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Lifeboat launching sequence

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There has always been much discussion about which lifeboat was launched when and what the order was. Lifeboat 7 was the first one to leave, but at 12:45 A.M.? And was boat 10 launched before or after boat 12? And did Captain Smith launch boat 1 or 2?

Officers in charge of loweringEdit

Part of the launching sequence can be determined using the movements of the officers who launched them.

The starboard boatsEdit

Lifeboat Launched by these officers
1 Murdoch, Lowe
3 Murdoch, Lowe
5 Murdoch, Pitman (left), Lowe
7 Murdoch, Lowe
9 Murdoch, Moody
11 Murdoch
13 Murdoch, Moody
15 Murdoch
A Murdoch, Moody
C Wilde, Murdoch

The port boatsEdit

Lifeboat Launched by these officers
2 Smith, Wilde (Boxhall left)
4 Lightoller
6 Smith, Lightoller
8 Smith, Wilde, Lightoller
10 Wilde
12 Wilde, Lightoller
14 Wilde, Lightoller, Lowe (left)
16 Moody
B Lightoller (left)
D Wilde, Lightoller

Titanic's list at the launchingsEdit

Titanic was listing to starboard at the beginning of her sinking, but slowly that list shifted to port and she sank under a heavy port list. Ioannis Georgiou determined the list at each lifeboat separately, providing a first important clue on the overall launching sequence.

List at the starboard boatsEdit

Lifeboat List of the ship during launch
1 Starboard
3 Starboard
5 Starboard
7 Starboard
9 None
11 None
13 None
15 Port
A Port
C Port

List at the port boatsEdit

Lifeboat List of the ship during launch
2 Port
4 Port
6 Starboard
8 None (one steward reported a port list)
10 Port
12 Port
14 Port
16 Port
B Port
D Port

Conclusions to be drawn from the listEdit

Based on Titanic's list, we have three "sets" of lifeboats:

  • Boats 1, 3, 5, 6 & 7 went first, when Titanic still had a starboard list.
  • Boats 8, 9, 11 & 13 went after these 5, when Titanic had no list.
  • Boats 10, 12, 14, 15, 16 & the collapsibles went after these 9, when Titanic had a port list.

Mr. Georgiou used this information as the baseline of his launching sequence, while Mr. Wormstedt did not.

Different theories of launching timesEdit

Extensive research of Bill Wormstedt, Tad Fitch and George Behe helped by Sam Halpern and J. Kent Layton forged a brand-new lifeboat launching sequence. Ioannis Georgiou also created a launching sequence based on his own research. Both sequences are presented here for a side-by-side comparison. The old sequence from the British Inquiry is also added to the list.

Launch times British Inquiry Wormstedt et al Georgiou
12:40 7 7
12:43 5
12:45 7
12:50 5
12:55 5 & 6 3 3 & 6
1:00 3 8 1
1:05 1 9
1:10 1 & 8 6 11
1:15 13
1:20 9 & 10 16 8
1:25 11 & 12 14 15
1:30 14 9 & 12 16
1:35 13 & 15 & 16 11 12
1:40 C 13 14
1:41 15
1:45 2 2 10
1:50 4 & 10 2
1:55 4 4
2:00 C
2:05 D D C
2:10 D
2:15 A* & B*
2:17 A*
2:18 B*
2:20 A* & B*

* Floated off when bridge went under, not launched.

Discard the following items:Edit

  • The time the British Inquiry gave for boat 7. Wormstedt & Georgiou agree: Boat 7 left 5 minutes earlier.
  • The time the British Inquiry gave for boat 10. Wormstedt & Georgiou agree: Boat 10 left much later than first guessed.
  • The time Wormstedt gave for boat 5. This is solely based on one survivor who said boat 5 went 2 or 3 minutes after boat 7. Multiple other testimonies conter that.
  • Wormstedt placing the launching of boat 9 before boat 14. https://www.encyclopedia-titanica.org/community/threads/boat-9-or-14-which-one-went-first.35806

ConclusionsEdit

Lifeboat Launched at
1 1:00 A.M. - 1:10 A.M.
2 1:45 A.M. - 1:50 A.M.
3 12:55 A.M.
4 1:50 A.M. - 1:55 A.M.
5 12:50 A.M. - 12:55 A.M.
6 Unknown: 12:55 A.M. or 1:10 A.M.
7 12:40 A.M.
8 Unknown: 1:00 A.M. - 1:20 A.M.
9 Unknown: 1:05 A.M. or 1:20 A.M.
10 1:45 A.M. - 1:50 A.M.
11 Unknown
12 1:25 A.M. - 1:35 A.M.
13 Unknown: 1:15 A.M. or 1:35 A.M. - 1:40 A.M.
14 Unknown: 1:25 A.M. - 1:40 A.M.
15 Unknown
16 Unknown: 1:20 A.M. - 1:35 A.M.
A* 2:15 A.M. - 2:20 A.M.
B* 2:15 A.M. - 2:20 A.M.
C 2:00 A.M.
D 2:05 A.M.

SourcesEdit

http://wormstedt.com/titanic/lifeboats/lifeboats.htm

http://wormstedt.com/titanic/lifeboats/lifeboattable2.htm

http://www.titanicinquiry.org/BOTInq/BOTReport/BOTRepBoats.php

Ioannis Georgiou (December 2012 - September 2015). Die Geschichte der Rettungsboote. Titanic Post, Titanic-Verein Schweiz. 

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