2012 Dec 06

Just a 200ft drop in the ocean! Oil rig lifeboat that's not for the faint-hearted

This is the amazing moment a lifeboat was launched from a staggering 201ft (61.53 metres) into the water, breaking the world record for the highest free-falling drop.

The new model has been created for oil rigs and off shore buildings so that workers can climb aboard and be dropped to safety in the event of an emergency.

The GES50 MK III was designed to fall from 154ft, but during the test drop it was hurled from the top of a crane, giving it a much greater height to ensure it was safe.

Free-fall: A Norwegian boat builder has smashed the world record for the longest drop a marine escape capsule can safely withstand. The GES50 fell a vertigo-inducing 201ft (61.53 metres)

The successful test means the lifeboat has now passed safety regulations and it will soon be used worldwide.

The 50ft (15 metre) long boat has a separate compartment for the engine that is sealed and waterproof to prevent any damage.

It has been designed to always land upright, is fully equipped with seatbelts, and has enough capacity to hold 70 people who can climb on-board in just one and a half minutes.

VIDEO: Free fall lifeboat dropped 200ft into the ocean


For the test sandbags weighing 220 lbs were strapped to each seat and the boat was filled with instruments to measure factors such as G-force levels.

The lifeboats are set to be used worldwide, with companies in Australia, the UK and Norway already placing orders.

Splashdown: The vessel hit a top speed of 70mph (110kmh) during the fall

Rise: The water must be at least 20 metres deep to allow the craft to bob up again

The drop took place in Arendal in Norway and designers behind lifeboat production company Norsafe said they were delighted it was a success.

A spokesman from the Norwegian company said: 'This is Norsafe's first model in a series of three newly developed free-fall lifeboats.

'It was launched from several heights including the world's highest free-fall lifeboat drop, 61.53 metres (201 ft).

'The extreme test was carried out to get the boat certified according to regulations.

'To get the boat certified to fall at 47 metres (154 ft) we have to test it from a height of 30 per cent more, which was a world record.

'The test was also to confirm that the GES50 MKIII is the world's most advanced, robust and safe lifeboat.

'During such testing we are not allowed to have people on board but 100 kg (220 lbs) sandbags were strapped to every seat.

'It was also filled with test instruments that measured G-forces and strain values for passengers.

'The lifeboats will be used worldwide, mainly on offshore floating or fixed constructions, and can hold 68 passengers and two helmsmen.'

With the increasing use of massive container ships and drilling platforms escaping from dangerous maritime situations has become more and more challenging, but Norsafe's escape pod can survive any situation as long as the water is over 20 metres deep to allow the craft to bob up again.

The previous record for the highest freefalling lifeboat was held by Schat Harding, which dropped its FF1200 lifeboat from 197ft (60 metres).

Although it was tested from 201ft (61.53 metres), it will normaly be used a t heights of around 154ft (47 metres)


  • The lifeboat holds 68 passengers and two helmsmen.
  • Once in the water it can travel at 9-10 knots, or 5-6mph, to safety.
  • It has a separate compartment for the engine that is sealed and waterproof to prevent any damage during the fall.
  • During the test fall it hit a top speed of 70mph (110kmh)
  • To work safely it needs at least 20 metres of water to fall into

read more

Do you like this article? Yes No

Ratings: 19 Yes 0 No

Other News by Category