

     (1778-1858), inventor of the self-righting lifeboat
  • Convoy rescue ship
    Convoy rescue ship
    During the Second World War purpose built convoy rescue ships accompanied some Atlantic convoys to rescue survivors from ships which had been attacked. Rescue ships were typically small freighters with passenger accommodations. Conversion to rescue service involved enlarging galley and food...

  • Lifeboatman's helmet
    Lifeboatman's helmet
    A lifeboatman's helmet is designed to protect the heads of lifeboatmen at their work in rough sea.The sort described here is currently in use at Southport lifeboat station in England....

  • Muster drill
    Muster drill
    A muster drill is an exercise conducted by the crew of a ship prior to embarking on a voyage. The purpose of a muster drill is to prepare passengers for safe evacuation in the event of an emergency while on board the ship and to familiarize crew and passengers with escape routes...


  • Royal National Lifeboat Institution
    Royal National Lifeboat Institution
    The Royal National Lifeboat Institution is a charity that saves lives at sea around the coasts of Great Britain, Ireland, the Channel Islands and the Isle of Man, as well as on selected inland waterways....

  • International Lifeboat Federation
    International Lifeboat Federation
    The is a global organisation that unites and represents the world's operational marine rescue services, whether civilian or military - full-time or voluntary - large or small...

  • List of RNLI stations
  • Search and Rescue
    Search and rescue
    Search and rescue is the search for and provision of aid to people who are in distress or imminent danger.The general field of search and rescue includes many specialty sub-fields, mostly based upon terrain considerations...



Books

  • John A Culver; The 36 foot Coast Guard motor life boat (1989 J.A. Culver)
  • Bernard C. Webber; Chatham, "The Lifeboatmen" (1985 Lower Cape Pub., ISBN 0-936972-08-4 )
  • Robert R. Frump, "Two Tankers Down: The Greatest Small Boat Rescue in U.S. Coast Guard History. (2008, Lyons Press. www.twotankersdown.com)

External links


USA 36 MLB
USA 44 MLB
  • US Coast Guard Datasheet on the 44 MLB
  • 44 Motor Life Boat A personal website on the 44 MLB
  • CG-44355 A 44 MLB on display in New Jersey
  • Axis Historical Society A 44 MLB in Australia
  • Waiheke Volunteer Coastguard A 44 MLB in New Zealand
  • SSS601 Viking A 44 MLB Sea Scout
    Sea Scouts (Boy Scouts of America)
    Sea Scouting is a part of the Venturing program that the Boy Scouts of America offers for young men and women. Along with Cub Scouting for younger boys and Boy Scouting for older boys, Venturing and Sea Scouting provide a program for religious, fraternal, educational, and other community...

     Ship in Washington

USA 47 MLB
47-foot Motor Lifeboat
The 47-foot MLB is the standard lifeboat of the United States Coast Guard . The 47′ MLB is the successor to the 44′ MLB.The 47' MLB is designed to weather hurricane force winds and heavy seas, capable of surviving winds up to , breaking surf up to 6 m and impacts up to three G's...


Coast Guard Agencies
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