What happened to the Titanic lifeboats?


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Anna Reznik

Guest
From what I understand, they were indeed put on other WSL boats. They were painted over (They is from a book that seems to be a little iffy but it makes sense).

Why built new lifeboats when they have some used once and no boat left to put them on.

Correct me if I'm wrong but WSL after the disaster decided to put enough lifeboats for everyone on board before it was official a law.
Remember people were afraid to go in the lifeboats when they started to load them so it just allows the chance to get out.
 

Dave Gittins

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Apr 11, 2001
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I'll stick to the theory that I posted elsewhere. They were probably held under a court order as representing funds available as compensation to victims of the disaster. In October 1912 White Star lodged $96,000 with the court, representing the amount it was to pay under US law, which greatly limited damages. The boats would then have been released.

By then they may have been in poor condition. Clinker built boats don't like being out of the water. That would tie in with Eaton & Haas's claim that they rotted away in a boat shed. E & H give no source.
 

Jeremy Lee

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Jun 12, 2003
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In Walter Lord's book A Night to Remember, he said that the lifeboats of the Titanic were reused on other WSL ships and that the name "TITANIC" on the lifeboats were sandpapered off.
 

Dave Gittins

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Jeremy, they would have taken a bit of sanding. They were made of quite thick brass or bronze. (I've seen one).

I'll stick to my theory until proven wrong by documentation.

[Moderator's Note: This message and those that appear above it were originally a separate thread. MAB]
 
Apr 24, 2003
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A question about the lifeboat account on the
homepage:
Who changed the number of passengerss of each boat and why?
F.E. in the new version, the lifeboat 11 has only 33 people, boat 12 only 19.
I think that something went wrong.
 
E

Esther Graf

Guest
I just found a Web side only dedicated to the Titanic lifeboats. There is written:

Thirteen boats in all were taken to New York by Carpathia. The rescue ship arived at 8:00pm on April 18, but instead of stopping to dock at Cunard's pier,Carpathia steamed past and stopped at the White Star pier and dropped off Titanic's boats before coming back to the Cunard dock and unloading it's passengers.

That night curiosity seekers raided the boats looking for souvenirs, many name plates reading "S.S. Titanic" were stolen as well as boat numbers and White Star flags. Shortly after guards were posted to watch over them, and the remaining name plates, thought to be made of brass, were removed by White Star workers. White Star brought in inspectors from the Brooklin based C.M. Lane Lifeboat Company to inventory and assess the value of contents of the lifeboats, the total value of the boats and their equipment was set at $5446.31. The boats were then apparently stowed in a 2nd floor loft at the White Star Pier after which their where abouts are not fully known.

You can take a look at the inventory list of the boats there: http://www.geocities.com/Athens/Olympus/9989/cont1.html (I don't know if you already published it on this site).
 

Teresa Parks

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Sep 9, 2007
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Hi Everyone,
I have long since read in various sources about the whereabouts of the lifeboats - being re-used after all references of Titanic were removed. I know that is a best guess but there has to be documentation somewhere of what really happened to them. Perhaps a letter from a shipyard worker who had to haul them off - I would truly love to know the answer to this one. Does anyone know anything that hasn't been made known to the general public yet? Anyone? Please . . .
 
Dec 2, 2000
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>>I know that is a best guess but there has to be documentation somewhere of what really happened to them.<<

That may be true, but if there is or was, any such documentation may well be long lost. That or it's all buried in some archive gathering dust and waiting for some eagle eyed researcher to find it. These boats may well have been tied up in some of the litigation that followed the loss of the ship as assets to be used against claims. If not, boats being the minor equipment they were, it's not unlikely that there was no special attention paid to them at all.

Since I may well be mistaken on this, I'll defer to the opinions of those better versed in the legal stuff and British merchent navy practice then I am.
 

Noel F. Jones

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May 14, 2002
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There is further info.here:

[Link to previously separate subtopic, now combined with this one, deleted.]

Esther Graf’s post seems the most informative.

Noel
 

Dave Gittins

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Apr 11, 2001
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Following on Esther's post, I suggest that the lifeboats were kept in storage until at least 4 October 1912, when a US court granted White Star's petition for limited liability and ordered $96,000 paid into court.

Maybe the boats were then used on a ship. Being clinker built they may have by then been rather leaky, after surviving a New York summer and drying out.
 
May 1, 2010
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I have searched this site high and low, however I can't find any info, here or anywhere else. How can NOBODY possibly know what happened to Titanic's boats????? (The ones that made it to NYC at least.) I know that they were off-loaded at the White Star pier even before the survivors, then pillaged for souvenirs, but what the heck happened to them from there??? How can nobody know? And does anyone know? What is the bloomin' official story?
 
