Davits for boats above officers quarters

  • Thread starter Harold Douglas Willis
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Harold Douglas Willis

I have studied photographs, models, and drawings of the Titanic for 35 years, and only recently noticed that the two boats (1 port and 1 starboard) above the officer's quarters appear to have NO davits to lower them to the boat deck. Additionally, the stays from the No. 1 funnel would have blocked the boats once lowered. What was Harland & Wolff thinking when they did this? What would a modern maritime inspector think when he orders the crew to "lower those two boats" and he is told "Sorry, guv, no way to get 'em down!" Ironic, is it not, that the only way one could have gotten those two boats off was in exactly the manner they DID . . . by floating off! I would welcome you thoughts on this perplexing "design" question.

Dave Gittins

Mar 16, 2000
The answer was provided by Lightoller in evidence. The boats on top of the offiders' quarters were supposed to be lifted by tackles attached to the funnel guys. First the tackles had to be rigged and this was never done.

Then they had to be manhandled until falls from the davits for the emergency boats could be attached. All of which was perfectly easy, given a horde of seamen and all night to do it!

Erik Wood

Aug 24, 2000
Sounds like a lot of work to me. I would rather just push the darn thing off the roof, attach it to the falls and swing it out.
Apr 16, 2002
I am more interested in the people on board than the technical side of the disaster, so many terms are unknown to me, one of which is "funnel guy". Are those the ropes which supported the funnels?
Any help would be appreciated.

Tracy Smith

Nov 5, 2000
South Carolina USA
Now that you mention the funnel guys, I've always wondered if anyone happened to be caught by them flying loose when they snapped just before the end. A very nasty way to go, I'm sure.

Tom Pappas

TS: There were all sorts of nasty ways to go that night. I'm sure the engineers would back me up on this. They were probably scalded, crushed, frozen, and drowned, all in the space of a minute. Some might have been electrocuted, in addition.

The poor chaps who got hit by funnel guys might have got the better end of the bargain.
Jul 9, 2000
Easley South Carolina
I'd back Tom up on that. Anyone near a steam line when it broke would have been scalded to death if not cut in half depending on how much pressure the steam was under at the time and how it shot out of the line. Anyone caught by the snapback of the funnel guys would almost certainly have been cut in half or had any appendages sheared off. Not a nice way to go.

But then a ship even under the best of conditions offers all kinds of death to the careless and the unwary.
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