Tuesday, March 1, 2011


The lifeboats were
predominantly stowed in chocks
on the boat deck, connected to
the falls of the davits. All of the
lifeboats, including the
collapsibles, were placed on the
ship by the giant gantry crane at
Belfast. Those on the starboard
side were odd-numbered 1 –15
from bow to stern, while those
on the port side were even-
numbered 2 –16 from bow to
stern. The emergency cutters
(lifeboats 1 and 2) were kept
swung out, hanging from the
davits, ready for immediate use
while collapsible lifeboats C and
D were stowed on the boat deck
immediately in-board of boats 1
and 2 respectively. Collapsible
lifeboats A and B were stored on
the roof of the officers' quarters,
on either side of number 1
funnel. However there were no
davits mounted on the officers'
quarters to lower collapsibles A
and B and they weighed a
considerable amount empty.
During the sinking, lowering
collapsibles A and B proved
difficult as it was first necessary
to slide the boats on timbers
and/or oars down to the boat
deck. During this procedure,
collapsible B capsized and
subsequently floated off the ship
upside down.[20]
At the design stage Carlisle
suggested that Titanic use a new,
larger type of davit,
manufactured by the Welin Davit
& Engineering Co Ltd, each of
which could handle four
lifeboats. Sixteen sets of these
davits were installed, giving
Titanic the ability to carry 64[21]
wooden lifeboats—a total
capacity of over 4,000 people,
compared with Titanic's total
carrying capacity of about 3,600
passengers and crew. However,
the White Star Line, while
agreeing to the new davits,
decided that only 16 wooden
lifeboats (16 being the minimum
required by the Board of Trade,
based on Titanic's projected
tonnage) would be carried (there
were also four folding lifeboats,
called collapsibles), which could
accommodate only 1,178 people
(33% of Titanic's total capacity).
At the time, the Board of Trade's
regulations stated that British
vessels over 10,000 tons must
carry 16 lifeboats with a capacity
of 5,500 cubic feet (160 m3), plus
enough capacity in rafts and
floats for 75% (or 50% in case of
a vessel with watertight
bulkheads) of that in the
lifeboats. Therefore, the White
Star Line actually provided more
lifeboat accommodation than
was legally required.[22]
The regulations had made no
extra provision for larger ships
since 1894, when the largest
passenger ship under
consideration was the Cunard
Line's Lucania, only 13,000 tons.
Sir Alfred Chalmers, nautical
adviser to the Board of Trade
from 1896 to 1911, had
considered the matter "from
time to time", but because he
thought that experienced sailors
would have to be carried
"uselessly" aboard ship for no
other purpose than lowering and
manning lifeboats, and the
difficulty he anticipated in getting
away a greater number than 16
in any emergency, he "did not
consider it necessary to increase
[our scale]".[23]
Carlisle told the official inquiry
that he had discussed the matter
with J. Bruce Ismay, White Star's
Managing Director, but in his
evidence Ismay denied that he
had ever heard of this, nor did
he recollect noticing such
provision in the plans of the ship
he had inspected.[11][24] Ten
days before the maiden voyage
Axel Welin, the maker of Titanic's
lifeboat davits, had announced
that his machinery had been
installed because the vessel's
owners were aware of
forthcoming changes in official
regulations, but Harold
Sanderson, vice-president of the
International Mercantile Marine
and former general manager of
the White Star Line, denied that
this had been the intention.[25]
Titanic was fitted with five ballast
and bilge pumps, used for
trimming the vessel, and three
bilge pumps.[26] Two 10-inch
(250 mm) main ballast pipes ran
the length of the ship and valves
controlling the distribution of
water were operated from the
bulkhead deck, above.[27] The
total discharge capacity from all
eight pumps operating together
was 1,700 tons or 425,000
gallons per hour.[26] During the
disaster, the engineers reported
that the pumps succeeded in
slowing the flooding of No. 6
boiler room in the first ten
minutes after the collision. The
pumps also kept pace with the
flooding on No. 5 boiler room.
This does not indicate that the
vessel could have maintained
buoyancy indefinitely, but as
long as the pumps had steam to
power them, the ship could slow
down the flooding. Titanic could
not founder until these sections
were flooded and the inrush of
water overwhelmed the pumps.
This did not happen until 23:50
pm on the night of the sinking.
Comparisons with the Olympic
Olympic and Titanic under
Titanic closely resembled her
older sister Olympic. Although
she enclosed more space and
therefore had a larger gross
register tonnage, the hull was
almost the same length as
Olympic's. Two of the most
noticeable differences were that
half of Titanic's forward
promenade A-Deck (below the
boat deck) was enclosed against
outside weather, and her B-Deck
configuration was different from
Olympic's. As built Olympic did
not have an equivalent of
Titanic's Café Parisien: the
feature was not added until
1913. Some of the flaws found
on Olympic, such as the creaking
of the aft expansion joint, were
corrected on Titanic. The skid
lights that provided night time
illumination on A-deck were
round, while on Olympic they
were oval. Titanic's wheelhouse
was made narrower and longer
than Olympic's.[29] These, and
other modifications, made Titanic
1,004 gross register tons larger
than Olympic and thus the
largest active ship in the world
during her maiden voyage in
April 1912.
Ship history
Sea trials
Titanic's sea trials took place
shortly after she was fitted out at
Harland & Wolff shipyard. The
trials were originally scheduled
for 10.00am on Monday, 1 April,
just nine days before she was
due to leave Southampton on
her maiden voyage, but poor
weather conditions forced the
trials to be postponed until the
following day.[3]
Aboard Titanic were 78 stokers,
greasers and firemen, and 41
members of crew. No domestic
staff appear to have been
aboard. Representatives of
various companies travelled on
Titanic's sea trials, including
Harold A. Sanderson of I.M.M
and Thomas Andrews and
Edward Wilding of Harland and
Wolff. Bruce Ismay and Lord
Pirrie were too ill to attend. Jack
Phillips and Harold Bride served
as radio operators, and
performed fine-tuning of the
Marconi equipment. Mr
Carruthers, a surveyor from the
Board of Trade, was also present
to see that everything worked,
and that the ship was fit to carry
passengers. After the trial, he
signed an 'Agreement and
Account of Voyages and Crew',
valid for twelve months, which
deemed the ship sea-worthy.[30]

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