Lifeboat Launch Order


Mar 22, 2003
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The times in the list were to the nearest 5 minutes that could be estimated. The error could easily be as much plus or minus 5 minutes for any of the boats. Nobody was looking at a watch at the exact moment a boat was launched. By the way, launch means the time that they started to pay out the falls in lowering the boat, or the time a boat floated off in the cases of boats A and B. Lowering times could be as much as 5 or 6 minutes in some cases, depending on the length of the drop.
By the way, the entire revised article can be accessed here: Lifeboat Launching Sequence Re-Examined.
 
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I know what you mean, but that's just for convenience and orientation. Most of us human beings live by the clock and if you think about it, are too "five minute orientated". If I asked 10 different people to meet me at exactly 11:45 am, not one of them would think there was anything odd about it. But if I had said 11:42 am instead, just about all of them would have raised their eyebrows at the very least.

I believe that there is a 2 minute window on either side of the given times in that table. Thus, Lifeboat #10, which the table says was launched at 01:50 am, was lowered between 01:48 and 01:52 am IMO. Also, one can ask, what exactly is 'launching time"? The time they started to lower the lifeboat or the time it reached the water?
Ok, what you and Mr. Halpern wrote does make sense about why times might be listed as they were. Kind of like the one Mt. Everest survey only the opposite but done for a reason. Survey showed exactly 29,000ft high but they thought people might think they rounded off so they added 2 feet to it. Or so the story goes.
 

Arun Vajpey

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When I was a kid back in 1963, books, journals etc listed Mt Everest as being 29,028 feet above the sea level.
 
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When I was a kid back in 1963, books, journals etc listed Mt Everest as being 29,028 feet above the sea level.
Yes you are right about that. But since the mid 1800's there have been many surveys of Everest and they had all came away with different values. Most were very close to each other..20 feet or so. A few were way off because of the instruments at the time. The latest one done last year that I know of came in at 29,032'. With snow and ice it probably changes a few feet every year. But with all the people that have been up there now they might have a GPS receiver there now. Not sure about that. A lot like Titanic and other subjects. 2 different people looking at it and you'll get 2 different conclusions.
 

Arun Vajpey

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Lowering times could be as much as 5 or 6 minutes in some cases, depending on the length of the drop.
That's right. That would mean that several variables plated their part.
  • Trim: As the sinking progressed, forward lifeboats had progressively reducing drop distances while for the aft boats it progressively increased.
  • Time: Forward lifeboats lowered earlier eg #5, #3, #6 had longer drops than those lowered later like #2, #4 and Collapsibles C & D. With the aft boats it was the opposite, with drop distances increasing as the stern rose. Also, with time the port list got worse, affecting lowering time.
  • List: I imagine with increasing port list loading of port side lifeboats would have been more difficult. But am I right in thinking that once they were loaded, lowering per se on the port side would not be too bad? On the starboard side on the other hand, I thought lowering would be more hazardous with the bottom and side of the lifeboat scraping against the side of the ship and its rivet heads.
 

Mike Spooner

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OK we heard how long it has taken them to load up the lifeboats and launch from about 12.30 to 2.20am. One hour and forty minutes. O though A & B boats did float of the ship. However when on board the Carpathia ship that took over four hours. So why soo long?
 

Arun Vajpey

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However when on board the Carpathia ship that took over four hours. So why soo long?
There might have been several reasons. Onboard the Titanic the lifeboats were fastened in place, ready for use as necessary. But when the Carpathia arrived, the boats were on the ocean surface, loaded with people and somewhat scattered. Then I am not sure if they had to improvise a bit with gear used to haul lifeboats out of the water on board the Carpathia. Most importantly, I would have thought the process of attaching falls to boats already on the sea and hauling them up was a more precarious process.

Also, there were over 700 survivors and every boatload coming up had to be dealt with and the deck space cleared before the next boat could be pulled up.
 

Jim Currie

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The times in the list were to the nearest 5 minutes that could be estimated. The error could easily be as much plus or minus 5 minutes for any of the boats. Nobody was looking at a watch at the exact moment a boat was launched. By the way, launch means the time that they started to pay out the falls in lowering the boat, or the time a boat floated off in the cases of boats A and B. Lowering times could be as much as 5 or 6 minutes in some cases, depending on the length of the drop.
By the way, the entire revised article can be accessed here: Lifeboat Launching Sequence Re-Examined.
The Table shows 18 boats being loaded and launched within a period of 90 minutes - one every 5 minutess - a remarkable acheivement given the numbers and conditions.

