Page 174 - British Inquiry into Loss of RMS Titanic Day 10 -13
P. 174
The Commissioner: I do not think at present you need spend very much time on this. Mr. Scanlan: I agree, my Lord. 14491. (The Commissioner.) There are two or three matters about the boats I should like to ask a question on. (To the Witness.) I want to know whether you knew that those boats were not intended to be lowered full of people. Did you know that? - We have no instructions to that effect, my Lord, but I knew that it was not practicable to lower them full of people. 14492. Had you any reason to suppose that they were weaker than they should have been? - No. I have not had much experience with these Englehardt collapsible boats. 14493. I am not talking about collapsible boats merely, but the lifeboats? - I should not think they were capable of being lowered full of people. They may be. I have never seen them full of people, but if they are only supposed to carry 65 people afloat, it hardly seems feasible that they would carry 65 people when suspended at each end. It does not seem seamanlike to fill a boat chock full of people when it is only suspended at each end. It is to guard principally against accidents in lowering. That must be taken into consideration a very great deal - the fact that you have to lower a boat from a great height and get her safely into the water. It is of more importance to get the boat into the water than it is to actually fill her at the boat deck, because it is no use filling her if you are going to lose those people before you get her down; it is far better to save a few and safely. 14494. (Mr. Scanlan.) Do you think you could have filled the boat still more in the water? - Undoubtedly. 14495. If your organisation had been complete? - I do not see the organisation would have prevented the ship sinking. 14496. I know it would not? - It was that that prevented us putting the people in. 14497. A better organisation might have allowed you to instruct the men who were in the boats to come alongside so that you could fill up with passengers from the gangway if you could have done it. The Commissioner: What occurs to me about that Mr. Scanlan is this, that the order was, and I suppose quite a proper order, that women and children were to go first. Now it appears to me that you might have great difficulty indeed in putting the women and children down a rope ladder hanging from these gangway doors. That might be a very difficult thing to do. Mr. Scanlan: In the hope that some improvement might result from this Inquiry, I have been instructed to bring those suggestions up. The Commissioner: You are quite right; in fact, I am much indebted to you for what you are doing. 14498. (Mr. Scanlan.) Thank you, my Lord. (To the Witness.) I suggest to you that it was a long time, the two hours and ten minutes, I think that is the time you were engaged in lowing Nos. 4, 6 and 8, and the collapsible boat - it was a long time, I suggest to take for the lowering of that number of boats? - No, I do not think half an hour can be considered a very great length of time. Of course, you will understand that the times I have given you are very approximate. And if you take half an hour to uncover a boat and get the falls out and of absolute necessity get them coiled down clear, then get your strong backs out, then get your boat hove out, pass the mast and sails as I did out of some of the boats in order to get more people in, and then lowering these boats carefully down to the water, when you were conducting that operation practically on board the ship you would find that would occupy a good part of half an hour - put it at twenty minutes, say - to do it carefully. 14499. I suggest to you that if you had had better equipment you might have got them down simultaneously - better equipment and more men? - As far as I understand, we had the best equipment of any vessel afloat. I do not know of any better equipment. 14500. Some question arises as to the number of your lifeboats. It took all of your officers and
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