Lifeboat design

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Jim Trebowski

Hi. I'm an actor at the Orlando exhibit, and would like to portray Rod Chisolm, a member of the guarantee group. He designed the lifeboats. Does anybody have any information on what went into designing them? Were they unique to Titanic, or standard on all ships?what provisions were placed in them? Any info on the lifeboats or Mr. Chisolm would be greatly appreciated...thnks all.
Jul 9, 2000
Easley South Carolina
Jim, if you could contact Harland & Wolff, they may well have some useful information. Most of the lifeboats on the Titanic were wooden clinker planked types of 30 ft in length which were built at the Harland and Wolff shipyard.

I don't know that they were provisioned at all until the ship started to go down. Non-perishable stores weren't all that common then.

Another source you could try would be the Titanic Research & Modeling Assocciation at

I remember seeing a section on lifeboats there including the four collapsibles which caused so much greif that night.

Michael H. Standart

Dave Gittins

Mar 16, 2000
In 1912 lifeboats were built mostly by eye, using traditional methods. The overall length was decided and a mould of the midship section was set up. The rest was done by eye. Titanic's boats were quite good but many boats of the time were unstable due to the ends being too fine. Nothing was standard. Even Titanic's two emergency boats were not quite the same size.

The boats were equipped with food and water before leaving Southampton but the lamps and compasses were stored on Titanic and many boats left without them. Some of those in the boats thought there was no food or water but this was because they did not know where to look. The food was the more or less indestructible ship's biscuit.

Details of the boats are found in Lord Mersey's report.
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