Page 197 - British Inquiry into Loss of RMS Titanic Day 14 - 18
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would be normal fine weather in the Atlantic, that is to say, in an ordinary sea such as you find in the Atlantic. I do not think, in my judgment - I may be quite wrong - that any of those lifeboats would be seaworthy with 65 people in them. 19173. Have you formed any judgment how many people they would carry in normal fine weather in the Atlantic? - I am not an expert. 19174. But surely your Board has been considering it? - I should think a matter of 40 people would be quite enough to put into them. 19175. (The Commissioner.) I do not know whether any one has ever considered the possibility of moving lifeboats from one side of the ship to the other? - It has often been considered, my Lord, and there are various suggestions made recently more particularly, but I have not myself seen any which I think are practicable. If a vessel is rolling about, as you must expect it to be in the Atlantic, to handle a boat which weighs anywhere from a ton to a ton-and-a-half, and move her about under those conditions, and bring her into a position where she can be reached by the tackles and the davits on the lee-side, would be a most difficult if not a dangerous operation. 19176. (The Solicitor-General.) Have you or your colleagues considered at all whether it would be practicable to have any form of life-saving craft, not a boat - one has heard suggestions, for instance, that a portion of the deck, or a portion of the structure, might be detachable in some way. Has that been before you? - The only practical thing that has been suggested to us, and that has in fact been adopted, is to have certain seats made which are of the nature of life-rafts. Over and above that we are putting life-rafts pure and simple on the ships which will give flotation in the event of a vessel foundering. 19177. What do you mean by a life-raft; what is it? - I mean a raft in the ordinary sense of the word, a flat raft built upon tanks with life lines round it. 19178. And you say you are at this time providing some of those? - We are putting some of those on. 19179. Now where do you carry them? - Well, we are putting them on the boat deck. 19180. On the boat deck? - Yes. I cannot say whether that has been done, but we have told certain ships where the accommodation on the boat deck is restricted, that they can carry them in nests on the hatches. 19181. One above the other? - Yes, the idea being that if we should have the misfortune to lose a ship these things would float away, and they would be there for the purposes of flotation. 19182. With regard to these life-rafts which you speak of had you made any use of them or provided them before the “Titanic” disaster, or is it in consequence of it? - Only to a very limited extent; we had some, but very few. 19183. Of course, in order to launch more lifeboats you would require more men to man them and launch them than if you had a smaller number, obviously. Have you considered the matter from that point of view, having regard to your existing crews? - I think we have plenty of people on board the ship, given a reasonable amount of boat experience. You do not need to put extra hands on. When you consider the crew we had on the “Titanic,” one-half of them were never near the boats at all for the purpose of launching them. 19184. Will you repeat that? - When you consider the number of crew we had on board her, I should think probably a very large proportion of them took no part in the launching of the boats; they were not needed. 19185. You had a crew of 800 or 900? - 894, I believe. 19186. Yes, just on 900. You think that crew would be sufficient in number, assuming that it had practice, to deal with a larger number of boats? - More than sufficient. All they want is a moderate knowledge of what is required. 19187. I am coming to their practice in a moment. Now there is one other thing about it you might tell me. Can you help us at all as to this suggestion that at one time they had contemplated
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