Page 48 - British Inquiry into Loss of RMS Titanic Day 23 - 26
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23231. (The Commissioner.) Have you considered to what extent the lifeboat accommodation could be used in a rough sea? - Yes, my Lord, I have considered it very seriously. 23232. To what extent do you think the lifeboat accommodation on both sides of the ship could be used in a rough sea? - Of course that would depend in the first place whether the vessel was so disabled that when she got the boats on one side down into the water, she would be able to slew round and make a lee-side of the other side and get the other boats down. 23233. I am not a nautical man and I have not quite grasped that. You would not in such circumstances contemplate lowering the boats simultaneously on both sides of the ship? - If it could be done, of course it would be an advantage. 23234. Could it be done in a rough sea? - No, I do not think it could, my Lord. 23235. Then you could only lower the boats on the lee-side and then turn the ship round? - Yes, that is it. 23236. And make the other side of the ship the lee-side? - Quite so. 23237. And get the boats down? - Quite so. 23238. That would be the only way of doing it? - That is so. 23239. And if you could not do that, that is to say, turn the boat round, the boats on one side of the ship would be quite useless or nearly useless? - Practically useless, unless there were means on board such as ways provided, that is, skids on which the boats were chocked so that you could slide the boats across. 23240. Across the deck? - Across the deck. It is not an impracticable measure that could be provided for. 23241. Is that ever done? - It is done, yes. 23242. On what boats? There was no such provision on the “Titanic” so far as I know? - Some of the inboard boats that are carried on certain vessels have this arrangement; they are chocked on skids right across the ship, and they could be used for either side. 23243. Are the lifeboats chocked in the middle of the deck? - Quite so, right across. 23244. Then those boats are not hanging on davits? - No, they are not; they are inboard boats. Those boats are additional to the boats under davits. 23245. Additional? - Yes, additional. 23246. Has it occurred to you that if you can only utilise one side of the steamer, subject to this observation about the chocked boats which you have spoken about, you must have double the number of boats; you must have sufficient boats each side to accommodate the passengers? - That would not be practicable on a passenger steamer, not to have boats on each side for all. 23247. Does it then come to this, that it is not practicable to have boats on board a ship such as the “Titanic” which would be sufficient for all passengers if the vessel was in a rough sea? - Quite so. 23248. Is that so? - That is so. 23249. You follow my question? - It is not practicable. 23250. So that, except in the case of a calm sea such as we know the “Titanic” was in, however many boats you had, you could not possibly save all the lives in the boats? - Of course, under the calm conditions of the sea when the “Titanic” went down, it would be hard to say whether all the boats, if she had had the boats that are contemplated, could have been put down. 23251. I do not think you are quite following my question. It is in fact a statement of what I understand your evidence to be: If the sea is rough so that it becomes impracticable to lower the boats upon one side of the ship, and you cannot get the boat round in the way you have suggested, is it then practicable to have sufficient boats on board the vessel to save all the lives? - It is not practicable. The Commissioner: I think, Mr. Scanlan, the evidence seems to point to that, more or less, that there may be conditions when it is not possible to meet the difficulty by means of lifeboats.
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