Even if there were enough boats


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Aug 31, 2004
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Even if there were enough boats for all, they wouldn't have time to lower them, esp. if they were collapsible. They didn't even have time to lower A and B, let alone any more than that
 
Jun 12, 2004
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Well, that may be true, but having had more lifeboats meant that there would have been a better chance for more people to survive. If worse came to worst, cut the lines and let some of the boats float off as the ship went down. I don't think it's too unrealistic to presume that those in the water would have scurried for the empty boats. They did so for Collapsibles A & B. As a matter of fact, knowing how cold that water was, I'm certain as a dollar that those boats would have been attacked quickly by those in the water.

As for not having time to lower the boats, this, under the circumstances of what DID happen, seems likely, BUT if there had been more boats, who's to say that Cpt. Smith wouldn't have given the order to lower the lifeboats a lot sooner? Depending on how many more LBs would have been provided, more people would have been saved, so your statement above tends to ring with the tone of one who's quickly defeated. Besides, you're applying an outcome to a different set of circumstances, meaning that because Titanic only had 20 boats, no more could have possibly survived under different circumstances. This is obviously not the case.
 
Jul 9, 2000
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>>who's to say that Cpt. Smith wouldn't have given the order to lower the lifeboats a lot sooner?<<

And who's to say that he would? It might be wise to take a look at the overall sequence of events befor we get too cozy with that one, being mindful of the fact that there was at least a 20 minute delay in even finding the damage and getting it reported back, much less working out what it all meant. It's not *just* the gross number of boats you have, but the time remaining to get them away, once you know you need to.
 

Bob Godfrey

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I have to question the value of an empty lifeboat, riding high in the water, to an exhausted, half-frozen swimmer weighed down by several layers of waterlogged clothing. Few would have had the strength to pull themselves aboard or, if they did manage to get in, to help others. Even Harold Lowe and his crew of fit seamen had difficulty pulling survivors in from the water - it took the combined efforts of all of them to haul the portly Mr Hoyt over the side. It was possible of course to get onto Collapsible A because the sides were down, but even there August Wennerstrom found he had no strength left to help the relatively lightweight Elin Lindell aboard and could do no more than hold onto her hand until he lost his grip and watched her drift away.
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Jun 12, 2004
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Michael, all I was saying that more lifeboats would mean a different situation. How do we really know what he would have done in the case of having more lifeboats to his disposal, delay time aside? The "start sooner" scenario was an example. Of course, as the fact keeps going: circumstances and technological developments were different then, so we can't really say for sure. That was my point. You were one of those who continued to reiterate the uncertainty of many things due to that difference. It also stands to reason that more boats would mean less overall time to lower them, as it would require more time to lower more boats.

BOB: If what you say is true, then why would several of the crew in the lifeboats, who would have been aware of the conditions that you describe above, have been afraid of their respective lifeboats being swamped? They would have figured the same conditions and, perhaps, had no fear. Just a conjecture. Still, weren't Cs. A & B, as mentioned, swamped by swimmers who undoubtedly were cold and weighed of heavy clothing?... I'm not necessarily saying you're wrong, as you would know quite well, but I'm merely commenting on some of the physical and emotional reactions made at the time.
 
Jun 12, 2004
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>>Ah, the joys of armchair hindsight quarterbacking.<<

Kyrila, that's never my intention, as armchair quarterbacking serves no other purpose than to discharge hot air, which is one thing I do not do. There's a difference between throwing "what if"s around (especially inane ones) and questioning what happened. Most of the time, I prefer doing the latter, although it doesn't make any difference, really, as what happened happened, and nothing is going to change that. Matthew made a questionable comment, and I commented on it. That's my personal response to armchair quarterbacking put into action. ;)
 
Jul 9, 2000
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>>The "start sooner" scenario was an example.<<

Start sooner based on what? Befor giving the order to evacuate the ship, they first had to know that there was a reason to do so. They got that reason...obviously...but it was still a good 45 minutes befor the order was even given.

>>It also stands to reason that more boats would mean less overall time to lower them, as it would require more time to lower more boats.<<

Yep...that's a problem alright. Time was the one thing they needed in abundance and no matter how you slice it, they just didn't have it.

>>BOB: If what you say is true, then why would several of the crew in the lifeboats, who would have been aware of the conditions that you describe above, have been afraid of their respective lifeboats being swamped?<<

Because you had upwards to 1500 swimmers in the water struggling for life and so few people in any boat able to deal with them. It's the sheer weight of numbers that was the showstopper here.
 
