Captain Smith And 68 Life Boats

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Alyson Jones

Guest
We all know that Captain Smith Died cause there was not enough lifeboats for all.

If there were 68 life boats, would Captain Smith be saved? No.I think not.
There would of been to much for him to deal with. He Smith, would have had to go through the American court case and the British court case and the Embrassment of sinking his brand new flag ship on her maidan voyage with all of his 25 years experience which he had, not to mention that he would be the main man with every sets of eyes on him.I think he had no intentions of saving him self, even if there were enough life boats for all.
 
Dec 2, 2000
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>>If there were 68 life boats, would Captain Smith be saved? <<

I don't think that 68 lifeboats would have made the difference a lot of people would like to think they would. Let's not forget that in the time they had, they were only able to launch 18 of the 20 that they did have. All the boats in the world don't make a bit of difference when time is not on your side.
 
Dec 5, 2008
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Hi Michael,

I do agree that there would have been no where near enough time to launch all the of the lifeboats and save everyone, however, I do believe that had there been sufficient and the officers could just load freely, then more boats would have been launched, and more saved. Setting up the boats didn't take very long at all - according to several officer's testimonies, the hardest (and longest) part was finding woman to fill them. If they could have just said "right, everyone on", then I do believe more could have been saved.

Granted, no where near all, but a good deal more.
 
Dec 2, 2000
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True, it's possible that more could have been saved had there been more boats. The problem here is that they would have needed extra trained hands to crew them and to get them away. Take a look at Titanic's Deck Department. They only had 66 people and not all of them were seamen.

This wouldn't matter much if the rest of the crew was cross trained in this area of seamanship. Unfortunately, they weren't.
 
Dec 5, 2008
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Very, very true. I never thought of that, unfortunately.

On the other hand, that problem could have been solved had they a) had more able bodies seamen on board (unlikely) or b) had kept the experienced seamen where they needed them on deck, and sent down other able bodied men on the lifeboats like they did later on. Perhaps send one down on each to keep order and take charge, but ultimately, the majority of the boats were in the water all night drifting. There was little need to have them off the ship pulling oars instead of on board working the equipment that only they were qualified to do.
 
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Alyson Jones

Guest
>>Let's not forget that in the time they had<<

Sorry Michael. I forgot to mention the time limit in my post.I meant to put in my post (more time- 5 hrs)I still don't think Smith would of save himself.



>>If they could have just said "right, everyone on", then I do believe more could have been saved.

Granted, no where near all, but a good deal more.<<

I think you may have some thing here Kat. The officer's did piss fart around with loading the life boats, when it came to the men. If men were equal there would of been alot more saved.
 

Tad G. Fitch

Member
Dec 31, 2005
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Hello guys, how are you? Alyson, the matter of whether Captain Smith may have tried to save himself under different circumstances is an interesting question to ponder.

We'll never know for certain, but there is some indication in the eyewitness accounts that after jumping overboard from the bridge, he may have indeed reached or briefly climbed aboard one of the collapsibles before dying. Whether he ever had any intention of saving himself is the real question (he may have briefly attempted to save himself or climb aboard based on pure instinct once plunged into 28 degree water), but based on the evidence, I don't believe he went down with the ship as the myth goes. I go into this in much more detail in my recent article for THS.

Kat wrote:
"Setting up the boats didn't take very long at all - according to several officer's testimonies, the hardest (and longest) part was finding woman to fill them."

Kat, I would tend to disagree with you on this point. Second Officer Lightoller stated in the inquiries that it took approximately 15-20 minutes to uncover a lifeboat and coil the falls down, and another 6-7 minutes to swing it out and lower it level with the deck for a total of 21-27 minutes of prep time before passengers could even begin to be placed into a lifeboat. Fifth Officer Lowe estimated 20 minutes. It was no easy matter in that regard, particularly with the low number of trained sailors that were available, and became increasingly scarce as the night proceeded.

Even with enough boats for all, the time it took to prep and ready the boats for loading was just not there even if there were more boats. There wasn't enough time to launch the lifeboats that they did have, and not enough trained seamen to launch and man the ones they did have.

