The Hull Design
This is moulded from fire-proof orange dyed fibre glass, again to SOLAS standards, and has a watertight entrance hatch which can be opened and battened down from inside or outside. A sketch of a typical offshore lifeboat is shown below; please click to enlarge image.
A series of perforated pipes with small nozzles runs round the outside of the hull. These are operated when in a fire situation, spraying water and setting up a protecting mist against fire and heat, the seawater being supplied from a small pump run of the engine.
There is a raised section aft which has four round viewing ports, (port, stab’d, fore and aft) to let the Cox see around him from inside in his consol.
Lifting and lowering Lugs
Fore and aft is the davit lifting and lowering lugs which are bolted onto special reinforced pads on the lifeboat deck.
There are hooks on the lifeboat hull fore and aft and corresponding shackles on the davits. Maintenance strops are attached to these to secure the lifeboat when working on it. ( A safety measure introduced after a lifeboat accidenly tipped over pitching a couple of engineers into the sea) The strops must be removed at end of shift to leave the boat ready to launch.
High Limit cut-off switch striker pad.
This is again a reinforced pad which the high limit spring-loaded pin contacts, stopping the winch. Again, at the same yard we had installed and tested the davits and were commissioning the winches, lifting and lowering the lifeboats. The senior client Engineer complained about the small hole appearing in this pad due to the continuous adjustment being made to the cut-out switch height. Well, several methods were tried – plastic and rubber pads glued to the striking pin, the agent offered to change the pin to a plastic or aluminium one. Eventually I was in the local pet shop and spotted a selection of hard sponge balls. I bought a couple of these and the next day we skewered a ball onto the end of the striker arm – it worked great. It was permanently fixed to the arm with superglue and thereafter referred to as Willie’s dog’s ball.
Prop Shaft and Propeller
The shaft protrudes a little from the hull with the prop attached in the normal manner; the last lifeboats I commissioned had a Kortz Nozzle surrounding the propeller to steer with instead of a rudder
1. hsegov: Lifeboat passwengers survival
2. Solas: regulations regarding lifeboats
3. survival: offshore survival equipment