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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