Why were additional lifeboats introduced after RMS Titanic?

Hanan96

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Feb 6, 2017
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I always wonder about this things. After Titanic sink, every ship must carry enough lifeboat for everyone
at first I tought because if titanic bring enough lifeboat,everybody saved. But in fact, they dont even have enough time to launch their lifeboats (2 last lifeboat weren't properly launched) . so additional lifeboat for titanic wont made any differences


so I wonder, why did additional lifeboat were instructed after titanic sank? there are many shipwreck before titanic. if this just mere for precaution, then lifeboat for everyone policy should be there even before Titanic.
 
Sep 19, 2004
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Mount Maunganui, New Zealand
In terms of the lifeboat situation leading up to the loss of the Titanic, it was (arguably) a mixture of regulations not keeping up with the rapidly increasing size of liners, and a number of assumptions about how ships would sink (e.g. liners increasingly being their own lifeboat, would take a relatively long time to sink if at all, and wireless would summon aid in time, etc)... assumptions that were found to be tragically flawed on the early hours of April 15 1912.

Had there been boats for all on the Titanic it would have made a significant difference on the night.

While the last two Collapsible boats were floated off the Titanic with only 20 lifeboats, if we assume lifeboats for all, we'd also assume that all Titanic crew and passengers would also have been assigned a specific lifeboat. So rather than the situation the Titanic crew faced on the night of (broadly) trying to find and load the women and children first, the drama and sometimes failure to separate families, and the need to tread somewhat softly in the process to avoid a panic and a rush on the boats... in a scenario of lifeboats for all on Titanic, groups of 60 - 65 men, women, and children would have known that their boat station was Boat #27 and gone there between 12.15am and 12.45am-ish once summonsed on the order of Captain Smith.

You'd also assume (or hope!) that the crew would have been assigned to each boat or trained in a way that those at each boat station would have done some or most of the work of getting their assigned boat uncovered etc so that launching would be quicker on the whole for the deck crew.

In a worst case scenario with launching of boats for all on April 15 1912, 1,500 people would at least have had a starters chance of at attempting to float their own boat off in the last desperate minutes... some towards the forward end of the Boat Deck might even have succeeded. People would still have been lost, but at least everyone on board would have had a chance at survival.
 
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chrs burton

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Sep 11, 2016
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A lack of a lifeboat space for each passenger was certainly significant as regards the wrecking of the Titanic - calm water; ship not heeling over far enough to impede the lowering of the lifeboats

BUT

most wrecks involve one or more of

1/ far from imperfect weather, which often upsets the boats as the meet the water - certainly half of them on one side of the vessel will be hit from underneath by waves

2/ heeling of the wreck due to coliision / impact / flooding on one side / running aground causing heeling - interfering with the lowering of the boats directly into the sea

3/ passenger fear of heights - swinging on ropes five stories up is not for the faint of heart; passengers seeing a previous boat being upset and deciding to die quietly instead

4/ general disorder and panic - how do you get everyone off one side of the ship anyway


This means that the appropriate number of lifeboat places would be more like THREE times the number of persons needing to leave the "stricken" vessel, to allow for all the boats along one side of the ship, and also a certain number on the other side to be unavailable for deployment due to one reason or another.

Of course that is neither excuse nor reason for killing a thousand persons in your care in the single event of a single full set of lifeboats actually being sufficient, however rare that event might be - unique as far as I know . . .

Modern lifeboats involve equipping people with dry suits and helmets, strapping them into their seats and shooting them off into mid air to clear the hull in the event of any heeling - it just never seems to happen does it - not on my telly news anyway . . . if for no other reason than the chain of command breaks down in an instant

I seem to recall reading some of the Captains of the time opining that lifeboats and lookouts up the mast ( on a large ship like Titanic where the bridge is almost at mast height for, say the Californian ) is were both of limited use
 
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Aaron_2016

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In 1911 Captain Alfred Young was asked by the Marine Department of the Board of Trade to give his opinion on the possible increase of lifeboats for passenger ships. Captain Young replied to them in March 1911. The contents of his letter said -


"......What avail would a large number of boats be if there were not enough deckhands to properly tend them when launched in an emergency, i.e., not enough seamen trained to pull an oar and to steer? But even supposing there were enough sailors to man the boats, assuming for this purpose a proportion of firemen and stewards able to handle an oar, the question still remains, what number of boats would be deemed reasonable, and why should any particular number above the present scale be deemed necessary,"



A year later when the Titanic sank the survivors remarked how difficult it was to row the lifeboats owing to a lack of sailors. Although some had plenty of crew (Lifeboat One had just 12 people in it - 5 passengers and 7 crewmen), others had too few crewmen and it was up to the women passengers to row the lifeboats. As each lifeboat left the ship fewer and fewer crewmen remained to take charge and row the remaining boats. Survivors were asked why they did not rescue the people in the water. Survivor John Poingdestre was asked:


Q - What was the nearest do you think that you got to any of these cries?
A - I reckoned about 100 yards.

Q - And then did they cease?
A - Yes.

Q - Can you account for that?
A - I can account for not going to the position where I ought to have been.

Q - Well, will you tell us?
A - There were not enough sailors in my boat, only me and my mate, and we could not get there.

Q - Get where?
A - To where the hallows were coming from. The cries.


Here is a photo taken aboard the Olympic in 1912 shortly after the Titanic sank. She has additional lifeboats placed on her boat deck. Not sure how easy they would have been to attach to the davits and swing out especially if the ship was listing to one side.



lifeboatsOlympic.PNG



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Aaron_2016

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That photo is not aboard Olympic.

