Note:  Do not rely on this information. It is very old.

Life Boat

Life-Boat, any boat made with special and unusual provision for buoyancy and righting power; particularly one intended for the preservation of life from shipwrecked vessels. The construction of such a boat was first suggested by the subscribers to the News Room at the Law House, South Shields, in 1789, after the terrible loss (with all hands) of the Adventure; and, many plans having been offered, Mr. Greathead's was unanimously accepted, and a boat on that principle was completed in 1790, and during the following 21 years saved 300 lives off the mouth of the Tyne. Numerous other boats on the same system were soon built, and Mr. Greathead was deservedly rewarded by the British and several foreign Governments. All subsequent lifeboats designed to be despatched from the shore may be regarded as improvements upon his. [National Life-Boat Institution.] Ship's lifeboats are boats suited for rowing, sailing, or steaming, as the case may be, and fitted with air-chambers to conduce to buoyancy, but not externally differing to any great extent from other ship's boats.