The hull design and buoyancy of the superstructure in the Waveney gives it, it’s self-righting ability.

The RNLI made a number of small changes to the original design (the Waveney is made to a U.S. Coast Guards design) to improve its self-righting capability such as raised fore and aft cabin tops.


The crew of the Hartlepool Lifeboat, (The Scout, 44-018) must have been very thankful when their Waveney successfully self-righted itself after twice capsizing while on service to the tanker Freja Svea on the 28th February 1993.

Crew member, Robert Maiden, was washed overboard during the first capsize and spent 35 minutes in the water before being picked up safely by a RAF helicopter. Otherwise the crew only suffered some minor injuries.

The lifeboat did sustain some damage mainly to its communications, though it was structurally intact and seaworthy. 

These animations may take a while to download, depending on the type of Internet connection you have.


The animation below shows my model of 44-016 self-righting, which proves that the same principle of using inherent buoyancy, even works when applied to a model.

Animated gif file size: 243 KB (10 frames)

This video shows a 72 cm model of a 44 ft U.S. Coast Guard Motor Lifeboat capsizing in heavy surf and then carrying on with its service after self-righting.

Video file size: 782 KB (65 frames)

 My thanks go to Lutz Zetzsche for allowing me to use this spectacular video of his model.

Click on image to open movie.

This movie is of the U.S. Coast Guard prototype 44ft motor lifeboat "USCG 44300" during her self-righting test at the Coast Guard Yard in Baltimore, Maryland, USA on the 28th Sept. 1961. Note that the wheelhouse construction is still to be finished.
MPEG-1 - 1,57 MB - 52 sec. - 192 X 144
Official USCG film - Thanks to BMC Mike Williams, USCG (ret)

The animations below are made from images taken at Fairey Marine Limited in Cowes, Isle of Wight. The first one shows an RNLI Waveney self-righting and the other three are of Medina class boats which went to the Iranian Coast Guard.

Animated gif file size: 554 KB (10 frames)

Animated gif file size: 374 KB (7 frames)

Animated gif file size: 759 KB (13 frames)

Animated gif file size: 990 KB (9 frames)

USCG 44331 during Breaker Drills on the Umpqua River Bar circa 1975/76

The photos below, shows U.S. Coast Guard Motor Lifeboats in heavy surf.

USCG 44406 at Depoe Bay, 25/4/91. Just before she capsized.

Photo Fred's Place
USCG 44303 during a 90 degree roll, Umpqua River circa 1967.
Photo Fred's Place
USCG 44303 upside down in the surf, Umpqua River Bar circa 1967.