life boats {why was there not enough?} : LUSENET : TitanicShack : One Thread

wasnt illegal for the ship not to have enough llife boats? is it illegal now?

-- Karla Denise Perez (, January 28, 1998


Response to life boats

Beleive it or not, the number of life boats onboard the ship actually exceeded the required amount. Since then though, the required number has been upped to what amounts to even more boats than are neccesary.

-- chris rick (, January 28, 1998.

Response to life boats

At the time, the number of lifeboats required by the British Board of Trade was determined by the gross tonnage of the ship, not the passenger capacity. I really can't see the logic in that formula!

-- Peter Nivling (, January 29, 1998.

Response to life boats

The Titanic was in full compliance with all the laws about lifeboats at that time. Specifically, these laws (written in 1894, when the largest ship was about 12,000 tons) said that all British vessels over 10,000 tons had to carry 16 lifeboats with a total capacity of 5500 cubic feet, plus enough rafts and floats for 75 percent of the capacity of the lifeboats. For Titanic (a 46,000 ton ship) this worked out to 9625 cubic feet, which is to say, boat space for 962 people. The Titanic actually had lifeboat spaces for 1178 people, which still only accounted for 52% of the 2200 on board (or, even more frighteningly, 30% of the ship's full capacity).

How they ever came up with this perverse formula, I do not know. It's probably a good case study in how government bureaucrats and regulators usually cause more problems than they solve.

In any case, after the sinking of the Titanic all the rules were re-written to a very simple formula: lifeboats for everyone. In the wake of the bad publicity from the disaster, most steamship companies instituted these rules themselves even before the laws were revised.

No ship today goes out without: 1)lifeboats for everyone, 2) a lifeboat drill, 3) a 24-hour radio.

-- Thomas Shoebotham (, January 29, 1998.

Response to life boats

Unlike the US Senate Investigation, in which Senator W.A. Smith flatly demanded "boats for all," Lord Mersey's final report from the BOT inquiry did not. He said that the BOT ***SHOULD*** implement boats for all, but that the regs should be flexible enough so that they could be modified "as the Board of Trade may see fit" (I'm quoting from memory here, so that may not be the precise wording). This is the same Lord Mersey who ruled that White Star and Captain Smith were ***not*** negligent, and that Bruce Ismay bore ***no*** responsibility for the collision ***or*** the shortage of lifeboats. Mersey also declared that Ismay was under no moral obligation to stay on the ship.

Fortunately, public pressure forced the BOT to do the right thing.


-- Kip Henry (, January 29, 1998.


-- samantha (, November 10, 2003.

hi um this website gave me no info

-- bahumbug buggy jon (, April 26, 2004.

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