There simply were not enough deck hands to send away in the boats and still have enough on deck to lower the boats. It is far easier to handle an oar than to handle a rope of a fall. Some of the victualling staff and firemen allowed into the boats were asked if they could handle an oar. I would not want to speculate as to how many who answered affirmatively were being truthful.I do wonder (not stating it as fact) whether the stewards and cooks that Wilde and Lightoller allowed into the port side boats were perhaps more physically developed than their mates, and that's why they were chosen to row. Just a thought.