Mar 22, 2003
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Not enough time to load and lower all lifeboats?

Maybe if they had boat drills.

Maybe if other crew members like firemen, trimmers, stewards, etc., were trained in the loading and lowering of lifeboats, not to mention how to row.

Maybe if they had a plan in place for gathering and loading passengers in some organized manner.

Maybe if all officers were shown that the boats could be filled to their capacity and lowered safely without fear of buckling.

And list goes on.

The truth is very clear. Nobody expected these little wooden boats would ever be used. They were there because the BOT said they had to have them. As Titanic's Capt. E. J. Smith had once said: "I cannot imagine any condition which would cause a ship to founder. Modern shipbuilding has gone beyond that."

Well a few things have changed since April 14, 1912.
 
Jun 12, 2004
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>>Because you had upwards to 1500 swimmers in the water struggling for life and so few people in any boat able to deal with them. It's the sheer weight of numbers that was the showstopper here.<<

That still doesn't answer my question regarding why those in the water wouldn't have gone for any empty boats floating around (if there had been any, in the given scenario). The way they swamped A & B shows that they most certainly would have. Wet-heavy clothes did not stop them from swamping those two collapsibles (although not everybody in the water did).
 

Bob Godfrey

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I thought I had pre-empted that question when I pointed out that the sides had not been erected on collapsible A - it was in effect a raft, as, of course, was the upturned collapsible B. Hauling yourself up over the sides of a standard lifeboat was an altogether more daunting task. Hemming, for instance, was a highly experienced seaman who had a relatively brief spell in the water, swimming directly out from the ship to boat 4 while it passed by. With a load of at least 40 people, number 4 was obviously riding lower in the water than an empty boat, but on approaching it Hemming found that he couldn't reach the rope grab lines, let alone get his hands up to the gunwale. By moving closer to the middle of the boat he was able to reach the grab lines and pull himself up sufficiently to get his head above the side, make his presence known and call for help. He was then pulled in by the crew and passengers. Without any help, could he have pulled himself aboard? Maybe, but with an empty boat, riding several inches higher in the water, could he have even reached the grab lines? And how would a woman or child manage, with no experience, probably less strength and a shorter reach, and encumbered by a lifebelt and waterlogged skirts.
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Jun 12, 2004
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"Maybe... Maybe... Maybe..." That's all it comes down to--the great "What if..."! Unfortunately, these speculations and conjectures serve no meaningful task. What happened happened--that's it! When you consider the level of knowledge and technology that was available at that time, combined with the panic and desperation, not to mention the fact that the crew had their hands full, there wasn't anything more significant that could likely have been done (perhaps, except, add more people to the earlier lifeboats). There was a tragedy--a horrible tragedy, yes--and nothing we can do will ever change that. All of our insights, all of our conjectures, questions, speculations come out of what happened that night, not to mention following tragedies, so applying all this to the Titanic is anachronistic and inanely out-of-place.

As for the Titanic, it is best to devote our energy and resources to learning what, in fact, did happen and why instead of vainly trying to figure out ways that the tragedy could have been averted. That, I think, is the only productive and constructive way that we can gain some understanding about what is/was an otherwise senseless occurrence. What we learn about the Titanic will not help those who were aboard, but it has helped in countless instances since then and will serve to continue helping us in the future.
 
Jun 12, 2004
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BOB: My point was that any additional empty boats that may have been in the water would have helped and made a difference. I am not so crazy to think that every person in the water would have survived, because they wouldn't have. Many would have had a greater chance than had there not been any empty boats in the water.

Please see my post directly above this one.
 

Kyrila Scully

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Perhaps we could devote a thread on a discussion of something that has scientific or historic MERIT instead of hypothesis that will never find a satisfactory answer?

Kyrila
 
Jun 12, 2004
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Repost for Kyrila (just in case she missed this from two posts up):
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"Maybe... Maybe... Maybe..." That's all it comes down to--the great "What if..."! Unfortunately, these speculations and conjectures serve no meaningful task. What happened happened--that's it! When you consider the level of knowledge and technology that was available at that time, combined with the panic and desperation, not to mention the fact that the crew had their hands full, there wasn't anything more significant that could likely have been done (perhaps, except, add more people to the earlier lifeboats). There was a tragedy--a horrible tragedy, yes--and nothing we can do will ever change that. All of our insights, all of our conjectures, questions, speculations come out of what happened that night, not to mention following tragedies, so applying all this to the Titanic is anachronistic and inanely out-of-place.

