Since Middle Ages seafaring has been a hazardous occupation, and it is still same today. People of different countries have made efforts to improve safety at sea. As a result, we have modern saving equipment, including saving appliances: personal and collective (survival craft).
There are different types of collective life saving appliances: Open lifeboats, totally enclosed lifeboat, partially enclosed lifeboats, rescue boats, and liferafts.
Lifeboat is primary live saving equipment. There are open, partially enclosed and totally enclosed lifeboats, which may be made of wood, steel, aluminum, and of glassfibre-reinforced plastic.
Wooden and metal lifeboats require significant maintenance. Metal boats tend to corrode. Wooden ones can dry out and then become leaky. Plastic ones have a high corrosion resistance and low maintenance requirement.
Modern lifeboats are fast and highly maneuverable. They provided with modern technical improvements. That made lifeboats more capable of services.
Open lifeboat is traditional lifeboat. It can be got in very quickly, even by passengers who have had no experience in survival at sea, but this boat doesn’t have enough stability and it doesn’t provide any protection against heat, cold or rain.
Partially enclosed lifeboat is provided with rigid covers and foldable canopy; two persons can erect the canopy. The boat has entrances at both ends and on each side. You may open or close the entrances when you inboard or outboard. This boat protects you from sea water, rain and wind.
Rescue boat is part of new international regulation. It designed to rescue person from own ship or other person in distress. It may be of rigid or inflatable construction or combination of these. It designed to be faster launched; even the ship is under way. It can carry at least 5 persons seated and one lying.
All ships of 85 meters in length are required to have totally enclosed lifeboat on board. It is self-righting, because of his extra top buoyancy. Some models are sprinkled to provide a mist of sea water around it, if sailing through burning oil. And some models have internal air supply. This boat protects you from sea water, cold, rain, wind.
The free-fall boat is a special totally enclosed lifeboat, which launched with free fall principle. To minimize shock impact on passengers during the fall from up to 40 meters the boat is designed with a rear-facing seat and safety belts.
One more life-saving appliance is inflatable liferaft. It made in different sizes from 6 to 25 persons and even of 35 and 45 persons capacity for special purpose, on passenger vessels in short international voyages.
All liferafts are divided into two groups: thrown-over board liferaft and davit launched liferaft. And these rafts are different in construction. Thrown-over board liferaft hasn’t lowering shackle and inner attachment, which has liferaft suitable for lowering.
Lifeboats and liferafts are to save lives, and crew only is able to do that if it is properly maintained, and the crew knows how to operate it.
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