Page 171 - British Inquiry into Loss of RMS Titanic Day 10 -13
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up to the Board of Trade offices in Southampton, pays 1s., and applies for his eye test. 14448. To the Board of Trade? - To the Board of Trade, and he then goes into a room and he goes through a form of examination. If that is satisfactory he has his certificate to that effect. 14449. Did anyone examine the certificates of those men to see if they had been recently tested or not? - I could not say. 14450. Will you admit, in view of the importance of the duties which look-out men have to perform, that there should be a proper eye test? - Oh, yes. I think it is quite a reasonable precaution, and is maintained in the White Star, and I may say only the White Star. 14451. Had you in the White Star any system of drilling and training seamen for manning lifeboats? - Oh, yes. 14452. Did you train them on the “Titanic”? - No, except in Belfast. We put some boats in the water there. I think that was done by the builders though. 14453. So far as the officers were concerned there was no testing of the men in lifeboat practice? - Oh, yes, in Southampton as well we put boats in the water and the men were put in. 14454. How many? - Probably 8 and a quartermaster in each boat. 14455. How many boats? - Two boats. 14456. Do not you think it would be a proper thing to have all the boats lowered before the commencement of a voyage and to give the men who would ultimately be the crews of those boats some practice in the manning and navigation of them? - I am afraid that is hardly practicable. You can send a seaman to any boat; if he is a sailor he is perfectly at home in a boat or wherever he is sent. But you see with regard to firemen it seems hardly practicable to have all the firemen up on deck at that particular time, and the stewards. 14457. If the capacity of a fireman for handling a lifeboat is of any account it is necessary to give him some training, is it not? - Oh, yes. 14458. Can you suggest any other way for giving this training than giving it at the port before the commencement of a voyage, or at its conclusion? - Yes, either before the commencement or after the conclusion of a voyage. 14459. So you agree that would be a desirable thing to do apart from the question of convenience? - Anything that would tend to the safety of a ship would be desirable. 14460. You agree with that, I take it? - Well, I do not altogether agree with you as a matter of fact, because, as events proved, it was not necessary to have the firemen there. 14461. In order to ensure the efficiency of the crews for the manning of lifeboats, do you agree it would be desirable to give them practice in the manning of the boats? - If a man is to be made proficient in the working of a lifeboat naturally he must have practice. 14462. I suggest the suitable time is in port either before the commencement or at the termination of the trip? - That can be done in any boat; not necessarily in the ship’s boats. You could have a system of training of firemen. They might be trained on shore to be accustomed to boats. The lowering of a boat, of course, is a different matter. 14463. And similarly for stewards? - Yes. 14464. Do you think it would be desirable to give certificates for proficiency? - I am afraid that is hardly for me to answer. It is rather a big question. 14465. I quite realise that. Now, as to the provisioning of lifeboats we have heard a good deal of that, and I want to ask you is it the usual practice to put into lifeboats at the commencement of the voyage the equipment prescribed by the Board of Trade? - The Board of Trade takes particular care that you have got the equipment. 14466. Are those articles of equipment put into the boat before the commencement of the voyage? - I may say they are there all the time. 14467. They are in the boat all the time? - Yes, that is it, they are kept in the boats. 14468. In the lifeboats? - Yes.
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