As for the Titanic, it is best to devote our energy and resources to learning what, in fact, did happen and why instead of vainly trying to figure out ways that the tragedy could have been averted. That, I think, is the only productive and constructive way that we can gain some understanding about what is/was an otherwise senseless occurrence. What we learn about the Titanic will not help those who were aboard, but it has helped in countless instances since then and will serve to continue helping us in the future.
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I am WAY ahead of you, so I concur entirely. Thanks for the suggestion.
 

Inger Sheil

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Another point to consider is the idea of unlashed lifeboats cutting a swathe through those still on deck and adding to the debris in the water that could cause injury. Instances of this were seen on the Lusitania, where injury and even death were caused by lifeboats not being lowered properly, getting loose, and injuring people. In one instance, for example, the crew were forced by a passenger to release the falls prematurely, and the boat careened down the deck. A and B were located on the forward part of the boat deck and floated free - where would these other boats be located? If cut loose, they might possibly save some people in the water after the fact - and unsecured lifeboats also might cause injuries and death sliding over the sides or down the decks.
 
Mar 22, 2003
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Mark, you wrote:
quote:

Well, that may be true, but having had more lifeboats meant that there would have been a better chance for more people to survive. If worse came to worst, cut the lines and let some of the boats float off as the ship went down. I don't think it's too unrealistic to presume that those in the water would have scurried for the empty boats. They did so for Collapsibles A & B. As a matter of fact, knowing how cold that water was, I'm certain as a dollar that those boats would have been attacked quickly by those in the water.
But then you say:
quote:

What happened happened--that's it! When you consider the level of knowledge and technology that was available at that time, combined with the panic and desperation, not to mention the fact that the crew had their hands full, there wasn't anything more significant that could likely have been done (perhaps, except, add more people to the earlier lifeboats). There was a tragedy--a horrible tragedy, yes--and nothing we can do will ever change that. All of our insights, all of our conjectures, questions, speculations come out of what happened that night, not to mention following tragedies, so applying all this to the Titanic is anachronistic and inanely out-of-place.

As you said, what happened, happened. And as I said in my post above,
quote:

Nobody expected these little wooden boats would ever be used.
And so they had no boat drills, many crew members (excluding the deck crews) were not trained in loading and lowering lifeboats or how to row, there were no plans in place for gathering and loading passengers in an organized manner beforehand, many officers did not realize the boats could be filled to capacity and lowered safely. And you can add to list the belief that having lifeboats for all was unnecessary since these ships were built to stay afloat under the worst imagined accident. The lifeboats were expected to be transfer vehicles, not life savings apparatus. Changes to these concepts came about as a result of the Titanic tragedy and lessons learned. I don't think anybody is trying to figure out ways the tragedy could have been avoided except in trying to understand better why things happened the way they did.​
 

Erik Wood

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Any captain who would base his decision on when to abandon the vessel based soley on the number of boats he has, in my opinion needs to go back before the oral board before being allowed to command. This decision is based or in my opinion should be SOLEY based on the condition of the ship. (Case in point the Ectasy fire.) The ship is in reality the only lifeboat. You are 100 times safer on a stable sinking ship then in a lifeboat.

Before somebody with a big 2 X 4 tries to wack my starboard shaft, all I am saying is a sinking ship that has not sunk and has been determined to be stable and some time estimate for help to arrive has been determined and the ship will REMAIN safe for that period is safer then a lifeboat.

Now, that is not to say however, that more lifeboats could not have been filled or used...sort of. More lifeboats, would have meant, less deck space and slower loading. Because there was so few trained crewmembers launching more then 2 boats at a time would have been at best difficult. However, had there been more boats and assuming (we all know what that does) that the same number where launched at the same capacity is concivable that those washed free could have provided safe haven for those in the water.
 
Jun 12, 2004
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>>However, had there been more boats and assuming (we all know what that does) that the same number where launched at the same capacity is concivable that those washed free could have provided safe haven for those in the water.<<

Thank you!! That's all I was saying. I try not to "assume," but instead I generalize, which is not always the best thing to do either.

By the way, please remember that I wasn't the one you initially brought up the issue of more boats--Matthew Boswell did! I approached him with my own skepticism.
 
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