Lifeboats

Click on a lifeboat number below to find out more.

1 | 2 | 3 | 4 | 5 | 6 | 7 | 8 | 9 | 10 | 11 | 12 | 13 | 1415 | 16 | 17 | 18 | 19 | 20 | 21 | 22 | collapsibles

The lists of survivors and victims in lifeboats is incomplete and welcomes contributions.

Lusitania carried life boats and rafts sufficient to accommodate 2,605 persons. These included:

  • 22 life boats which carried 68 persons each
  • 20 Chambers collapsible boats carrying 54 each
  • 12 McLean-Chambers collapsible boats with a capacity of 49 each
  • 2 Henderson collapsible boats, carrying 43 each
  • 14 life rafts, with capacities varying from 20 to 40 each.

Lusitania also carried nearly 3,000 life preservers on board.  According to the New York Times, Tuesday, 11 May 1915, “The life-saving apparatus is examined before every voyage in Liverpool by the Board of Trade officials when the boats are lowered into the water and the life jackets placed on deck for inspection.”

A number of lifeboats upset while lowering, some lifeboats were never launched, and many survivors managed to be saved without ever having boarded a lifeboat.  Only lifeboats 1, 11, 13, 15, 19, and 21, all from the starboard side, were safely launched.  Lifeboat 2 and a number of collapsible rafts were swept off the ship as Lusitania sank and provided refuge for some.  Lifeboat 14 was the only lifeboat launched from the port side, but the lack of a plug on the bottom of that boat caused the lifeboat to fill with water and swamp.

Therefore, entry into a lifeboat did not guarantee survival, and not being in a lifeboat did not necessarily doom a potential survivor.  Furthermore, the presence of several rescue vessels complicates recordkeeping of who was in which lifeboat.

3 Responses

  1. charlotte mcshane
    charlotte mcshane 13 June 2012 at 12:17 · Reply

    was my great grand dad on that ship

  2. Christian Cody
    Christian Cody 2 September 2012 at 21:18 · Reply

    I remember I read a book in High School on the Lusitania which explained in greater detail what had happened with the lifeboats.

    On the Starboard side, Lifeboat 5 had been blown off its davits by the spray from the torpedo impact, and the officers in charge of loading and lowering the starboard boats made an attempt to do so consecutively forward to aft. Boats 1 and 3 both overturned during launch, spilling their occupants into the water. Somehow, however, Lifeboat 1 managed to reach the water intact and upright, but empty, and later filled with people who had jumped into the water.

    Lifeboat 7 was overturned and crushed beneath the ship’s hull, while both Lifeboats 9 and 11 made it clear of the Lusitania, each with only 20 or 30 people aboard. Both these boats, once clear of the sinking liner, picked up dozens of swimmers from the water until they were both fully loaded.

    Lifeboats 13 and 15, in an instance almost directly cast from the sinking of the Titanic, were both launched overloaded with roughly 70 people, considered more of a miracle in this case considering the manner in which the Lusitania had sunk and the perilous descent these boats had to make. Lifeboats 17 and 19 both overturned on their way to the water, in one of which cases the lines from the davits snapped while the lifeboat was a considerable distance from the water. Finally, Lifeboat 21, located atop the Second Class promenade, was launched safely fully loaded and cleared the ship only moments before the Lusitania sank.

    As for the remaining lifeboats, most were crushed and splintered in attempts to launch them from the tilting decks. On the starboard side, many lifeboats snagged on their davits and buckled under the weight of their occupants, while on the port side, the perilous list caused many boats to either break loose from their davits and go tumbling down the boat deck, or to be splintered to pieces as they ground against the port side of the Lusitania’s hull. Of all the standard lifeboats on the port side, Lifeboat 14 was the only boat to reach the water intact, although damaged. As for the collapsible lifeboats, several floated free of the ship as she sank. Most were waterlogged or overturned, while the few which miraculously survived the sinking upright and intact filled very quickly.

  3. katie McInnes
    katie McInnes 2 May 2013 at 13:58 · Reply

    My Grandmother’s book speaks about the life boats and the people on hers. ..I will really have to dig out that book…. she also talks of her roommates…. hum. .. will have to check later. … my grandmother was Phoebe Amory.

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