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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?

Titanic's list at the launchingsEdit

Titanic was listing to starboard at the beginning of her sinking[1][2] until 1:05 A.M., afterwards slowly that list shifted to port and she sank under a heavy port list. Between that, there was a period where Titanic had no list. This provided a first important clue on the overall launching sequence.

Starboard:

Lifeboat List of the ship during launch
1 Starboard[3][4][5]
3 Starboard[3]
5 Starboard[3]
7 Starboard[3][6]
9 None[7]
11 None
13 None, port list started during lowering[8]
15 Slight port[9]
A Port[10]
C Port[11]

Port:

Lifeboat List of the ship during launch
2 Port
4 Port
6 Starboard[12]
8 Slight port[13]
10 Port[14]
12 Port[15]
14 Port[16]
16 Port
B Port
D Port[17][18]

Conclusions to be drawn from Titanic's 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.

Full launching sequenceEdit

Ioannis Georgiou created a full launching sequence based on his own research. The times presented are estimated presented in a 5-minute interval, except boats A & B.

Launch times Lifeboat List of the ship during launch Launched by these officers
12:40 7 Starboard Murdoch[19][20], Lowe[21]
12:50 5 Starboard Murdoch, Pitman (left), Lowe
12:55 3 & 6 Starboard Murdoch & Lowe on 3, Smith & Lightoller on 6
1:00 1 Starboard Murdoch, Lowe
1:05 9 None Murdoch, Moody
1:10 11 None Murdoch
1:15 13 None, port list started during lowering Murdoch, Moody
1:20 8 Slight port Smith, Wilde, Lightoller
1:25 15 Slight port Murdoch
1:30 16 Port Moody
1:35 12 Port Wilde, Lightoller
1:40 14 Port Wilde, Lightoller, Lowe (left)
1:45 10 Port Murdoch
1:50 2 Port Smith, Wilde, Boxhall (left)
1:55 4 Port Lightoller
2:05 C Port Wilde, Murdoch
2:10 D Port Wilde, Lightoller
2:17 A* Port Murdoch, Moody
2:18 B* Port Lightoller (left)

* Floated off when bridge went under, not launched.

SourcesEdit

  1. US Inquiry day 5, Robert Hichens
  2. US Inquiry day 7, Frank Osman
  3. 3.0 3.1 3.2 3.3 British Inquiry day 10, questions 11440-11442, George Symons
  4. British Inquiry day 10, questions 11467a, George Symons
  5. British Inquiry day 10, questions 12511-12513, Sir Cosmo Duff-Gordon
  6. US Inquiry day 13, Norman Campbell Chambers
  7. US Inquiry day 7, William Ward
  8. British Inquiry day 3, questions 719, George William Beauchamp
  9. British Inquiry day 6, questions 6501-6505, Samuel James Rule
  10. British Inquiry day 9, questions 10530, Edward Brown
  11. US Inquiry day 11, Bruce Ismay
  12. British Inquiry day 3, questions 1372-1377, Robert Hichens
  13. British Inquiry day 16, questions 17943-17946, Alfred George Crawford
  14. British Inquiry day 6, questions 5987-5989, Charles John Joughin
  15. British Inquiry day 4, questions 3301-3306, John Thomas Poingdestre
  16. British Inquiry day 6, questions 5475-5476, Frank Herbert Morris
  17. US Inquiry day 7, John Hardy
  18. US Inquiry day 10, Hugh Woolner
  19. British Inquiry day 2, questions 89-90, Archie Jewell
  20. British Inquiry day 13, questions 14974, Third Officer Pitman
  21. British Inquiry day 13, questions 15808-15811, Fifth Officer Lowe

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

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