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Lifeboat drill

Discussion in 'Security & Safety' started by Paul Lee, Jun 13, 2004.

  1. Paul Lee

    Paul Lee Member

    I gather there was supposed to be a lifeboat drill on ship on the Sunday, but for some reason this didn't happen. One explanation that I have heard is that this was dropped because the disparity between the lifeboat capacity and the number of people on board would have been obvious; I don't believe this, as I am sure there were drills on the Olympic?


  2. Dave Gittins

    Dave Gittins Member

    Several explanations have been offered. Archie Jewell put it down to the cold wind. Edward Wheelton said it would interfere with preparations for lunch. The boat list for the black gang was not displayed until after the drill was due.

    The lack of a drill probably didn't matter much. It would only have involved mustering the crew at their boats.
  3. Paul Lee

    Paul Lee Member

    Yes, I recall Frank Prentice saying that the lifeboat stations' notice was pinned up in the galley, on the 14th - probably too late to do anything about it.

  4. >>One explanation that I have heard is that this was dropped because the disparity between the lifeboat capacity and the number of people on board would have been obvious; I don't believe this,<<

    Neither do I. Lifeboat drills at the time didn't even involve mustering the passengers. Just the crews who would be manning the boats. It helps to know that very few ships of the time carried lifeboats for all. As far as I know, none of the big liners did, and the expectation that a distressed ship would act as her own lifeboat until rescue ships arrived was very real. The system worked well enough with the Republic, and nobody had any reason to think it wouldn't work with another casualty.

    In fact, the only ship out there that night that had lifeboats for everybody with room to spare was the ever "popular" Californian.
  5. Dave Gittins

    Dave Gittins Member

    The rules at the time were based on what was practicable. Californian had boats for twice the number of crew and passengers she could carry because she came under the rules for freighters. It was easy to fit plenty of boats to such ships. Most passenger ships had "boats for all" because they didn't carry numerous emigrants.

    Of 521 British passenger ships, only 93 didn't have "boats for all" in one way or another. The 93 were the emigrant ships that might carry 2,000 people on a ship of well under 10,000 GRT. As British ships lost only 85 passengers in the 20 years ending 1911, the system seemed adequate. I might add that most of those lost were concentrated in two small ships that probably had "boats for all".
  6. I've heard there was supposed to be a lifeboat drill on April 14th but the Captain cancelled it. Has anyone ever established why this lifeboat drill was cancelled?
  7. Dave Gittins

    Dave Gittins Member

    Read the earlier posts. The truth is that nobody knows the real reason for the lack of drills.
  8. As I have summarized in my research article (Voyage 95, Titanic International Society) not all list were ready and it was the Captain decision when and were to do one. On Olympic Captain Smith usually did it in port.
  9. Moj

    Moj Member

    I have a queation regarding the preparation and the practice for crew and officers before the beginning of voayage.
    Was there such a thing ? I mean at the time of titanic what was the regulations regarding the practice for crew so that everyone know at the time of an emergency what they are supposed to do and how to do it exactly ?
    Had they even tried the lifeboats before ?
    Im sure there probably wasnt anything like that for the passengers . So that they know where anyone should go at the time of emergency .
    And what was the thought regarding the alert for the passengers ? I mean how were they supposed to know what was the news with the ship ? Was there a radio or a special alert sound inside the ship ?
    What was supposed to be the way of communication between the captain and the passengers in case of emergency ?
  10. Jim Currie

    Jim Currie Member

    I suggest you log onto titanicinquiry.org There, you will find the transcripts of the evidence. Then go to the evidence given by the surviving officers. You will find a whole lot of information on lifeboat drill there.
    Moj likes this.
  11. Yes there were several drill aboard, during the time the ship was in harbour as well as when under way.
    Regarding passengers, the bedroom stewards were responsible to look for their passengers (every bedroom steward had his cabins he was responsible for).

    You might find this summery interesting.

    The forgotten drills aboard Titanic
    Moj likes this.
  12. This is something for the "maritime experts" on these forums, but I thought I would post what I have read and they can correct me if I'm wrong.

    I understand that lifeboat drills were required ?
    Also that a lifeboat drill had been scheduled but had been cancelled by Captain Smith
    There had been tests of lowering and recovering lifeboats during the sea trials ?

    Also, due to outdated regulations, there were not enough lifeboats for all on board - passengers and crew ?
    If all were filled to capacity, there were only enough lifeboats for even about half of those aboard, about 1100 for the 2200 on board. If the ship had been filled to (capacity of about 3500 I believe) there would have been only enough for about one third ot all persons on board. As it was, only about 700 out of 2200 were saved.....
    1500 lost !

    There weren't any public address systems or anything like that in those times and the only way to notify the passengers was by word of mouth from the stewards.This was a problem in Steerage since many of them could not speak or uhderstand English ?

    Of course, there is probably a lot more to "The Titanic Lifeboat Question/Problem" ?

    Were crew members assigned to a specific lifeboat ?
    Passengers ? (But how could this be even done, considering the capacity of the lifeboats ?)?

    I understand that all ships were required to carry enough lifeboats for all only after the Titanic tragedy ?
    Are all passengers and crew given a specific lifeboat assignment and drills are conducted regularly on ships today ?
    Last edited: Dec 7, 2018
    Moj likes this.
  13. Moj

    Moj Member

    Thanks. I had not seen this link. It was very helpful.

    But it seems that all the drills were only for the crew and the officers and stewrds. Nothing involving the passengers were required.

    As about an alerting system . Is there such a thing in big cruise line nowadays ?
    Ioannis Georgiou likes this.
  14. Moj

    Moj Member

    Hi, if you go to the link provided above your posts there are the answers to some of your and mine s questions there. Apparently there was a list each boat assigned to someone. But it didnt happen like that .

    What amazes me though is that if the officals themselves would looked at the regulations they would know that there was a lot of vague points and unsafe scenarios in that . They couldnt possibly begin to answer the requirements of a ship with that size and the amount of passengers.
    Which is why I think they most probaby were certain that the ship WAS in fact unsinkable or at least anythinh that could pose a danger will give them enough time to wander around comfortably and evacuate the ship slowly.

    Im not sure what todays regulations anf drill are specially in some cruise lines with more than 3000 passengers.
  15. The drills were only for the crew, not for passengers.

    There was no alert system as it is today on cruise ships.
  16. coal eater

    coal eater Member

    did they tested the lifeboats in belfast before fateful voyage?