The lifeboat wall of shame


Please Post a picture of any open lifeboat still in service along with the ship name, company and name of the CEO!

NOTE: Yes, like any topic, there are a few minor reasons for keeping these antiques in service. This is not a post to argue those points. Any CEO mentioned as well as any advocate of open lifeboats is welcome to start a new post on the topic.

It has been brought to my attention that posting photos of your own ship’s lifeboats may get you fired. Fair enough, feel free to send them to a freind to post or feel free to submit photos of lifeboats aboard other ships in the harbor.


I know you mentioned not a post to argue those reasons but what might they be? Museum ships, ACP, ??




This is the Visnes from Gibraltar with still an open lifeboat.

For the rest it is hard to find such a ship these days. See for yourself on this link with pictures of scores of ships in the Rotterdam port area. It is a total shame that the El Faro and El Yunque still had open lifeboats even unworthy for third world countries. It tells us a lot about Tote’s attitude towards it personnel. They don’t give a shit, could not care less, so far is clear. And yes, where were/are the Unions, drinking coffee?


I find it much more embarrassing that the first picture posted on this list is the TSES.


I agree but, in the school’s defense, the Admiral is also embarrassed by this and is pushing both MARAD and congress hard for replacement ship with the proper safety equipment. .


The veteran ship Nordstjernen is over 60 years old and still in operation carrying passengers:

Even in Arctic waters during the summer season:

She has been protected as a national treasure, thus still have open lifeboats, now even back to their original white colour.

While still in service for Hurtigruten on the regular coastal run, with up to 400 pax she had open lifeboats (until 2012):

My own picture of one of her lifeboats, taken in Aalesund in 2010:


They could just change out those two lifeboats. The other 4 onboard are covered. If I remember correctly they are 2 pairs of lifeboats and not 4 identical, so what’s another pair?

Yes the ship needs to be replaced and yes this would be expensive, but it should certainly be done.

The other problem is that those 2 open boats hold a lot more people than the enclosed ones onboard (close to double maybe? It’s been a while.) They already don’t have enough space for everyone in a lifeboat and carry a bunch of life rafts to fulfill the requirements, so this would mean more rafts. Or get a pair of boats from a cruise ship - those things are huge!

I believe most mariners here agree that there are no safer and better way of escaping from a sinking or burning vessel. rig or platform today than freefall lifeboats.

The single freefall lifeboat is becoming more or less the standard internationally and I know there are US flag vessels with this arrangement.

But are there any US manufacturers of such lifeboats and launching/recovery arrangement?

Are there any STCW and USCG approved training facilities with freefall lifeboats within USA?

I’m told that there is no free fall libeboat training in the US and that there never will be because of liability concerns.

With all due respect there aren’t training facilities specifically attuned to freefall lifeboats for the simple reason it is not required. I recently completed refresher training covering the Proficiency in Survival Craft and Rescue Boats. My documents do not say they are good for one set of launching systems and not another. They just say I am proficient.

The subject matter was touched upon and videos were watched and all that but did we have a boat to strap ourselves in to take that ride…no. I am not yet convinced that is necessary but I am willing to maintain an open mind. As with any lifeboat it is wise to stay away from the releasing mechanism unless you intend to use it.

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We don’t even launch our boat anymore. “Simulated launching” is the way we do it now.

I would not do live free fall lifeboat training. That’s a young man’s game. It’s an unnecessary risk for anyone, much less someone my age. There is a reason why it’s not done in the US.

Similarly, I do not suit up in firefighting turnout gear either. That’s not my job, and I’m too old for that. I’ll never be fighting a fire, just figuring out how to get the crew off in case they cannot put the fire out.

So far there have not been any accidents from the extensive training carried out on a daily basis at a large number of training centers around Europe and the rest of the world, where it is a requirement. Why are the risk higher in USA??

During actual launching of lifeboats there have been several accidents only the last year. To my knowledge one of those were from accidental launching of a freefall lifeboat during servicing and caused by lack of actual training and understanding of the systems involved.

I have done only one drop and that from only 22 m. but I can say that it was a painless experience and why I’m convinced that this is the way to go.

But knowledge and training is necessary for safe operation in an emergency, here like in all other things maritime.

Is it less risky to do the lifelike fire fighting training described in another thread here??
I did a firefighting instructor course while in the Navy. It was so realistic that two persons ended up in the sickbay with burns by the end of the week. They didn’t learn quick enough.

The Dutch experience:

Looks like some Americans have gone thru freefall training:

This video gives a good idea of a training facility. Notice the considerable distance from the ship where the lifeboat comes to rest, spurred on by the kinetic energy generated by the free fall. Especially when a ship is on fire this is an important property. Compare that also with lifeboats in the water but glued to the hull of the ship by the beam wind.

If only the El Faro had been equipped with this type of lifeboat I am convinced that the crew would have had a fighting chance…

The main concern is back and neck injuries, like whiplash. There must have been some expensive injuries somewhere. The insurance companies and lawyers are afraid of it for some reason.

You are well protected by the harnass, the seat and the shock absorbing foam ‘upholstering’. In the worst case better a neck injury then an almost certain death in an antiquated contraption like an open lifeboat.

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My guess is that if the El Faro had this type of lifeboat it would have been just as fucked up as the rest of ship.