The query re. "little oars" has got my little brain working again. I tend to use small bore alloy and flatten the ends into blades..not forgetting a short piece of wire in the inboard end as a handgrip for the rowers pulling arm. I may have mentioned rowlocks before, but it might bear repeating.I generally build at 1:48, but have experimented with the following method at 1:96 and it works.
5 amp fuse wire twisted into a "T" shape, the top of the "T" being bent into a suitable "U" shape. Seal the whole thing up with superglue and when dry trim off the top of the "U" leaving the tail of the "T" intact for now. Paint it (steel, black or white). The paint disguises the wire twists. Remember that the rowlocks go into a metal plate on top of the gunwale at a convenient distance beyond the oarsman!
But it was'nt just the oars that got me thinking. If you are going to build open lifeboats there is a lot of other stuff to go in there.
As "Bunkerbarge" correctly says, everything has its place...particularly in the days when seafarers realised the importance of this discipline. This next is what boats had to be equipped with ...most of it still applies today:-
1. A full single banked complement of oars, 2 spare oars, a steering oar, a rudder and a tiller arm, a boat hook and one and a half sets of crutches (rowlocks).
2.Two plugs for each plughole, a baler (looks like a round bottomed saucepan) and 2 buckets.
3. A line becketed round the outside of the boat. Bilge keels with grab lines from gunwale to gunwale under the keel.
4. A mast with galvanised wire stays and orange coloured sails ( although the "orange" was more usually a russet colour).
5. An efficient compass with means of illumination.
6. A sea-anchor, 2 painters.(one secured forward with a strop and toggle and the other firmly secured to the stem of the boat. (There is a good reason for this that I can explain if required). 2 heaving lines, 2 hatchets and one gallon of oil in a container that can be attached to the sea anchor.
7. Six red hand flares, 2 red parachute flares, 2 smoke floats (orange smoke).
8. An oil lamp with enough oil to burn for 12 hours, 2 boxes of matches, an electric torch with spare batteries and bulbs and a heliograph.
9. A jack-knife with built-in tin opener. A hand pump and a dipper. (a small tin cup on a bit of cord).
10. A waterproof 1st aid kit.
All items not stowed in lockers are to be secured within the boat except for the boat hook. (Never quite worked out why that should be!). There is also the question of water and "rations". Makes one wonder how there is any space for people! I seem to recall that each person is allocated 2 sq.ft. of "bum room". BY.