- No ship is unsinkable. And no one even claims it.
- All ships are required to have enough lifeboats for all.
- There are lifeboat drills.
- There really isn't a steerage anymore. There are different classes in that you pay for different types of cabins. I don't believe anyone is segregated. It's more like a hotel. If you have the presidential suite, you may be walking by someone staying in the broom closet.
>>All ships are required to have enough lifeboats for all.<<
Not entirely accurate. Ships are required to have enough boats and rafts for all, and for the lions share of the crew, that would mean the inflatable rafts. The practical reality is that you have only so much of the ship's length and weight margin available to hang boats from and you would be surprised at just how many are out there which don't have boats for all.
>>Do they still segregate steerage?<<
No such animal anymore. The Steerage was the sort of thing which held on in the days of mass immigration but those days are long gone.
The total number of passengers and crew can vary, but the maximum number of passengers that can be onboard (including third and fourth berths) is 3,056, and the maximum number of crew is about 1,254. So, the Queen can carry a maximum of 4,310 passengers and crew. The Queen Mary 2 is equipped with 22 Schat-Harding lifeboats, each with a capacity of 150. As well as 2 Norsafe rescue boats, each with a capacity of 6. The ship also carries 60 Zodiac davit launched life rafts, each of which can hold 37 people. So, the lifeboats can hold 3,300 people, the rescue boats can hold 12, and the Zodiacs can hold 2,220. Altogether, the QM2 has a lifesaving capacity of 5,532, or more than 128% of the total number of passengers and crew onboard.
So, although there are enough lifeboats for all of the passengers, the vast majority of the crew would need to use the rafts (depending on how many passengers happened to be onboard at the time).
The actual modern rules require at least enough lifeboats for 75% of those on board. If that's all you have, you must add liferafts under davits sufficient for 25%, plus enough for a further 25%, not necessarily under davits.
QM2 evidently slightly exceeds the requirements by having all her liferafts under davits. The 'davits' are actually more like little cranes. I'd hate to have to use them. The rafts are inflated before lowering and people have to get into them without capsizing the whole works.
"The 'davits' are actually more like little cranes. I'd hate to have to use them. The rafts are inflated before lowering and people have to get into them without capsizing the whole works."
That method was on the Wahine using Schact davits and when push came to shove the system did work when used but the crew also dropped and inflated at sea level with passengers jumping or climbing down.
Some were heaved overboard inflating mid drop to become an untethered kite.
>>Does the word "Titanic" come to the front of your mind?<<
In fairness, cruise ships do have boats allocated for all the passengers but as I mentioned, you have only so much of the ship's length available for boats. The lions share of the crew on a lot of these ships will have to take their chances with the inflatable liferafts.