44ft Motor Lifeboats


The monument to the Quillayute River Disaster

As a small tribute, this website is dedicated to the crew of the 44363 who lost their lives in the Quillayute River Disaster and to all the other lifeboat men and women who risk their lives every day to save others.


This website is about the remarkable 44' Motor Lifeboats.

A boat in which her crew always had the confidence that she would bring them safely back to port.

The 44' MLB was designed by the U.S. Coast Guard, with work starting on the prototype (USCG 44300) in April 1961, which was completed on the 9 March 1962. A total of 110, 44' MLB's were built for the U.S. Coast Guard, with the last boat (USCG 44409) being completed in 1972.

The last 44 to serve in the US Coast Guard, was the 44301 which was retained at Station Chatham in Massachusetts due to the special bar conditions there. She was eventually replaced by the 42001 and 42002 Special Purpose Near Shore Lifeboats which were especially designed for the station. The 44301 was decommissioned on the 8th May 2009 after 46 years hard work. She later returned to Chatham and is now displayed there overlooking the treacherous bar which she together with her crew navigated safely on so many occasions.
There was a great interest shown in the 44' MLB at the Ninth International Lifeboat Conference in Scotland in 1963, which eventually resulted in several countries adopting the design with some modifications for their own life saving organisations.

The RNLI in Britain acquired the USCG 44328 in 1964 and built a further 21, naming the class "Waveney" after the river on which the first boats were built. The Canadian Coast Guard acquired the USCG 44353 and built a further 17. The Italian Coast Guard purchased the USCG 44337 and the USCG 44338 while the Norwegian Society for Sea Rescue and the Portuguese Institute for Lifesaving both built two boats each. A further ten boats were built under licence in England for Iranian Coast Guard, bringing the total in all to 162.
As a measure of the success of the design of this boat, over half of the decommissioned US Coast Guard 44 MLB's were transferred to foreign maritime services, under the Foreign Military Sales (FMS) program. More than half of the RNLI's Waveney's started a new era of lifesaving in Australia, New Zealand, Uruguay and Canada but in later years these were sold on to private and commercial owners.

Below is a photo taken at Marina Del Rey, Los Angeles in 2018 of the last built 44's in the U.S.A. and Britain. They are the 44409 (left) then owned by the Los Angeles County Sheriff's Dept. and the 44-022 (right) in private ownership and used for coastal cruising.


If you have not been lucky enough to have experienced this boat or doubt the qualities of it, why not have a look at my guestbook and see what some of the crewmembers have to say.


It is my aim to accumulate as much information as possible, for inclusion on this site. I am particularly interested in finding out where each boat was stationed and during which years and where they are now. If you can help with this or with any of the missing photos, please drop me a line. (e-mail)


Photos by (top) Capt. U.S. Coast Guard (second from top) John Mercer (second from bottom) Capt. Tony Toxopeus (bottom) Kris Carpenter.


Throughout the U.S. Coast Guard, Master Chief Thomas McAdams (Ret.) is probably one of the most renowned lifeboat men in modern times and his list of achievements are second to none. He has taken lifeboats to and way beyond there limits, so I thought who better to ask for an insight into the 44’s!!!

I am honoured that he kindly agreed to help.

20th November 2007

"I was first introduced to the 44 MLB in the Spring of 1966 when I took over as CO of Umpqua River Station. I ran there till 1977.

The old standby 36 MLB was a great boat, but slow and you were without much protection and always wet.

The 44 MLB was one of the two outstanding MLB's in the world. Great manoeuvring in all types of sea's. Good protection for on coming weather and waves and could roll over in 7 to 15 seconds. I once pitch polled, then rolled and that took approximately 40 seconds. The 44 MLB was the state of the art in Life Boats.

Only the steel 52 foot MLB could surpass her. The 44 MLB was quick to respond to moderate to heavy sea's and could roll gunnel to gunnel in one second."

Master Chief Thomas McAdams

Photo by U.S. Coast Guard
For an insight into the design and development of the 44, I am grateful that my friend Capt. Robert W. Witter USCG (Ret.) also agreed to write a few words for us.

6th April 2014

"My personal involvement, leading the prototype design/development began in early 1961, continuing at-sea crew evaluations along East Coast with designated top lifeboat CPO coxswains from Chatham (Bernie Webber) and Yaquina Bay (Giles Vanderhoof) stations.

Following significant helm station design and hull configurations, in June 1962, 44300 underwent coastal evaluations along the East Coast from Chesapeake Bay to Cape Hatteras enroute to CG Station Chatham on Cape Cod. in November 1962, 44300 was transported to the West Coast for heavy surf evaluations at Yaquina Bay, Oregon. Successful trials enabled a decision to commence a production program at the Coast Guard Yard in Baltimore, MD.

It was my privilege in June 1963 to make a presentation at the RNLI-hosted International Lifeboat Conference in Edinburgh. Following the RNLI´s interest they acquired the boat designated 44-001."

Capt. Robert W. Witter

Photo by Capt. Robert W. Witter



If you have some news about a 44 and you would like to write an article for us for THE 44 NEWS, just drop me a line.

Read the latest edition

Updated 18/06/07


You will be credited for your photos etc., plus you will have the knowledge that they will be gratefully received and will be enjoyed by many.
Any good photos of 44's and
Photos of any 44's under construction
Iranian Coast Guard/Imperial Iranian Navy
Built by Fairey Marine Limited at Cowes in England
1603 1604 1605
1606 1609 1610

The Engine Room
(photos of engines)
Canadian Coast Guard - Isuzu
Iranian Coast Guard - Ford Sabre
Portuguese Institute for Lifesaving - Ford Mermaid

Ex 44ft Lifeboats

U.S. Coast Guard
USCG 44349
Now owned by The State of Maryland
At Maryland (artificial reef) Renamed "O.C. M.S.S.A. Wreck" or "Harrison Group Wreck"

Canadian Coast Guard
Now owned by ?
At Port Hawkesbury, Nova Scotia

Portuguese Institute for Lifesaving
UAM 673
Thank you for your help
Clive Lawford
Photos by U.S. Coast Guard
Copyright 1999-2023 by Clive Lawford (e-mail). All Rights Reserved.
You are very welcome to link to this site, though any form of duplication requires written consent from me unless otherwise stated.