However, there seems to be a problem with these times, Sam.

If you agree that QM Rowe had partially retarded time on his watch , and I know you think he did, then lifeboat 7 was launched a little before 03-47 GMT. The table shows 3-38 GMT.
Then Rowe fired the last signal 40 minutes later at 4-27 GMT by the same watch. However, the table shows it being fired at 4-48 GMT - a difference of 23 minutes.
There should not have been a difference between the GMT of events, no matter what the individual had on a watch.
For example: Annie Robinson had the time of sinking on her fully retarded watch watch as 1-40 am. = 5-25 GMT On an unaltered watch it would have been 2-27 am = 5-25 GMT and on Rowe's watch it would have been 2-03 am = 5-25 GMT. 3rd Officer Pitman gave a time of 5-18 GMT on his watch but we are talking about a percieved event from different positions.
What do you think?
 
Mar 22, 2003
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However, there seems to be a problem with these times, Sam.
Actually, there isn't any problem. For those following, the conversion from Titanic time, which was used in the article throughout, to GMT is to add 2 hours and 58 minutes. I'll respond to some of you issues Jim when I get the chance, but I have more pressing things to do today which finally looks and feels like Spring instead of Winter at 41° 57'N, 87° 41'W.
 
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Actually, there isn't any problem. For those following, the conversion from Titanic time, which was used in the article throughout, to GMT is to add 2 hours and 58 minutes. I'll respond to some of you issues Jim when I get the chance, but I have more pressing things to do today which finally looks and feels like Spring instead of Winter at 41° 57'N, 87° 41'W.
Off topic comment be me:...I hear you. I'm so ready for Winter to be over. The cold sucks. One of the reasons why I sympathize with the people on Titanic. But back to the subject matter. After looking at the times I can see why they are listed as they are. There's no way one could be exact about it and a minute here or there doesn't change the story at all IMO. It's not like today with people taking selfies where you can extract the metadata and get the time down to the second.
 

Jim Currie

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Off topic comment be me:...I hear you. I'm so ready for Winter to be over. The cold sucks. One of the reasons why I sympathize with the people on Titanic. But back to the subject matter. After looking at the times I can see why they are listed as they are. There's no way one could be exact about it and a minute here or there doesn't change the story at all IMO. It's not like today with people taking selfies where you can extract the metadata and get the time down to the second.
Hello Steven.

I completely agree with your remarks regarding the inexactitude of assessing times. However, I am not concerned with that but of glaring anomalies in The Table 2 under discussion. Look closely and make your own mind up. here is what I see:
Table anomoly 2021-02-28 001.jpg

As you can see from the above, I have inserted the evidence of QM Rowe concerning his times of firing the signals.
Rowe also said he first contacted the bridge to tell them about boat 7 at 12-25 am by his watch which was at least 23 minutes SLOW of unaltered time .This means the bridge time would have been 12-48 am. which agrees with The Table.
However, since Rowe said he commenced firing signals at about 12-45 am,.20 minutes later, The Table should record a time of 1-08 am instead of 12-47 am as is does.
It seems that the difference between The Table time and the partly altered time for the launching of the first signal has been reduced to almost zero. Otherwise why is The Table time of firing the first signal a mere 2 minutes adrift from the time given by QM Rowe whose watch was 23 minutes SLOW of ship time?
As a further puzzle, The Table times suggest that boat 5 was launched at 12-40 am and boat 7 five minutes after that, at 12-45 am which was 12-17am and 12-22am respectively on Rowe's watch and 3 minutes before 12-25am when he reported to the bridge that he had seen one boat in the water.
To compound the felony, The Table shows the first rocket being fired at 12-47 am which was 12-24 am on Rowe's watch -a minute before he called the bridge.
So the simplified picture painted in terms of a partially retarded clock is as follows:

12-17 am...boat 7 seen. - 12-40 am Table
12-22 am...boat 5 seen. - 12-45 am Table
12-24 am... first signal fired. - 12-47 am Table
12-25 am... Rowe advises bridge of seeing boat 7 - 12-48am Table

However, if we move on in the table, we find everything returns to normal re time differences.
As they use to ask in the TV show "Soap",,, "Confused? You will be after this next episode." :D :D :D
 
Mar 22, 2003
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To compound the felony,
There is no felony. You obviously didn't read the article thoroughly. Rowe did not fire the first signal, Boxhall did, and that was before Rowe called the bridge. By the way, in a correspondence between George Rowe and J. Powell (MMSA District Secretary) in early June 1963, Rowe said that they were firing rockets whilst he was still on the afterbridge, and when he took the “other rockets” along to the forebridge, “they used some of those” as well. This was documented in a note from Powell to Leslie Harrison on 12 Jun 1963.
 

