Lifeboat

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Freefall lifeboat of the Spring Aeolian (freighter)

A lifeboat, also known as a liferaft, is a small, stiff or inflatable boat carried for emergencies in the event of a disaster on a ship. Lifeboats are required by law to be on larger ships.

When steamships became commonplace in the 19th century, so did lifeboats. At the beginning of the 20th century larger ships meant that more people could travel but rules about lifeboats were often overlooked. After the RMS Titanic sank on April 15, 1912, people realized that bigger ships need more lifeboats. The Titanic's lifeboats were only capable of carrying 1,178 people although the Titanic had 3,330 people.

Because many lifeboats were needed on the decks of passenger ships this led to the use of most of the deck space being used for lifeboats which created the problem of narrow passageways. This was fixed by inflatable lifeboats being used.