World Record Drop for Manned Lifeboat

Published Aug 6, 2015 5:46 PM by The Maritime Executive

Norsafe set a new world record June 25, 2015, when the 70 passenger GES50 MKIII was dropped from 40 meters (131 feet) with 10 people on board. There has never before been a staffed lifeboat dropped from this height.

“The feeling of diving into the water was amazing. It was even more exciting to know that no one else has done this before”, says Michael Røssland, Vice President Norsafe Academy Rosendal.

The drop was completed successfully, and the triumphant crew emerged to an applause from the supporting crew and technical staff. “The feeling of being weightless for more than three seconds of time felt like forever, although the wait up until the actual drop felt much longer. 

The crew was also surprised of the low G-forces/impact realized during the drop, and were therefore very pleased with the successful endeavor. “We knew in advance that there were no risks associated with the dropping of the lifeboat from the 40 meter height”, said Røssland.

Norsafe also holds the world record for highest drop without passengers on board. This record is 66.8 meters (219 feet), and the drop was carried out with a Norsafe GES52, the largest free-fall lifeboat currently built by Norsafe.

Norsafe’s newly opened training and test center in Rosendal is capable of performing such unique drop tests. The new tower for free fall boats is 60 meters high and can perform drops up to 40 meters with crew on board. Accordingly, standard training drops utilizing free-fall lifeboats are arranged from 19 meters height.