Jim Currie

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C' mon Sam, Evidence 50+ years after the event cancelling evidence given days after the same event is dodgy to say the least.
Boxhall did not make first contact with the aft bridge and all the evidence supports this. However, Boxhall said he sent for rockets but not at the time the launching of No7 was reported.
His "puting away the firing lanyard" story is exactly the same story he gave when asked when he first saw Ismay.
Not withstanding that; the story that there were several signal fired before Rowe went to the bridge is nonsense. I am surprised you even give it house room. It does not dove-tail with any other evidence he gave on both sides of the Atlantic and contradicts that of his mate and the evidence of Pitman and Lowe.
 
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Hello Steven.

I completely agree with your remarks regarding the inexactitude of assessing times. However, I am not concerned with that but of glaring anomalies in The Table 2 under discussion. Look closely and make your own mind up. here is what I see:
View attachment 75844
As you can see from the above, I have inserted the evidence of QM Rowe concerning his times of firing the signals.
Rowe also said he first contacted the bridge to tell them about boat 7 at 12-25 am by his watch which was at least 23 minutes SLOW of unaltered time .This means the bridge time would have been 12-48 am. which agrees with The Table.
However, since Rowe said he commenced firing signals at about 12-45 am,.20 minutes later, The Table should record a time of 1-08 am instead of 12-47 am as is does.
It seems that the difference between The Table time and the partly altered time for the launching of the first signal has been reduced to almost zero. Otherwise why is The Table time of firing the first signal a mere 2 minutes adrift from the time given by QM Rowe whose watch was 23 minutes SLOW of ship time?
As a further puzzle, The Table times suggest that boat 5 was launched at 12-40 am and boat 7 five minutes after that, at 12-45 am which was 12-17am and 12-22am respectively on Rowe's watch and 3 minutes before 12-25am when he reported to the bridge that he had seen one boat in the water.
To compound the felony, The Table shows the first rocket being fired at 12-47 am which was 12-24 am on Rowe's watch -a minute before he called the bridge.
So the simplified picture painted in terms of a partially retarded clock is as follows:

12-17 am...boat 7 seen. - 12-40 am Table
12-22 am...boat 5 seen. - 12-45 am Table
12-24 am... first signal fired. - 12-47 am Table
12-25 am... Rowe advises bridge of seeing boat 7 - 12-48am Table

However, if we move on in the table, we find everything returns to normal re time differences.
As they use to ask in the TV show "Soap",,, "Confused? You will be after this next episode." :D :D :D
Yes it can get confusing when dealing with times reported on almost all things that happened that night. But a simple question (I think). Wasn't there a requirement for bridge and other officers to keep the personal pocket watches synchronized to the ships master clocks. I know they adjusted the master clocks often. And watches back then were still accurate enough to only lose a minute a day or so. You would think that would be a habit among the bridge crew but it seems like maybe not. Or was there even a requirement for them to even have personal watches? Ok more than one question I guess. Anyway what you and Samuel wrote is interesting. Thanks for the replies.
 
Mar 22, 2003
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1912 evidence directly from Boxhall:
15593. Except the order for clearing the boats, which came very early in the proceedings? - Yes. I knew one of the boats had gone away, because I happened to be putting the firing lanyard inside the wheel-house after sending off a rocket, and the telephone bell rang. Somebody telephoned to say that one of the starboard boats had left the ship, and I was rather surprised.
 

Cam Houseman

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His "puting away the firing lanyard" story is exactly the same story he gave when asked when he first saw Ismay.
Not withstanding that; the story that there were several signal fired before Rowe went to the bridge is nonsense. I am surprised you even give it house room. It does not dove-tail with any other evidence he gave on both sides of the Atlantic and contradicts that of his mate and the evidence of Pitman and Lowe.
So that means he at least left the Poop deck sometime after 12:45, but before Murdoch lowered the other two starboard boats?
 

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