With the 44’ MLB design along with the earlier 52’ steel MLBs, the Coast Guard finally abandoned wood as a lifeboat building material. As with the earlier Type TRS motor lifeboat, the semi-tunnel stern was also not employed as a propeller protection feature, unlike many European lifeboat services which continue with this design practice today. In the 44’ MLB design, lack of a semi-tunnel stern was compensated for, to some degree, by the hull bottom design, which placed the propellers up higher than the lowest portion of the hull bottom such that, in the event of a grounding, the propellers were less likely to be damaged.
The 44’ MLB is 44’1.5" in overall length, with a beam of 12’8" and a draft of 3’2". Powered by twin 186BHP General Motors GM6V53 diesel engines, maximum speed was about 13-15kts. depending on loading and sea state (see Appendix X for detailed specifications and drawings). During initial trials at the Curtis Bay Yard, prototype CG- 44300 self-righted in approximately 3 seconds, but took
approximately 55 seconds to self-bail the cockpit of water. This was rectified by the subsequent installation of larger scupper openings. In addition, the twin rudder design was revised to a balanced type rather than the original flat plate type, which provided better steering control.
Prototype CG- 44300 completed her initial sea trials with flying colors, earning accolades from the Service as “…the most remarkable piece of equipment to bolster the operational capabilities of the Coast Guard since the development of the 52-foot MLB.” Coast Guard Headquarters announced the completion of the CG- 44300 on March 9, 1962, stating that it was the prototype for an 18-boat construction program, later expanded to 25 boats designated CG- 44301 through CG- 44324 . In total, 110 of the 44’ motor lifeboats were built over a ten-year period. During that time, inflation took its inevitable toll on the boat’s cost; i.e., whereas the cost per boat in the first program was $115,000, the last boat (CG- 44409 ) was completed in 1972 at the cost of $225,000; an increase of almost 100%.