Titanic's Lifeboat Capacity

Bob_Read

Member
May 9, 2019
73
19
8
USA
I have written a new article which explains the aspects touching on Titanic's lifeboat capacity. The regulations of the Merchant Shipping Act of 1894-1906 are examined as they relate to total capacity requirements and how capacities of the individual boat types were calculated. The complex method for calculating the capacities of the Engelhardt collapsible boats is examined in depth. This article confines itself to the technical questions of the lifeboat capacity. There is no discussion about the adequacy of the regulations, etc. Hopefully the moderators will allow this thread to stand on its own rather than consigning it to an outdated thread with inaccurate information. Titanic Lifeboat Capacity Article
 
  • Like
Reactions: Samuel Halpern

Scott Mills

Member
Jul 10, 2008
487
32
98
41
Indianapolis, Indiana, United States
Interesting. The fact Titanic did not have lifeboats for all has always struck me as odd, not because she did not, but because such a big deal is made out of it. Do not get me wrong, I think the fact she was not equipped with enough boats to potentially save all the passengers and crews is an example of human failing; however, in the context of Titanic the ships crew did not even have time to properly launch all of the lifeboats Titanic did have.

Meaning, regardless of whether or not Titanic had been equipped with all the boats necessary to technically fit everyone, just as many people (or nearly so) would have perished that night in 1912.
 

Bob_Read

Member
May 9, 2019
73
19
8
USA
Once the ship began sinking the biggest deficiency was the lack of a comprehensive plan for complete loading of the boats once they were lowered to the water. I investigated the possibility that had they used the boats as stationary rafts which were loaded after lowering it is theoretically possible that the twenty boats could have held all aboard until help arrived. I must stress the caveat theoretical. This might have been a flight into fantasy land on my part but it was a fun problem to look at. Here’s the article: http://www.titanic-cad-plans.com/wp-content/uploads/2010/06/Titanic-Lifeboats-article-revised-2-24-17.pdf
 
Last edited:

Mike Spooner

Member
Jan 31, 2018
540
102
53
Hi Bob, I don't know if you were involved with, The Ship Magnificent book? As I can see quite a lot is used from the book for lifeboats. One can see there was quite a bit confusion what was required!
The seating quoted capacity figure does look rather tight per type of boat, to the point was it realistic? Was there ever a seating plan issued? Plus the boat equipment be included to!
 

Bob_Read

Member
May 9, 2019
73
19
8
USA
The boat equipment was inventoried and inspected by Board of Trade surveyors. How could you have a seating plan with many different sizes of passengers from children on up? I think think the Board of Trade capacities were reasonable estimations. If they weren’t, interested parties would have challenged them. They were not the final authority. The officer in charge of loading a boat had the authority and responsibility to determine safe loading. There were no Board of Trade surveyors looking over his shoulder. I was involved with TTSM but only as far as producing some illustrations. Some drawings that appear in my article and TTSM are from the same source, Ernest Blocksidge’s “Ships Boats” which is considered the Bible on the subject. The other material is directly from the Merchant Shipping Act of 1894-1906.