even though I am a man who has a great passion for maritime history…old lifeboats and davits are such an anachronism
By Rob Almeida On August 1, 2014
In 1959, Dutch lifeboat manufacturer Verhoef introduced the world’s first freefall lifeboat. Looking a bit like a submarine and made of aluminum, it was truly a game changer for merchant mariners worldwide. Over 50 years later, many other lifeboat providers have followed suit, yet Verhoef continues to hold true to their aluminum construction while others have pursued FRP-built lifeboats.
In the following video, the company shows the performance of their FL50-NS freefall lifeboat after dropping it from a height of 31.50 meters from their facility in Amsterdam.
The FL50-NS is 11.25 meters long and weighs 12,500 kgs when fully loaded.
I always wondered if the allies had freefall or floatfree fully enclosed lifeboats on merchant ships during WWII how many merchant mariners who died when their ships were torpedoed might have survived instead?