Encyclopedia Titanica

Lifeboat Specifications

Description of the design and construction of Titanic's lifeboats


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Lifeboat Specifications

The design of Titanic's lifeboats was supervised by Chief Ships Draughtsman Roderick Chisholm and the boats were constructed at the Harland and Wolff works in Belfast. The lifeboat davits were designed by Axel Welin and supplied by the Welin Davit Co. The special "Quadrant, Double-Acting" design was supposed to enable the stowage and lowering of up to four boats per davit. Although early designs for the ship allowed for this, when the Titanic sailed she only had one boat per davit (apart from boat stations 1 and 2 which also accommodated the collapsible boats.

Emergency Lifeboats x 2

1 wood cutter
25 ft. 2 in. Long
7 ft. 2 in. Broad
3 ft. deep
326·6 cubic ft.
Capacity: 40 persons.

1 wood cutter,
23 ft. 2 in. Long
7 ft. 1 in. Broad
3 ft. deep
322·1 cubic ft.,
Capacity: 40 persons.

Standard Lifeboats x 14

Wood constructions
30 ft. long
9 ft. 1 in. Broad
4 ft. deep
655·2 cubic ft.
Capacity: 65 persons.

Englehardt Collapsible Lifeboats x 4

27 ft. 5 in. Long
8 ft. broad
3 ft. deep
376·6 cubic ft.
Capacity: 47 persons.

The lifeboats had a total of 11327.9 cubic ft., sufficient for 1,178 persons.

The lifeboats and cutters were constructed as follows: -

The keels were of elm. The stems and stern posts were of oak. They were all clinker-built of yellow pine, double fastened with copper nails, clinched over rooves. The timbers were of elm, spaced about 9 in. apart, and the seats pitch pine secured with galvanized iron double knees. 'The buoyancy tanks in the lifeboats were of 18 oz. copper, and of capacity to meet the Board of Trade requirements.

The lifeboats were fitted with Murray's disengaging gear with arrangements for simultaneously freeing both ends if required. The gear was fastened at a suitable distance from the forward and after ends of the boats, to suit the davits. Lifelines were fitted around the gunwales of the lifeboats. The davit blocks were treble for the lifeboats and double for the cutters. They were of elm, with lignum vitae roller sheaves, and were bound inside with iron, and had swivel eyes. There were manila rope falls of sufficient length for lowering the boats to the vessel's light draft, and when the boats were lowered, to be able to reach to the boat winches on the Boat deck.

The lifeboats were stowed on hinged wood chocks on the Boat deck, by groups of three at the forward, and four at the after ends. On each side of the Boat deck the cutters were arranged forward of the group of three and fitted to lash outboard as emergency boats. They were immediately abaft the navigating bridge.

The Englehardt collapsible lifeboats were stowed abreast of the cutters, one on each side of the ship, and the remaining two on top of the officers' house, immediately abaft the navigating bridge.

The boat equipment was in accordance with the Board of Trade requirements. Sails for each lifeboat and cutter were supplied and stowed in painted bags. Covers were supplied for the lifeboats and cutters, and a sea anchor for each boat. Every lifeboat was furnished with a special spirit boat compass and fitting for holding it; these compasses were carried in a locker on the Boat deck. A provision tank and water beaker were supplied to each boat.

Each lifeboat had a cast brass plaque with "SS Titanic" in relief as well as a plate in the shape of the White Star burgee.

Lifeboat Plaque

A brass lifeboat plaque believed from lifeboat number 12. Thought to have been in the possession of third-class survivor Margaret Devaney, before being sold in the 1960s and then auctioned in 1987 and again in 2019.

Wreck Commissioners' Court, Proceedings before the Right Hon. Lord Mersey on a Formal Investigation Ordered by the Board of Trade into the Loss of the S.S. Titanic
John P. Eaton & Charles A. Haas (1994) Titanic: Triumph & Tragedy, 2nd ed. Patrick Stephens Ltd. ISBN 1 85260 493 X
Henry Aldridge & Son (27 April 2019)

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  1. leesayer leesayer

    Interested in the oars that were used,such as length,type of blade,oar locks and etc..

  2. rogerdudley rogerdudley

    I may have a marker-rescue light. That maybe the type used in LIFEBOAT, Titainc..ask me why I think that. Part of the on board sea servival equ.

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Encyclopedia Titanica (2003) Lifeboat Specifications (Titanica!, , ref: #1161, published 28 August 2003, generated 25th March 2023 10:37:17 AM); URL : https://www.encyclopedia-titanica.org/lifeboat-specifications.html