52ft Motor Lifeboats

Photos by U.S. Coast Guard

Many like I, feel it would not be right without a mention of the boat that has served so gallantly alongside the 44. I of course refer to the four 52ft Motor Lifeboats built between 1956 and 1963. Many feel that these are the most successful lifeboats ever built.

Two other 52ft Motor Lifeboats, the 52300 “Invincible” and the 52301 “Triumph”, also known as Type F, preceded these four lifeboats. They had bronze alloy superstructures and wooden hulls. They were the first Coast Guard lifeboats to be fitted with diesel engines and there single Buda engine gave them a cruising speed of 10.5 knots. Unlike the later four 52’s they were not self-righting.

Invincible - USCG 52300

Triumph - USCG 52301

The “Triumph” was tragically lost with five of her six crew, on the night of the 12 January 1961. They were assisting a 38ft crab boat the “Mermaid”, which had got into difficulties of Peacock Spit at the entrance of the Columbia River. Sadly the “Mermaid” was also lost with her crew of two. Conditions were so atrocious that two other Coast Guard boats were also lost but luckily without any further loss of life.

The second-generation 52’s have proven there worth and all four are still in service after fifty years (2006). They are steel hulled and the inherent buoyancy in there aluminum superstructure allows them to self-right. With twin diesel engines they have a top speed of 11 knots.

Unlike the 44’s, the 52’s have names as well as identification numbers.

Technical Details

14' 7"
6' 11"


75,715 pounds
$235,927 - $259,163
Max 11 knots
Max speed: 495 miles
Cruising speed: 640 miles
First Built
5 (1974)
2 x 150 HP General Motors 6-71 diesels
Steel hull, aluminum superstructure
Victory - USCG 52312
Built: 1956 at USCG Yard, Curtis Bay, USA
Yaquina Bay, Oregon 1956-Present

Invincible - USCG 52313 TOP
Built: 1960 at USCG Yard, Curtis Bay, USA
Coast Guard Base Seattle Sept 1960-Nov 1960
Grays Harbor, Westport, Washington Nov 1960-Present

Triumph - USCG 52314 TOP
Built: 1961 at USCG Yard, Curtis Bay, USA
Cape Disappointment, Washington 1961-Present

Intrepid - USCG 52315 TOP
Built: 1963 at USCG Yard, Curtis Bay, USA
Coos Bay, Oregon 1963-Present

Copyright 1999-2006 by Clive Lawford. All Rights Reserved.
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