Page 52 - British Inquiry into Loss of RMS Titanic Day 23 - 26
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depth in order to increase the cubic capacity. The Board thereupon wrote to the Advisory Committee on 17th May, asking whether it would be advisable to prescribe a maximum depth for boats, compared with their breadth, and, if so, what that proportion should be.” I may state here this is the preliminary investigation which preceded the experiments which were inaugurated after my assertions. “On the 19th May, the Advisory Committee applied semi- officially for particulars as to the length, breadth, and depth of various kinds of lifeboats in use in the mercantile marine, and on the 24th May the Board forwarded reports from Principal Officers giving the desired information for the various kinds of boats on typical ships. The Advisory Committee replied to the Board on the various matters under consideration on the 4th July,” - that is the 4th July, 1911 - “and, as regards the proportions of ship’s boats, recommended the alteration of the Life-saving Appliances Rules to provide that, in future, the depth of lifeboats should not exceed 14 percent of their breadth.” We had this the other day, my Lord. “This th recommendation was submitted to the Principal Ship Surveyor on the 8th July, and on the 11 July he suggested that Principal Officers might test different types of boat with a full complement of persons, and report the result of the tests with reference to height of gunwale, stability, and the use of the oars.” This second series of experiments was in consequence of the assertions which I have referred to. “This suggestion was approved on the 15th July, and a minute was sent to the Principal Officers at London, Liverpool, and Glasgow on the 21st July requesting that practical tests should be made with a view to determining - (a) a standard type of boat, (b) a maximum depth, (c) a maximum proportion of depth to breadth, and that full details should be given, with drawings of the best and worst forms tested, and notes on the height of gunwales, use of the oars, and the question of stability. The first report was received from the London Principal Officer on August 25th, and related to two boats that had been tested. (a) A Section A boat, calculated accommodation for sixty-six persons. This boat, when fully loaded, was overcrowded and top-heavy, and could not have gone outside the dock gate. It would have been well loaded with ten men less.” That is one of the first experiments, my Lord. “(b) A Section D boat of similar dimensions, to carry eighty-two persons. The test showed that even if such a number could have been put into the boat it would have been unsafe. A further report from the London Principal Officer was received on September 19th, and gave results of tests as follows: (a) September 3rd, Captain Clarke, at Southampton, examined one of the strongest and roomiest boats he could find. When fully loaded, it was very crowded, and a little tender. (b) September 5th, Captain Clarke examined a D boat, with very fine lines; a poor type. This boat had calculated accommodation for 29 persons; with the divisor 8 this number was excessive, and even with a divisor of 10 the calculated number would have been too large. The gunwale was put awash by one man moving from port to starboard. Captain Clarke considered the boat would th capsize in a moderate sea with only 24 persons. (c) September 12 . Mr. Cheyney, at Yarmouth, found a D boat, built to hold 10 persons, unstable with that number in it. (d) September 15th, Captain Griffith tested a Section A boat in one of the London Docks. This boat was 4.1 feet deep, and was calculated to hold 66. In order to get the men in, they had to sit on the gunwale, and the boat was unstable in perfectly still water. (e) On September 16th, Mr. Penney, of London, suggested the divisor 12, instead of 10 or 8, for determining the number of persons a boat would accommodate. On November 3rd the Glasgow Principal Officer forwarded reports of tests as follows: (a) Mr. Gemmell’s report, dated 25th October, referred to the inspection and testing of eight boats of various types. They were all found to be satisfactory. (b) Mr. Sullivan, on 3rd November, reported having examined five boats, of which four were quite satisfactory, affording ample space, and the other, a steel Section A boat, was unstable, being built on fine th lines. The report from the Liverpool Principal Officer (which was dated the 11 November) was stated to have been delayed owing to the recent labour troubles. The Principal Officer forwarded details by Mr. Jenkins, the Senior Ship Surveyor, of eight tests that he had made. Of these, four
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