Lowering Titanic's Lifeboats
1912 illustration of Titanic's lifeboats being lowered.
At 12.20 am on 15 April Titanic's lifeboats were swung out. About 12.30am the order was given to place women and children in them and 15 minutes later the boats began to be lowered to the icy water 65 feet below.
However for various reasons not all of the lifeboats were filled to capacity. Many passengers were reluctant to leave the ‘unsinkable’ Titanic, thinking that it was safer to stay on the ship, rather than risk going on the lifeboats.
There were 20 lifeboats on board Titanic. This was more than the 16 boats she was legally required to carry under the Board of Trade rules. But in 1912 the rules governing the number of lifeboats on ships were determined by the tonnage of vessels, not by the number of people on board.
After the Titanic disaster, the rules were quickly changed to ensure that enough lifeboats were provided for everyone on board ships at sea.