Belfast Telegraph

Tuesday 2 September 2014

Titanic: Reason for lack of lifeboats

Lord Pirrie, chairman of H&W (left) and Bruce Ismay, chairman of White Star, make a final tour of inspection of Titanic before her launch. 31/5/1911. Photograph © National Museums Northern Ireland. Collection Ulster Folk & Transport Museum
A shipyard worker's ticket to the launch of the RMS Titanic. Photograph © National Museums Northern Ireland. Collection Ulster Folk & Transport Museum
The key to the binoculars store on the Titanic

The board of Trade regulations covering safety and specifically how many lifeboats a ship ought to carry were out of date.

They referred to whether a ship was over 10,000 tons in weight (Titanic weighed 45,000 tons) and whether it was divided into watertight compartments.

So the Titanic was only obliged to carry 16 lifeboats, plus rafts and floats adding up to three quarters of the lifeboat capacity.

They should have held 962 people, but the ship had four more lifeboats, so, in theory, should have been able to rescue 1,178, about 53% of those on board at the time of the disaster.

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