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Inside a Cruise Ship Lifeboat (Crew Tour) – Emergency Food, Engine, Seating Plan and More

If you’ve ever wondered what it would be like in a cruise ship lifeboat during an emergency, you’re in luck. In this article, we will look at the seating plan, the emergency food, engines, emergency tools, water rations and more.

This tour was shared by crew member Lucy from the CruisingAsCrew YouTube channel. This tour was filmed onboard Virgin Voyages Valiant Lady.

Each Guest Doesn’t Have a Lot of Room

Lifeboats are of course designed for emergencies and not for comfort, as a result, each guest doesn’t get a lot of space. The lifeboat shown in this tour holds over 300 passengers.

Valiant Lady has a maximum capacity of 2770 guests and 1160 crew members.

In the tour Lucy shows us how guests would be sat in three layers with other guests right in front of them, you would be between the person in fronts legs.

The top layer would sit like this:

The second would be between their legs like this:

The third layer would be at the bottom between these peoples legs:

The below chart shows how the lifeboat would look at full capacity.

There are 14 crew members onboard each lifeboat seated between the passengers.

How Much Water is Onboard Cruise Ship Lifeboats?

Water is stored on the lifeboat in 500ml packets and there are 6 onboard per guest meaning that each passenger has 3 litres of water onboard.

Each packet is meant to last a passenger one day meaning that the lifeboat would have enough water onboard to last for a week.

There are multiple water storage boxes on the lifeboat and the guests would have to all move around (as much as possible) so that the crew could access the water.

There are no toilets onboard but there are some plastic bedpan-style tubs that would be used with the waste being thrown overboard.

How Much Food is Onboard a Lifeboat?

Every guest on a lifeboat is assigned one week’s worth of food in the form of high-calorie biscuits. There are 9 biscuits in the box and 271 calories per biscuit.

You definitely would be hungry on that diet but it’s enough to keep you alive.

What Life-Saving Equipment is in a Lifeboat?

Inside a cruise ship lifeboat you will find:

  • Fishing tackle
  • Torches/flashlights and batteries
  • Signals for rescue: Smoke floats, rockets, and hand flares are all onboard to signal for help

The smoke float seen above is released and it’ll create a large amount of orange smoke, the idea being that it may be seen by a passing ship or aircraft.

The hand flares burn for around a minute.

  • A can opener
  • A sea anchor (used to slow a lifeboat down or stay in a certain position)
  • Axes
  • Rope
  • Thermal protective blankets, in case anybody gets wet/cold (every ship has to have these for 10% of the lifeboats capacity)

Lifeboats also have seasickness bags and seasickness tablets onboard. Guests will be given a seasickness pill as they enter the lifeboat for the first time unless there is a medical reason why they can’t have one.

  • Multiple first aid kits
  • Rope ladder
  • Screw and spare parts

Where Do You Drive a Lifeboat From?

The driver’s seat on a lifeboat is up high and does require climbing up a lot of the seats. On some lifeboats, the driver’s seat area will stick up and out slightly.

The lifeboats have two engines, port and starboard.

They have communication tools for speaking to other ships and an internal PA system for making announcements.

Next to the steering wheel are the fuel gauges and release hook which is a safety device that is used so the lifeboat can detatch itself from the ship.

The lifeboat also has ventilation and window wipers.

Fire Extinguishers Are Fitted Directly Into The Engines

Realistically the only thing that would catch on fire in a lifeboat is the engines so the fire extinguishers are fitted here.

This means that it would be able to extinguish a fire without fogging up the entire lifeboat with all the guests on it.

The fire extinguishers are in the white box in the image below.

The lifeboat has four batteries onboard that power everything, including lights so that the lifeboat isn’t pitch black in the middle of the night.

The Cruise Ship May Tilt

By law, the cruise ship has to be able to launch its lifeboats even if the ship is leaning 20 degrees in either direction.

There are markers by the ship which shows how far the ship is leaning, if at all.

In 2012 a ship called the Costa Concordia hit a rock formation on the sea floor when the captain decided to go off route, initially the ship listed at 20 degrees before eventually dropping to 70.

33 people died in the disaster and Francesco Schettino was convicted on Manslaugher. He is still in prison and you can read more about that here: What Happened to The Captain of The Costa Concordia? – Conviction and Sentence

Check out Lucy’s full video here:

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