Welin Davits


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Nigel Bryant

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Jan 14, 2001
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After the Titanic Disaster, Did the Olympic's existing davits get lengthened at the top to accommodate the other boats that were placed inside the boats that were stationed along the whole length of the top deck. Inside the book Titanic and her Sisters they look longer than the existing davits previously onboard the Olympic 1911.

When were these type of davits introduced. In Illustrated History it said something like they were a new kind of davit.Were Olympic and Titanic the first ships to have these type of davits.
 
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jean leysman

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In fact Nigel, The Welin davits were indeed developped for the new generation of ships to be built by the White Star Line (among them Titanic, Olympic and Brittanic) Welin was a Swedish company and they offered their new type of davits that could hold two lifeboats to the IMMC, the mother company of the White Star Line.
But as you may well know, safety had no top priority in those days and it was merely considered a hassle. Ships like Titanic were considered to be unsinkable, so why bother?
Anyway, Lord Pirrie, CEO of the White Star Line spent exactly 5 minutes of the meetings about construction matters to discuss safety. Thomas Andrews (the ship's designer) and the Welin company highly recommended the new type of davits, but they were overruled by White Star. Two lifeboats in one davit would waste too much deck space on an unsinkable ship!
The Olympic was later equipped with ample lifeboats, but not the davits that could hold two boats.

Regards
Leysman
 
Jan 5, 2001
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Hang on. If I remember right, the Olympic's 1913 and 1920 davits were able to hold some two or three boats each.

I think there were some 24 sets of davits in 1920, which held more than double that number of boats.
 

Dave Gittins

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Mar 16, 2000
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Putting two boats on one pair of davits was a dumb idea. Today it is illegal, after sinkings in which it proved impractical.

The main advantage of the Welin davits was the way in which the boats were swung out. The swing was controlled by the long screws turned by crank handles that can be seen in some photos. If the ship rolled and the men swinging out the boat lost their footing, the davits simply stayed put while they sorted themselves out. Other than that, there was nothing special about them.
 
Oct 28, 2000
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Multiple boats in one set of davits is not impracticable. The system works During WWII the US Navy stacked Higgins boats on the decks of "mother ships" that carried them and their soldiers into battle. This was not a problem because the troops could swarm down cargo nets into the landing craft. Passengers, of course, are not all 18 to 20 year old males at the peak of physical conditioning.

The problem with multiple boats in a single set of davits is getting people into the first boat while the second remains chocked on deck. The second boat blocks easy access to the first. One answer is to lower the boats down to the deck below for loading...but this did not seem satisfactory when tried on Titanic.

Considering the state of lifeboats in 1912, however, installing multiple boats in one set of davits was a logical "improvement." Naval architects and engineers recognized the need to increase the number of lifeboats--as some countries had already mandated. There was no other solution immediately available than multiple boats.

The whole idea was proven impracticable by later events. However, had the extra boats been installed on Titanic, they would have been available to the passengers. As we know, two collapsibles floated off the top of the officers' quarters and both boats were instrumental in saving lives. More boats floating around should have meant more survivors. But then...the dark side is the question, "would the additional boats have blocked people from getting into the first ones, thereby decreasing the survivors?

-- David G. Brown
 
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