20 Life Boats - No Risk


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Anna Mcpherson

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A member had a great point on another Titanic forum about 20 lifeboats meant the builders had faith in the Olympic class liners in never founding. (I do think he has a small point)
I seem to recall that the Olympic class liners had way less lifeboats aboard than any other ship at the time,is it because the Olympic class liners had to much faith stored a-pond them? and therefore only made to have 20 life boats for the purpose of rescuing other ships passengers?

all the best.
 
Dec 2, 2000
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Actually, the Olympic's had more lifeboats then was required by the regulations of the time, though I believe some of them...the collapsibles which they had so much trouble with...were more for show then out of any realistic expectation that they would be needed.

The base assumption was that a ship could act as her own lifeboat long enough for rescue ships to arrive after which, the lifeboats would be used to ferry the passengers and crew to the rescue vessels.

In principle, it's not such a bad idea as the longer you can remain with the ship, the better your chances of survival. In practice, it backfired.
 
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Anna Mcpherson

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The second lot of information of you'res,Michael,I believe so much and it make sence,but in some way or another,I have always thought the Olympic class liners life boats is only to ferry passengers before & after arrival and too save other ships passengers that were in danger. Thomas Andrew wanted more life boats from the very start so you're theory is way more right than mine is.

Thanks for responding to me.
 
Dec 2, 2000
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>>but in some way or another,I have always thought the Olympic class liners life boats is only to ferry passengers before & after arrival and too save other ships passengers that were in danger.<<

That was much the concept for every ship out there. It worked well enough for the RMS Republic but there were other ships close by and the Republic took a long time to sink. There were ships reletively close to the Titanic as well, but the problem here was that the Titanic ran out of time long before any of them could get there.
 

Dave Gittins

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Apr 11, 2001
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Anna, the number of boats carried by liners varied a good deal.

The big majority of British liners had 'boats for all' A few had even more than that.

The problem of too few boats showed up in ships that carried numerous emigrants. There were about 90 of these. They sometimes carried more than 2,000 people in hulls about 600' long. Using the technology of the time, they simply couldn't carry 'boats for all' in the length available. Though longer, Titanic had the same problem. After the sinking, 'boats for all' were only carried by unseamanlike methods, such as having two or more boats per pair of davits, a practice used until the 1960s.

Titanic had boats for 33.2% of her maximum capacity, which was among the lowest provision afloat, but not exceptional.
 

Paul Lee

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Aug 11, 2003
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Mauretania only had capacity for about 33% of its complement, from looking at contemporary newspapers. I think Lusitania would be about the same.
 
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Anna Mcpherson

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Dave; "The big majority of british liners had 'boats for all' A few had even more than that"

As I expected.The Olympic class liners had too much faith against there names,the lifeboats numbers prove that,20 lifeboats= No Risk.
 
Sep 3, 2011
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Hello,

I have a question regarding the Merchant Shipping Act of 1894, which governed life-saving appliances (among many other things) and applied to the Olympic Class.

On page 650, the regulation displays the well-known table of required lifeboats under davits by gross tonnage, which peaked at 10,000 tons and 16 lifeboats. However, on page 649, it says the following:

(12.) Water-tight Compartments. — When ships of any class are divided into efficient water-tight compartments to the satisfaction of the Board of Trade, they shall only be required to carry additional boats, rafts, and buoyant apparatus of one-half the capacity required by these rules, but the exemption shall not extend to life-jackets or similar approved articles of equal buoyancy suitable to be worn on the person.

I don't understand the statement "shall only be required to carry additional boats...of one-half the capacity required by these rules..." What does "additional" mean here - additional to what?

Many thanks,

Joseph
 
Nov 25, 2011
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Greetings, (from a long time lurker)

It's mentioned above that the infamous table displaying lifeboat regulations is on page 650 of the 1894 Merchant Shipping Act; what I would like to ask is, does anyone know of, or have access to a copy of this page that is available online, or in a readily available book?

I've searched and searched the web, together with my not insubstantial book collection for this, but so far to no avail. There are a couple of editions of the Act available on the web, but unfortunately they don't include the table in them. (I belive it's in the appendix?) If not an actual copy, than a transcribe would be great. Hope I'm not asking too much!

Thanks in advance,

Ciaran
 

Philip Hind

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Probably a library could get a copy on special order... maybe I could look in the Bodleian sometime, they have a copy of pretty much everything!
 
Nov 25, 2011
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Cheers, funny you mention the Bodleian, I don't live too far from it, must've slipped my mind. Will give it a go anyway. Main concern with a library loan, is receiving a copy that actually has the required bit in it!
 

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