Page 34 - British Inquiry into Loss of RMS Titanic Day 19 - 22
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the pattern is to be produced. 20488. Very well. I do not think anything arises upon that. Then I see you give the size of these boats and their accommodation? - Yes, the size and accommodation I may say are furnished to us by the Board of Trade officially after measurement. 20489. That appears upon the paper? - I do not know whether it appears in that form. 20490. It appears on your proof which my Lord has before him; therefore I need not take up time by asking the question, but over the page you give the strength of these boats, the construction of them: “Keels of elm, stems and stern posts of oak, all clinker built of best selected well-seasoned yellow pine, double fastened with copper nails clinched over rooves; the timbers were of elm spaced about 9 inches apart, and the seats pitch-pine secured with galvanised iron double knees.” Now a question has been raised as to the ability of these boats to be lowered through the air, holding 60 people in them without buckling? - Yes. 20491. Will you just address yourself a little to that question? - I remembered when that point was first raised that I had actually seen one of the lifeboats on the “Olympic” in the air loaded with a weight which would correspond to the passengers, and I wrote for the date. On the 9th of May, 1911 - that was shortly before the “Olympic” left Belfast - we put into one of the lifeboats of the “Olympic” half-hundredweight weights distributed so as to represent a load equal to about 65 people, and then we raised and lowered the boat six times. It was done with the object of testing the electric boat winches, not with the object of testing the boat. I happened to see it coming up one time myself after the weights had been removed (the boat was lowered without weights into the water), and there was nothing the matter with her; she was watertight. I do not think there was any doubt the boats were strong enough to be lowered containing the full number of passengers, and I think that it was in the evidence of Wheat that he lowered a boat with about 70 in her. I think that confirms our Belfast test. 20492. I suppose there was a little specification for these boats; were they designed by you? - We design and construct them ourselves. 20493. And you designed them for that purpose? - We designed them for that purpose. 20494. (The Commissioner.) They are constructed for the purpose of carrying that number? - Of carrying that number and of being lowered - sufficiently strong to be lowered with that number. 20495. Where can they be lowered from except from the davits on the boat deck? That is the only place you can lower them from? - It was a boat under davits that was being tested. 20496. And therefore they must be constructed with the object of carrying this number of people when slung out on the davits? - Certainly. 20497. And keeping them in the boats until the boats reach the water? - Quite. The Commissioner: I do not see what good the boats would be otherwise. 20498. (Mr. Rowlatt.) It is not contemplated they would go round and take people from the gangway? - That, of course, is a question of sea discipline; but we feel that we must provide, at any rate, that the boats can be lowered from the boat deck with their full number, whatever way they are actually used. 20499. And you say you did so provide? - To the best of our knowledge and belief we did so. 20500. And so far as the evidence in this case goes that answered? - Yes; and so far as the test to which I have referred has gone, it showed they would. Very well, I think we can pass from that. 20501. (The Commissioner.) Would the officers on board this ship have any knowledge or instruction as to the number that the boats were intended to carry? - Not from the builders, my Lord. As far as I know there was no special direct intimation given to the officers that they would carry their full number, but I should have thought it was a matter of general knowledge that they were so constructed. If I had thought there was any doubt on the matter in the officers’
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