Board of Trade and Lifeboats


Apr 27, 2016
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Hi Tim,

Just now that I read the other posts of this thread (I posted my question as a new thread, but the moderation moved it to here).

Back in 2002 a member mentioned in a previous post here that before the disaster the Germans were already moving towards 100% lifeboat capacity in their ships. And that the Board of Trade would follow them. If that's correct, then my question is answered, because that's what I was suspecting.
 

Bruce Harwood

Member
Sep 2, 2008
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Vancouver Canada
Just a quick note: I don't think the intention of 'lifeboats for all' was to guarantee survival of all hands under all circumstances. Rather it was to give everyone on board at least a chance of getting away.

Something just occurred to me: when the Andrea Doria heeled over so badly, would it have done any good to release the falls of the port boats, so that they could float free as the ship sank? I know she took a long time to founder and everyone who could be rescued was, but for quite a while many thought she would go down relatively fast. Same question might apply to Titanic if she had enough boats.
 

Bob Godfrey

Member
Nov 22, 2002
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There are testimonies (eg Sam Hemming) which suggest that swimmers who had been in cold water only for a few exhausting minutes, and weighed down by waterlogged clothing, found it impossible to haul themselves aboard boats without assistance from others already inside. Hemming couldn't manage it and he was a fit professional seaman. Also of course he was trying to get into a partially loaded boat, which would have been riding lower in the water than an empty one. Those who survived on collapsibles A and B of course got onto rather than into these boats, one of which was partially submerged and the other upside down.
 
Apr 27, 2016
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Bruce Harwood,

I was thinking about the gantry davits the Britannic used. I really don't understand anything about davits, but I already read in some places that in theory this system used by the Britannic allowed lifeboats of one side to be launched from the other, in order to launch the boats even if the ship was was heeling (I guess the
winches could pick them). However I also read that the davits in the Britannic were fitted between the funnels, so the system could not be used, at least in the case of most of the davits. If that's the case, I suppose the designers decided to do so in order to conform with stability for the ship.

Just for curiosity, in how much time the Britannic could launch all of it's boats using the gantry davits?
 

Bruce Harwood

Member
Sep 2, 2008
28
1
73
Vancouver Canada
Marcelo: I'm afraid I don't have any idea about how quickly the gantry system worked on Britannic. I notice though that there were individual boats under davits between the forward and aft gantries. They would most likely have been Wellin quadrant davits very much like those on Titanic. It is worth noting that Britannic seems to have been the only ship to use the gantry system; I suspect there were reasons for that, in addition to their being really ugly. Certainly by the end of the 1920's gravity davits were in almost universal use.
 

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