Even if the loading of the lifeboats did not discriminate based on sex, it would not have mattered, but this concept is somewhat unrealistic. First Officer Murdoch took women and children first, then men if there were no women. However, he still took women first, as would of every other officer of his day. Even on modern cruise liners, lifeboat drills require men to stand back and women and children to board first, even with adequate room for all. That would have been the case in 1912 as much as today, no matter if there was room for all or not.

As I have said before, the best result they could have hoped for even with lifeboats for all would be for them to cut a few more boats loose for people to scramble aboard as the ship sank, ala Collapsible A and B. The time constraints, low number of crewmembers qualified to load and lower lifeboats and man them, and the reality of how long it took to prep the boats would have precluded a significantly larger number being saved.

All my best,
Tad
 
Dec 2, 2000
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>>On the other hand, that problem could have been solved had they a) had more able bodies seamen on board (unlikely)<<

Unlikely because they didn't have them.

>>b) had kept the experienced seamen where they needed them on deck, and sent down other able bodied men on the lifeboats like they did later on.<<

Which as you pointed out was done but it was mighty risky. The plain fact of the matter is that you need trained hands to work the boats properly. That they didn't have them caused problems throughout the night. As to the time they spent drifting about, what else could they do?

Regarding the time it took to get the boats away, my own opinion is very much a reflection of Tad's. I've worked Welin style davits and it's a very labour and time intensive exercise.
 
Dec 5, 2008
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Hello, Tad, Michael.

I'm very well, thank you!
happy.gif
And you?

Anyways...

>>"Unlikely because they didn't have them."<<

I was referring to more seamen on board the actual Titanic. More would have certainly eased the 'bug-out' procedure, but having them on board was unlikely as there was no real use for many more on a steamship.

>>"The plain fact of the matter is that you need trained hands to work the boats properly. That they didn't have them caused problems throughout the night."<<

Really? I can without a doubt see that with the actual preparation and lowering, but inside the actual lifeboats, from what I've seen of the testimony, a great deal of the time it was even women helping to do the majority of the work inside the boats (Margaret Brown's taking the oars; the Countess of Rothes on the tiller), and they certainly didn't have any training. It seemed a great deal of the crew loaded into the lifeboats didn't have any experience (cooks, stewards, engineers), and no lifeboats sunk. (Although I do concede there were some problems - a leaky lifeboat amongst them.)

>>"As to the time they spent drifting about, what else could they do?"<<

I never said there was anything they could do, or that there was anything wrong with what they did. I simply meant that it didn't require 30 years experience at sea to do it.

>>"As I have said before, the best result they could have hoped for even with lifeboats for all would be for them to cut a few more boats loose for people to scramble aboard as the ship sank, ala Collapsible A and B. The time constraints, low number of crewmembers qualified to load and lower lifeboats and man them, and the reality of how long it took to prep the boats would have precluded a significantly larger number being saved."<<

>>"Regarding the time it took to get the boats away, my own opinion is very much a reflection of Tad's. I've worked Welin style davits and it's a very labour and time intensive exercise."<<

My apologies; I was obviously functioning under false information. I do remember specifically a mention somewhere on this site of only about 10 minutes, but obviously I was wrong or confusing it with something else, so thank you for that correction.

All the best!
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Alyson Jones

Guest
Hi Tad. I'm good but i could be better.

>> Even on modern cruise liners, lifeboat drills require men to stand back and women and children to board first<<

In todays world on ships,every passenger during a life boat drill is located to there own life boat. When a mishap happens each passenger locates there life boat and gets directed in to the life boat,does not matter -Age Sex Race and Gender. The officer's won't have time to wait for all the women to enter there boats.

Have you heard this before. Am i correct for once or half correct?
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I was on a cruise ship across the ocean a few years ago (England to Canada) and we were all given drills on where to go, had a practice run, and they said in case of an emergency to please allow people with young children and difficulties to board first, and the rest follow. It's not a matter of lives being more important, it's simply to ease the filling process. It's more difficult for some to move around then others.
 
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Alyson Jones

Guest
Sounds like i'm half right. Kat,Did you immigrate to Canada from England?
You must of past the Titanic wreck site? Did you're ship stop and honour Titanic Victims?
It must of been a memeribal for you?
 
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I'm Canadian; my fathers English. We moved to England when I was 7 and back when I was 13.