I believe it is. Found the photo on Ancestry.com which states it is the Olympic in 1912. It has been submitted multiple times and their names appear on the passenger list.



Olympic1912.PNG



All 3 passengers have been identified and appear on the Olympic's passenger list for July 1912.


passengers1a.PNG

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Mar 18, 2008
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It is not Olympic! The Deck even did not resemble that of Olympic. The davits are of the old fashioned tube type and not welin. The lifeboats are wrong too (no WSL or number sign) and what is doing boat No. 15 aside boat No. 9?
In April 1912 Olympic got Berthon type collapsible boats and no wooden lifeboats.
 

Harland Duzen

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I agree. it doesn't match the Olympic-class design after April 1912 or known White Star line convention for davit or lifeboat signage design. the picture below is either a real or replica of how the plaques should appear.

titanic-nameplate.jpg
 
Mar 18, 2008
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Here is the aft boat deck of Olympic in Southampton (during the firemen's strike) after the berthon boats had been put aboard. We see under the welin davits lifeboats Nos. 9, 11 & 15. Boat 13 had been lowered and the davits are swung inside to lower the berhon collapsible.

485486_140396256145597_844790803_n.jpg
 
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Aaron_2016

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Just stating what Ancestry said. The person who submitted the family photo to Ancestry said it was the Olympic (perhaps there was an inscription on the back of the photo) and they found the names of the 3 passengers which they identified are on the Olympic's passenger list for July 1912. Could they have more davits rigged to the Olympic and a railing to accommodate more lifeboats temporarily on the deck until proper safety measures were met?

Looking closer at the photo I can see the White Star Line flag emblem. It is very faded. Either the photo has faded the clarity of the flag, or possibly it was removed by souvenir hunters, exposing the mark of where the flag was mounted.




Olympiclifeboat1.PNG



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Mar 18, 2008
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No it is not Olympic! No extra rail and no extra davits! Also the boats had the number only which would be 15 and not "No 15"
I can not see a white star flag. Titanic's boats never went aboard Olympic they were in New York at the 2nd floor loft between piers 58 & 59 where they remained until least December 1912.

The photo is wrong captioned to be aboard Olympic, just simple.
 

Harland Duzen

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What the most simplest explanation for the confusion above is that the Passengers above Did travel on the Olympic in July 1912, but at an earlier or later date Also travelled on an another ship of another line where this photo was taken. Then when the ancestor saw this photo and discovered it, they likely Weren't An Expert on the Olympic Class and thus how the historical mixup occurred!
 
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Aaron_2016

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No it is not Olympic! No extra rail and no extra davits! Also the boats had the number only which would be 15 and not "No 15"
I can not see a white star flag. Titanic's boats never went aboard Olympic they were in New York at the 2nd floor loft between piers 58 & 59 where they remained until least December 1912.

The photo is wrong captioned to be aboard Olympic, just simple.

I can use exclamation marks too! ;) Again, I only stated what the relative believed the ship to be as they sailed on the Olympic in 1912 and they believed that photo was taken aboard her. I can see the shape of a flag at the bow of the lifeboat. Surprised you can't see it. Wonder what ship it is, and if this was another White Star liner in 1912 which had additional lifeboats placed on the deck owing to the Titanic sinking?


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Harland Duzen

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Just remember everyone, us Titanic Historians /Fans/Experts have decades of experience studying every picture, deck plan and description available along with all the passenger testimony both from themselves and the inquiries. But for those passengers and tourists of later years, they took their word by face value (hence why dozens of Titanic postcards with Olympic on them exist) and it's up to us to tell right from wrong.
 
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Aaron_2016

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Very true. Here is another photo on Ancestry which is said to be the Olympic, but looking at the deck expansion joint, the high railing, and lifeboat configuration, one has to wonder.




shipOlympic.PNG



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Harland Duzen

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Just stating what Ancestry said. The person who submitted the family photo to Ancestry said it was the Olympic (perhaps there was an inscription on the back of the photo) and they found the names of the 3 passengers which they identified are on the Olympic's passenger list for July 1912. Could they have more davits rigged to the Olympic and a railing to accommodate more lifeboats temporarily on the deck until proper safety measures were met?

Looking closer at the photo I can see the White Star Line flag emblem. It is very faded. Either the photo has faded the clarity of the flag, or possibly it was removed by souvenir hunters, exposing the mark of where the flag was mounted.
View attachment 2586
perhaps the ship and it's lifeboats were from a White Star ship that was later sold to another line, this could explain the outline of the flag and the simalarity. They since removed the plaques leaving the outline.
 
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Aaron_2016

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Interesting. I wonder if there was a great urgency to purchase additional lifeboats immediately following the Titanic sinking, as shipping lines would certainly feel the pressure to secure the full safety of their passengers without delay.


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Mar 12, 2011
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Just remember everyone, us Titanic Historians /Fans/Experts have decades of experience studying every picture, deck plan and description available along with all the passenger testimony both from themselves and the inquiries. But for those passengers and tourists of later years, they took their word by face value (hence why dozens of Titanic postcards with Olympic on them exist) and it's up to us to tell right from wrong.
That's fair, but there was no need for Ioannis to jump down his throat over the disagreement. Yelling at someone for being genuinely mistaken isn't very nice. Especially when they were trying to contribute to the discussion with information from what they believed to be a credible source.