Dec 2, 2000
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>>What is the bloomin' official story?<<

The story is that there is no story whatever. At least none that anyone would have bothered to record. Boats were fairly minor equipment for any ship so if they weren't held in lien to cover any limitation of liability issues, I suspect they would have been issued to another ship without a second thought.
 

Dave Gittins

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Steven, the story is on some thread or other, but I agree that it's getting hard to find things.

It's known that the boats were held in New York for valuation, as their value was part of the amount claimable in civil damages cases under US law. That's quite a tale in itself. The boats and their contents were fully documented and quite a lot of gear escaped the souvenir hunters. The boats would have sat about somewhere until October 1912, when White Star paid into court $96,000, representing its liability under US law. (Unless special circumstances could be proved.)

White Star was then free to do what it liked with the boats. Eaton & Haas, quoting no source, say the boats was stored in a loft, where they fell into disrepair. This may be so, as the boats were of clinker construction, which tends to open up when allowed to dry out. The boats spent a New York summer on shore, which would have done them no good.

I could tell a funny tale about a ride in a "repaired" clinker boat, but only if I'm asked!
 

Eric Longo

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Aug 13, 2004
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Hi,
There is another thread around here somewhere by Thorsten T. (sp?) which addressed this issue, going into great detail regarding the supposed photo of Olympic with Titanic's lifeboats at Southampton.
Don Lynch said during the second part of the Cameron broadcast last week (when they were looking aft at a davit on the starboard boatdeck) that Titanic's lifeboats "were just sort of inventoried after they were taken to New York; thirteen of them were taken to New York and they were sent back to England and then used on the Olympic because there was such a shortage of lifeboats after the sinking of the Titanic disaster" - no doubt due to all the retrofitting. This is the case?

Best,
Eric Longo
 

Dave Gittins

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Apr 11, 2001
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OK. you asked for it!

In about 1965, I lived in the little town of Cowell, South Australia, on Franklin Harbour. Franklin Harbour is a large land-locked area that would be one of the great harbours of the world, if it actually had any water in it. The cockles duck their heads when boats go past.

A young chap that lived next door to me acquired a beat-up old clinker-built speedboat, powered by a big marinised car engine. He knew quite a bit about engines and got it into good condition.

The hull was more of a problem. The planks had dried out and it leaked like a sieve. He fixed the leaks, mostly with a polyester putty, sold in Australia as Plastibond. When painted, the boat looked fit for many a happy day of water skiing on the harbour.

We took the boat to the local ramp and launched it. The owner and two or three others climbed in. I took a front seat.

The mighty engine started promptly with a fine roar. The throttle was opened and the boat shot forward at a very satisfactory speed and was soon planing.

Within moments, the pressure of the water and the vibration of the engine were too much for the old hull and the Plastibond. Suddenly we found ourselves sitting in knee-deep water. The engine quit, the boat went sploshing off the plane and we were left wallowing about. We had covered less than 200 metres.

A mate with another boat towed us back to the ramp, where we spent a long time clearing the boat of water to make it light enough to put on the trailer.

Clinker construction can give good results, but it needs a good deal of TLC if it is to last. Sometimes even boats kept afloat develop leaks above the waterline. These show up when a load is taken on board.
 

Jason D. Tiller

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Dec 3, 2000
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That's definitely a funny story, but I bet you weren't laughing when it happened. I can imagine it being a big shock.

"When painted, the boat looked fit for many a happy day of water skiing on the harbour."

Just goes to show, that looks can be deceiving. While it may have appeared perfectly fine on the outside, the real story of the condition of her hull was about to be told out in the harbour.

"We had covered less than 200 metres."

Well, the boat decided pretty fast it had enough. Fortunately, the water that it was in, was shallow.
 
Dec 2, 2000
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>>Just goes to show, that looks can be deceiving.<<

Quite. I've lost count of the ships I've seen with nice gleaming coats of paint on the hull that were in fact badly in need of extended refit. My first was one example. The brightwork always shined, but by 1984, we were falling apart inside. Good thing we were going into the yards.
 
Dec 2, 2000
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Not exactly. The lifeboats taken on board the Carpathia were turned over to White Star and kept at the White Star pier as representative of the remaining assets of the ship. At some point, they were taken out of the water and into the building itself, after which they simply disappear from history.

It's not outside the realm of possibility that they were eventually used on another ship if they were determined to be in sound condition, but there are no surviving records that say one way or another.
 

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