What Are the Lifeboats Called on a Cruise Ship?

By Alice Nichols

Lifeboats, also referred to as life rafts or life preservers, are an essential safety feature on cruise ships. Cruise ships typically carry several lifeboats for evacuation in case of emergency.

The lifeboats are typically located on the top decks of the ship and can be lowered into the water in a matter of minutes. The name for these lifeboats varies by cruise line and type of vessel, but they all function similarly and provide a safe, secure way to evacuate passengers in case of an emergency.

On most cruise ships, the primary type of lifeboat is called a “lifeboat” or “life raft”. These vessels are usually inflatable and designed to carry 40-50 passengers.

They are equipped with oars, flares, food rations, and other emergency supplies. Lifeboats also feature inflatable buoyancy chambers which enable them to remain afloat even if they become partially submerged.

In addition to the standard lifeboat, many larger vessels may have additional evacuation vessels such as rescue boats or survival craft. Rescue boats are typically motorized vessels capable of carrying up to 30 passengers at once and can reach shore quickly in order to help evacuate passengers from the ship. Survival craft are smaller than rescue boats but still capable of evacuating up to 50 people in an emergency situation.

Modern cruise ships also often feature a range of advanced safety features such as automated man-overboard systems and satellite tracking devices that alert authorities when the ship is in distress. Other safety features include fire suppression systems and emergency lighting for dark hallways.


Cruise ships must always be equipped with sufficient lifesaving equipment such as lifeboats or rescue boats for evacuation during an emergency situation. While the names may vary by vessel type and cruise line, they all serve the same purpose – providing a safe way for passengers to evacuate the ship if needed.