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Saturday, 16 January 2016


The first boat specialized as a lifeboat was built by Henry Greathead. It was first tested on the River Tyne in North East England on January 29, 1790. The boat was made of wood, tin and cork and could still work when filled with water. It entered service in 1790 and another 31 of the same design were constructed. Greathead never took out a patent on his invention, and was always willing to share his plans with others for the public good.

Launching the lifeboat at Brighton, Sussex in 1875

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 (USCG).

English shipwright James Beeching invented a self-righting lifeboat in 1851, which became the standard model for the Royal National Lifeboat Institution's new fleet.

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

Thirteen crew members and five apprentices were rescued from the stricken schooner Forest Hall by the Lynmouth Louisa Lifeboat on January 12, 1899 when the former foundered off the coast of Devon, England. Because of the severe gale that was blowing at the time, the lifeboat had to be hauled 15 miles (24 km) across Exmoor before it could be safely launched.

The Titanic was capable of carrying 64 lifeboats, but the number was reduced to just 20 so the ship would look less ‘cluttered’.

The life boat drill planned for the day before the Titanic sank on April 15, 1912, was cancelled.

Titanic's recovered lifeboats

A priest on the Titanic refused a lifeboat and instead, stayed behind to hear confessions and give absolution to those on the ship.

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