The free-fall lifeboat was developed to reduce the risk of injury during evacuation in a maritime emergency. It is a generally accepted concept for lifesaving appliances that currently is in use on many ships and offshore platforms. Three concerns during launch of these lifeboats are the attitude of the boat at water entry, the headway immediately after water entry, and the acceleration forces to which the occupants are subjected. Limited quantitative data is available about the behavior of the boats during launch and, in particular, on the effects of mass distribution on the launch behavior of free-fall lifeboats. The purpose of this paper is to discuss quantitatively the launch behavior of free-fall lifeboats, with particular emphasis on the effects of changes in the location of the CG.

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