What could be done with an enclosed lifeboat?

Discussion in 'Boat Design' started by AskingAboutLifeboat, Dec 25, 2019.

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  1. cthippo
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    cthippo Senior Member

    @daniTS That is an awesome project! I'd love to see it sometime if they ever re-open the border.
     
  2. bajansailor
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    bajansailor Marine Surveyor

  3. DouglasM
    Joined: Feb 2021
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    Location: Wilmington NC

    DouglasM Junior Member

    I'm interested in seeing how things turned out for any other lifeboat converters. I just bought a 32' x 11' enclosed boat from GovPlanet. (they are a pain to deal with!). Nonetheless, picked up at Fort Bragg for $ 2700, crane and trucking another $2000 and its finally at the boatyard in Wilmington NC. First plan of action:
    1. Check motor (70hp SABB) was maintained and hopefully sound.
    2. Rip out and retrofit compressed air systems.
    3. Install flexible solar panels, inverter and batteries. ( marine gens are $$$$)
    4. Rebuild the bridge. No visibility!
    That's as far as planning goes for now. Be great to hear how others are doing. aboat.jpg
     
  4. bajansailor
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    bajansailor Marine Surveyor

    Welcome to the Forum Douglas!

    Excellent news re your new acquisition - and it sounds like you purchased her for a very reasonable price, even allowing for the cost of trucking.

    Re your Sabb engine, if the lifeboat was in service on a ship up until fairly recently, I think you will most probably find that the Sabb will be in excellent condition, and with very few hours of use recorded.
    What do the compressed air systems do? The engine seems to be a bit small to be started on compressed air?

    Re the bridge, a rather left field suggestion - would it be feasible to build a flying bridge on the roof?

    Have you got any rough ideas so far as to what you will do with the interior space?

    Edit - my apologies, I just saw that you have started a new thread re your new lifeboat.
    Lifeboat Conversion to a Houseboat during COVID https://www.boatdesign.net/threads/lifeboat-conversion-to-a-houseboat-during-covid.65166/
     
    Last edited: Feb 19, 2021
  5. DouglasM
    Joined: Feb 2021
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    DouglasM Junior Member

    Thanks for your post! I hope I can make the post helpful, and document what to do, and what mistakes I am sure to make, to avoid. To answer your questions, yes I have some ideas, but after crawling around inside her today, I am not sure I will have sized it right. My sketch may be more for a 50' vessel than a 32' one. Initial thoughts on interior:
    B1.png
    I would like a couple of feet of deck outside the main cabin for tying up, entrance/egress etc. so plan to cut back the upper shell. The idea for the bridge might look like..
    B2.png

    And yes,. compressed air does start the engine. There is also a foot actuated backup pump for compressing air to start it. I located two air tanks in the bow and the gauges. b3.png
    The hydraulic steering works fine, need to buy batteries, oil and fuel to check the engine. It it cooled through a radiator(?) in the hull, so I will need to rig up a tub of water underneath the boat. The hardpoints for suspending the boat are MASSIVE and will take some work to remove.
     
  6. bajansailor
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    bajansailor Marine Surveyor

    Thank you Douglas for posting the sketches above.
    A few random thoughts :
    Re the plan view sketch showing the proposed layout, it is too skinny - it should be about 25% wider to be in proportion to the length.
    And if the length is 32', then the bunks are much too short, and the table is probably more for cocktails than for dining on re size.
    And which end on the plan view is the bow?
    I presume that the bow is to the right (the engine hatch would not be in the bow - but usually engines on lifeboats are near midships), but if so, do you really want to have the generator and 'aux tank' (fuel tank for the generator?) in the bow?
    Is the space to the right of the living room going to be the master cabin up forward?
    In the side profile, is that a sort of flying bridge abaft the wheelhouse?
    If so, then as drawn it only has less than 4' of headroom (if I scale off the drawing, using the 32' length as a reference).

    Re the engine cooling 'radiator', are there pipes on the outside of the hull for 'keel cooling'?
    Lifeboat engines are often air cooled, like an early Volkswagen, rather than water cooled. This allows them to be started and run before launching without any danger of over heating.
     