Yes, we went right over the last known co-ordinates of the Titanic, and not only did they not stop to honour them, they decided to make hideously disrespectful jokes about it. I was furious and disgusted.

An example of their sense of humour; for that day when we were passing buy, at about the same time, they decided one of the options available for lunch was Titanic Salad with Ice Burg lettuce.

How horrid can people get?
 
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Alyson Jones

Guest
>>Yes, we went right over the last known co-ordinates of the Titanic, and not only did they not stop to honour them, they decided to make hideously disrespectful jokes about it. I was furious and disgusted.

.>>An example of their sense of humour; for that day when we were passing buy, at about the same time, they decided one of the options available for lunch was Titanic Salad with Ice Burg lettuce.

How horrid can people get?<<

That is a low blow to give, very rude. I would of been so tempted to chuck those people over board!
I would of thought that the crew would of had reeves for passengers to throw in to the sea to show respect. I'M pretty peed of my self and i was not even there,i would of felt ashamed to be standing near those horrible people.
Hope it was memeribal for you that day.
 

Tad G. Fitch

Member
Dec 31, 2005
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Hello again everybody,

Kat, I hope you're doing well. As far as your point that in many cases stewards or other crewmembers and women or other men ended up rowing, you are correct, this did happen in many cases. I can't speak for Michael, but the point I was making was that there simply were not enough trained seamen to lower the boats. Lightoller said it was nearly impossible to lower a lifeboat without a trained sailor manning the forward set of falls, and a trained sailor to manage the aft set of falls. In one instance, a crewmember he had ordered into a lifeboat jumped back out at the last second, because there was only one set of davits manned, and a call asking whether there were any other sailors on the scene went unanswered.

The other problem is that even if there were more boats, they would have been launched from the same davits as previous boats, similar to the setup of the collapsibles. This requires the falls to be cranked back in, the falls to be overhauled, plus all of the other prep work that goes into a launch. There just wouldn't have been enough crewmembers and time to do this.

Alyson, you are correct in your assumption that passengers are assigned lifeboats on modern ships. Something else that helps greatly is that there are assigned and clearly marked muster stations which are assigned areas where passengers are instructed to assemble in the case of an emergency. When the Titanic sank, there seemed to be a good deal of confusion, even amongst the crew, as to where to assemble the passengers. However, on modern ships I have been on, they still have the assembled passengers line up women and children first even with room for all, although as previously said, this may be more for practical purposes than anything else.

Take care,
Tad
 
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Alyson Jones

Guest
Hey Tad.Yeah. I'm half right in my answer. Normaly i'm wrong.
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May 3, 2005
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>>They only had 66 people and not all of them were seamen.<<

Just my take on this thread.: If you had 68 lifeboats, you would have to have 68 trained lifeboat crews assigned to each lifeboat to have used them effectively ? This didn't seem to be the case even with 20 lifeboats ? (Question marks intentional on the above.)
 
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Alyson Jones

Guest
The original plan was for 68 life boats ,i was going by that. If they did allow 68 life boats there would of been alot more sea men to acomindate these life boats.Plus 5 hrs before sinking instead of having 2 hrs and half

My question was *A What If* about captain Smith willing to survive if he had the chance too.
 
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Just a note of trivia:

Lifeboats on RMS Queen Mary (1936):
20 Motor Lifeboats-145 Persons Each=
2900 Persons
2 Motor Lifeboats with wireless-136 Persons Each=
272 Persons
2 Motor Lifeboats (Accident Boats)- 47 Persons Each=
94 Persons
Grand Total = 3,266 Persons

Each lifeboat was powered by an 18 BHP diesel engine giving "a speed of 6 knots in smooth waters."

-Pages 56-57; "Ocean Liners of the Past"; Bonanza Books, 1979.
 
May 3, 2005
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>>My question was *A What If* about captain Smith willing to survive if he had the chance too.<<

Just another supposition on the "All I know is what I read in the newspapers....":

Some say that Captain Smith (If he had survived )would have lived with shame or died of shame ? .the Rule of the Sea was "The Captain must go down with the ship." But perhaps many Captains survived sinkings and went on with their lives and duties ? Probably one of those "ancient myths and legends" from the early days of sailing ? ...However, the Captain is supposed to be responsible for the safety of all and possibly the last to leave the ship ?