The Survival Raft

It is well anchored in the people’s mind that the Titanic total lifeboat capacity was for something like 1,084 passengers, so short of 1,116 «seats». The numbers of seats were probably calculated from the lifeboat «linear» room availability of something like 11 inches width per seat, which is pretty tight. If a seat would’ve been occupied by two passengers, a man seated on the side bench or thwart and a women or children on his knee, the problem of lifeboats capacity would have then been resolved. (65 x 14) + (47 x 2) + (40 x 2) = 1,084 x 2 = 2,200 passengers


But would that be feasible? We have to change our paradigm from a seat capacity to a lifeboat loading weight capacity. Make some calculations:

We have;

number of lifeboats x length(ft) x breadth(ft) x depth(ft) x seat capacity(#)

14 x 30’ x 9’ x 4’ x 65#
2 x 28’ x 8’ x 3’ x 47#
2 x 25’ x 7’ x 3’ x 40#

Which give a loading capacity of;

number x length(m) x breadth(m) x {depth(m) x 50% freeboard} x coefficient block x salt water density = loading weight capacity

14 x 9.1 x 2.7 x (1.2 x 0.5) x 0.8 x 1,025 = 169,000kg
2 x 8.5 x 2.4 x (1.0 x 0.5) x 0.8 x 1,025 = 17,000kg
2 x 7.6 x 2.1 x (1.0 x 0.5) x 0.8 x 1,025 = 13,000kg

For a total loading capacity of = 200,000kg

One passenger weight in 1912 approx 130lbs or 60kg
130lbs = 60kg x 2,200 passengers = 132,000kg

Capacity reserve;
200,000kg - 132,000kg = +68,000kg or a safer freeboard!

In theory, it seems that the lifeboat loading weight capacity was much over what it needed to save everyone! The depth of 1.2m was possibly calculated for a Beaufort scale 4-5, but that fateful night the sea was «oily» calm.

How do we do that as simple as possible? The Capt. would have to «order all the officers to load the lifeboats on a first come, first served basis to free the crowd from the boat deck (manpower needed) / That as soon as the lifeboats were clear (filled or not), to bring them all together at swimming distance, to make a gigantic and stable raft, by securely fasten them up with ropes». Ounce all the boats cleared away, to rig the Jacob’s ladders and then… «Hike Down The Ladders or Jump and Swim For Your Life! I can tell you that when you have water rising up your ankle, you would swim toward the raft! No danger of capsizing the libeboats as they would’ve been made fast together.

Don’t tell me that the exercise would’ve been chaotic, but I am positive that much more life would have been saved. The Countess of Roth might have had to seat on the knee of a perfumed stoker, but who cares…