Titanic Lifeboats

64 - the number of lifeboats the Titanic was capable of carrying (a total well over the ships maximum capacity of 3547 people).

48 - the number of lifeboats originally planned for Titanic by the chief designer Alexander Carlisle, 3 on each davit; the number was reduced to make the decks look less cluttered.

20 - the number of lifeboats actually carried aboard - 2 x wooden cutters (capacity 40 people each); 14 x 30 ft wooden lifeboats (capacity 65 people each); 4 x folding or 'collapsible' lifeboats (capacity 47 people each). Remarkably, this was technically legal; the law at that time based the number of lifeboats required on the gross register tonnage of a ship, not her passenger capacity.

Collapsible lifeboat from the Titanic

1,178 - the total capacity, in numbers of people, of the lifeboats carried by the Titanic.

33 - the percentage of the ships total passengers and crew that the lifeboats could accommodate.

It hardly bears thinking about that if there had been sufficient boats that night...every soul aboard could have been saved, since it was two-and-a-half hours after she struck that she tilted her massive stern into the heavens and sank by the head, taking with her all that were unprovided for.

- Arthur Rostron, Captain of the rescue vessel Carpathia, in 'Home From The Sea', 1931

80 - the time taken to launch all 16 lifeboats, in minutes.

10 - the average time it took a crew to launch a lifeboat.

16 - the number of lifeboats that succeeded in launching.

28 - the number of people the first lifeboat actually had on board (capacity was 65 people) - it is believed that this low number was due to passengers being reluctant to leave the ship, as initially they did not consider themselves to be in imminent danger.

472 - the number of lifeboat spaces that went unused.

The partly filled lifeboat standing by about 100 yards away never came back. Why on Earth they never came back is a mystery. How could any human being fail to heed those cries.

- Jack B Thayer, Titanic Survivor

2 - the number of lifeboats that saved others from the water after launching (there was a general fear that a return toward the sinking ship would result in lifeboats being overwhelmed by desperate victims and capsizing, and of the risk of a downward suction caused by the sinking Titanic).

9 - the number of people plucked from the water after the lifeboats launched (3 of whom died shortly afterward).

Read all about the sinking of the Titanic, or more fascinating information about the Titanic why not browse the main menu options above? You can also find out who survived the shipwreck and about the Titanic victims.