Page 156 - British Inquiry into Loss of RMS Titanic Day 32 - 36
P. 156
the boat, and there it ends, and after all, the ship is travelling at the time, and there is no question of lowering the boats into the water and practicing; they cannot do that, but it has just that element in it which is of itself of some importance. The Commissioner: Must every man of the thousand who constitute the crew take part in lowering the boats, or is it confined to the deckhands? The Attorney-General: Yes, the seamen. The Commissioner: I am told that at a boat muster the boats are swung out. The Attorney-General: Yes, swung out, but not lowered. The Commissioner: I do not think it is suggested that when they get out into the ocean the boats are lowered. The Attorney-General: No, because the vessel is travelling at 22 knots at the time, but they are swung out, certainly; I think we have heard something about that. Mr. Cotter: My experience of 18 years is that the men get a boat badge, and the number of the boat is on the badge; for instance, No. 2 lifeboat would be on the badge, and the man would have to go to No. 2. A bugle goes, and they know by the bugle, and they go to their boat stations, and the order goes, “All hands to the deck.” The men stand by the boats, and the officer in charge of the boat has a small book, with the list of names of that boat in that book, and he calls out the names of the men, and each man has to reply what he is, whether he is a fireman, steward, or cook; every man has to answer to his name. The officer who is in charge of the drill gives the order so many men in the boats; there are eight men told off for a boat; each seat in the boat is numbered. No. 1 is a sailor, No. 2 is a fireman, No. 3 is a steward, No. 4 is a fireman, No. 5 is a sailor, No. 6 is a steward, and No. 7 and No. 8 is a sailor and fireman. That makes three stewards, three firemen and two sailors in a boat. The sailors’ duty is chiefly to look after the falls and tackles; then order for swinging out the boats comes, and the whole of the men, the spare men, stand by, and launch the boats out. They may lower some right down to the water's edge. The Commissioner: Do you mean out at sea? Mr. Cotter: No; this is only done in port, and that is how the men get knowledge of how to handle the boats. This is done regularly in the Cunard Line, both in New York and in Liverpool. The Commissioner: Do all the stewards take part in that? Mr. Cotter: Every steward, every fireman and every sailor. The Commissioner: Then 900 men take part in it. Mr. Cotter: Yes, 900 men. The Commissioner: Do the 900 men take part in this work in the boats? Mr. Cotter: Not in the boats, but in the handling of the boat drill. The Commissioner: Nine hundred men take part in the handling. Mr. Cotter: Yes. The Commissioner: All the stewards? Mr. Cotter: Yes, the stewards, the sailors and the firemen. The Commissioner: Supposing the firemen will not come on board till just within a few minutes of the boat being launched, what happens then? Mr. Cotter: It is a bad system to have in any case in any company. That has happened in the case of the White Star Line, but in the Cunard Line it does not happen. The Commissioner: I am not sure about that. Mr. Cotter: I am positive. The Commissioner: I doubt whether there is any big difference between the Cunard Line and the White Star Line. Mr. Cotter: There is a big difference, my Lord; I have sailed in both. The Commissioner: Now, Mr. Attorney, will you proceed.
   151   152   153   154   155   156   157   158   159   160   161