  7. DouglasM
    Joined: Feb 2021
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    DouglasM Junior Member

    Thank you for your reply. Yes, there is a metal manifold on the keel and the engine coolant is plumbed through. Engine is 4 ft or so forward of the stern. In looking at a few other examples of lifeboats, they ride high in the water and one in particular had the bow noticeably higher in the water. I am concerned with getting the weight balance right so, tanks etc. towards the bow. I am assuming Weight A is unloaded and B is with 69 people on board? 184 pounds a head? Probably not far off for us fat Americans! 6 tons of capacity, and more once I start clearing it out.
    As to the sketch: time to get out the tape measure and get accurate measurements before planning any installs. boat5.png
     
  8. bajansailor
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    bajansailor Marine Surveyor

    I think it would be better to try to keep your tanks at or near midships if possible.
    She probably trims fairly level in her current 'light' condition (?), and then when the full complement of passengers are uniformly distributed on their seats, she should be sitting on her loaded water line.
    The average weight used for a passenger is usually around 80 - 85 kg per person, or 184 lbs in your case, as your boat was built in North America, and all the dimensions are imperial.
    You have 6 tons of capacity to play with, but be careful - it is very easy to add weight to a boat, and more difficult to remove it (same as with people, hence why the 'average' weight has crept up to 184 lbs :) )
    When you are planning your layout, you could perhaps use a spreadsheet to keep track of the estimated weights of items going into the boat.

    The parent company in Norway is now Schatt Harding - they were bought out a few years ago by Palfinger (who are well known for HIAB type cranes).
    Welcome at PALFINGER! https://www.palfinger.ag/en
     
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  9. tlouth7
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    tlouth7 Senior Member

    I would check out how people lay out widebeam (10 - 12') narrowboats for inspiration. As an example:

    [​IMG]

    The other thing in common with narrowboats is the tiny amount of space for steering at the stern. In your place I would consider extending the hatch downwards through where the release mechanism is so you can steer standing in the open hatch looking over the top of the bridge (bonus put a little stool in). The ladder and flying bridge shown in the image in post #35 look totally not to scale.
     
  10. gonzo
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    gonzo Senior Member

    The drawing has squares about 2.5 feet scale. The bunks are less than 5 feet long, Also, the layout does not take into consideration that the hull gets narrower than the deck and there is less headroom on the sides than the middle. The layout has to be 3D to fit into the hull.
     
  11. DouglasM
    Joined: Feb 2021
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    DouglasM Junior Member

    Thanks so much for the input. I am struggling with AutoCAD as I write this to get the design computerized before I start building walls etc. b1.png
    The lifeboat came from a Navy ship, so there is a bit more going on. There is a fire suppression system surrounding the entire boat. What looks like handrails are actually sprinkler lines.
    b2.png
    There is also a very large water tank built into the ceiling. The water is forced out by 5 large compressed air cylinders that are in the bow.

    IMG_0505.JPG
    This means the headroom is lower than normal. You can see the tank in the ceiling below.
    TSYX4451.JPG
    The center row was removed, as were the 5 large air cylinders. I think there is an air compressor attached to the engine, but not sure. This bit is attached to the sprinkler valve.
    b3.png
    I removed the air tanks and the center row of seats.
    IMG_0510.JPG
    There is a light deck above the hull for bilge water.
    So now I have a couple of questions.
    - The bilge run the length of the boat. I am assuming it its there for a reason. My plan is to cut removable marine grade plywood and fit them in over the hull leaving room for the bilge water before. The plywood should be wrapped in a couple layers of fiberglass I would think. Other option is to leave the existing floor and put the panels over it and lose an inch.
    -Second question: The benches built in on the sides of the boat are all non-structural, but they are filled with foam.
    They take up ALOT of space,
    So I have an idea, but I am not sure it's a good decision. I would like a flat roof on top for lounging. An easy way to do it would be to leave the bottom of the tank in place and cut off the exterior roof. Then relocate the foam benches to the roof and glass them in place on either side of the sun deck.
     
  12. DouglasM
    Joined: Feb 2021
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    DouglasM Junior Member



    Thank you!,
    Great ideas for how to configure the layout.
    All the best,
    Doug
     
  13. bajansailor
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    bajansailor Marine Surveyor

    I think that you might be hard pressed to come up with a better arrangement than what the owners of Stødig have created - and they are architects.
    Certainly they do seem to have a lot of very neat ideas incorporated into their boat.

    If I understand you correctly here, are you planning on fitting fibreglass covered plywood boards for a new cabin sole, resting on the yellow longitudinals shown in your third photo in post #41?
    Re the existing floor, is it not strong enough to walk on, re your reason for putting panels over it?
     
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  14. DouglasM
    Joined: Feb 2021
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    Location: Wilmington NC

    DouglasM Junior Member

    Agreed,
    Weight distribution is key, the Stoedig went out with a good amount of sand ballast to keep her level.
    The floor will be removed since it is formed to the center bench and to the air cylinders. 3/4 marine ply on 16" centers.
     
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