Page 37 - British Inquiry into Loss of RMS Titanic Day 27 - 31
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look-out. 25427. It was rather low? - It was low. 25428. Twenty-five to 30 feet. I do not know whether you can tell us what the height of your forecastle was from the waterline? - Yes; the forecastle head would be just about 30 feet. 25429. Your two men were on the look-out then in the eyes of the vessel? - Yes. 25430. No report had been made to you? - No. 25431. Who was it saw it first, do you know? - Yes, I saw it first. 25432. Before the look-out men? - Yes, we saw all the icebergs first from the bridge. The Commissioner: I do not understand that. 25433. (The Attorney-General.) You were on the bridge with your officers, I presume? - Yes, the whole time. 25434. And each time, if I follow you, that an iceberg was seen, you picked it up first on your bridge? - Either one of my officers or myself, before the look-outs. 25435. Did you pick it up by sight, or by naked eye, or with binoculars? - At first with the naked eye. 25436. Do you find that you pick them up better with the naked eye than with binoculars? - It all depends. Sometimes yes, at other times not; it depends. 25437. How was it neither of the look-out men saw it or reported it to you? Why did not they see it before you? - Well, of course, they had all had warning about keeping a look-out for growlers and icebergs, previous to going on the look-out, and on the look-out also. You must understand, unless you know what you are looking for, if you see some very dim indistinct shape of some kind, anyone could take that as nothing at all - merely some shadow upon the water, or something of that kind; but people with experience of ice know what to look for, and can at once distinguish that it is a separate object on the water, and it must be only one thing, and that is ice. 25438. So that what it really comes to is this, if I follow you correctly, that it requires a man with some knowledge of icebergs, some experience of picking them up before he can detect them at night? - Precisely. 25439. That is to say, before he could detect them unless they were very close to him? - Yes. 25440. Do you employ on the “Carpathia” special look-out men, or are they some of your seamen who are told off as look-out men? - No, the seamen take it in turns, the whole watch right through. There are no special look-out men. 25441. So far as you know, had any of these men any experience in being amongst icebergs? - Not to my knowledge, but I should imagine some of them must have had, because several of them have been in the Cunard Company for years. 25442. On this North Atlantic track? - Oh, yes. 25443. And if they had been on this track for some years they must have seen icebergs? - I think so, yes, they must have done. 25444. Does it mean that on your bridge you and your officers were quicker in detecting them than any of the men on the look-out? - Well, about 75 percent of the objects that are seen at sea every day or night are picked up from the bridge first. Naturally the officer will take more interest in these things than a look-out man. I always trust to the bridge preferably to the men. 25445. (The Commissioner.) That is the point I had in my mind. I do not see any advantage in putting men in the eyes of the ship if you can pick up things from the bridge before them? - It does not necessarily say we shall pick them up quicker from the bridge, but naturally an officer is more on the qui vive; he is keener on his work than a man would be, and he knows what to look for. He is more intelligent than a sailor. 25446. (The Attorney-General.) And he has to act? - He has to act, certainly. 25447. He relies upon his eyesight, assisted by the look-out? - Yes, that is the position; we are assisted by the look-outs.
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