107 #73: If Titanic had had more lifeboats, everybody could have been saved

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FALSE. Titanic already carried enough lifeboats for all of the 534 women and children on board and more than an equal number of men, as her lifeboat capacity was 1,178. Yet only 711 people survived the disaster and 50 of these were saved (or saved themselves) from the water (or by jumping into lifeboats as they were being lowered). In fact Titanic’s officers only managed to launch two of the four collapsible lifeboats which Titanic carried, and these had a capacity of 47 people each. Moreover, the 18 lifeboats they did launch left the ship only two-thirds full, with enough space left in them to save 423 more people from Titanic’s decks.

Titanic’s first lifeboat to be launched was No. 7, at 12.45 a.m. and her last one, Collapsible D, was launched at 2.05 a.m. Therefore her officers managed to launch 18 lifeboats in one hour and twenty minutes. This is an average of one lifeboat every four minutes and twenty-four seconds. This may seem fast, until one realises that during the 25 minutes it took to launch her first 6 lifeboats (No’s 7, 5, 3, 8, 1 and 6, respectively) none of her stern 8 were being lowered (No’s 9 to 16); and during the 25 minutes it took to launch her stern 8 lifeboats, none of her remaining forward 6 were being lowered. This is because, of Titanic’s 862 crew, only about 50 were Able Seamen, including Officers, Lookouts and Quartermasters, and only a handful of these were experienced hands who could be really useful in launching lifeboats safely and efficiently. Moreover, six were sent to open Titanic’s gangway doors and were never seen again; and at least two Able Seamen were sent off in each lifeboat, rapidly depleting those available to launch the remaining boats.

If Titanic had had twice as many lifeboats, sufficient to carry all on board, she would have needed twice the number of deck crew, or certainly those she did have would have needed to be very much better trained in launching lifeboats and better organized.

If you’d like to read the full book of101 Things You Thought You Knew About The Titanic…But Didn’t!, or any of my other books on Titanic, please visit my Author Page on Amazon here: https://www.amazon.co.uk/tim-maltin/e/B005LNHYEQ/ref=ntt_dp_epwbk_1

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