Not Enough Lifeboats

Survivors of Titanic
Lifeboat with Titanic passengers

As everyone now knows, the Titanic was ill-equipped to deal with such a catastrophic event. It only had 20 lifeboats in total. Some of the lifeboats had plugs missing from them when they were launched, while others capsized. Of the twenty lifeboats, 2 were emergency boats which had a capacity to hold up to 40 people each, there were 14 standard lifeboats with a capacity to hold 65 people each and 4 collapsible boats which could hold up to 47 people each. The collapsible boats had wooden bottoms and canvas sides which had to be pulled up and clipped into place with supports. Unfortunately, even if all of the lifeboats were filled to full capacity, over a thousand people would still have been left stranded on the stricken ship. Ironically the ship had enough life jackets for all the passengers, but the longest anyone could survive in the icy Atlantic water was 20 minutes at the most! All in all, it was a tragedy on a grand scale.

Location of Lifeboats

The standard lifeboats were located on the boat deck with eight on either side of the ship. The two emergency lifeboats were located over the hull and were attached to tilting cranes. The canvas collapsibles C & D were located next to the emergency lifeboats while A & B were stored way up on top of the officers quarters.

Order of Lifeboats Launched

The first lifeboat to be lowered was #7 (a standard lifeboat), it had a total of 26 passengers all of which were 1st Class Passengers and 3 crew members, it hit the water at 12.45am. It is then believed the forward starboard lifeboats #5 and #6 were launched at 12.55am then #3 and  #1 soon after. The list then continues #8,#10,#14,#16, #9, #12, #11, #13, #15, #2 and then #4. Of the collapsibles, C & D were the first to be launched at around 2am (having waited for the two Emergency Lifeboats to be launched). Collapsible A floated off the deck without it’s sides up, while Collapsible B hit the water upsidedown, after plummetting from the roof of the officer’s quarters, both at around 2.20am.