Life rafts, not lifeboats and required safety equipment is posted...
Bret Gilliam - Ship Master
January 14, 2002 at 19:19:59
As general rule, I stay off of forums since the discussion can be so inflammatory as to limit any realistic practical discussion. But as a licensed ship master with over thirty years of experience commanding vessels up to 500 feet in length, I'd just like to clarify one item that seems to a hot button issue to some people regarding whether or not the Galapagos Aggressor improperly sailed without "lifeboats".
The forum participants are using the wrong term in any discussion of a vessel the size of the Aggressor in question. Put simply, this vessel is too small to come under requirements to carry lifeboats. Instead, they would most likely have been under a requirement to carry one or more emergency life rafts which are inflatable devices secured in either float-free mounts or in hydrostatically released mounts which deploy the rafts and automatically release them should the vessel sink or capsize.
While this may seem a minor point, it really isn't if future passengers on other liveabaords come to expect that they will be seeing actual lifeboats on such vessels. You should be looking for the proper safety and lifesaving equipment actually required. This can usually be found in writing on a safety inspection document posted in the wheelhouse of the vessel.