There were 14 standard lifeboats on the RMS TITANIC designed and built by ship’s builders Harland & Wolfe. They measured 30′ 0″ by 9′ 1″ by 4′ deep with a capacity of 60 people. Port side were even numbered, starboard odd numbers. Each boat had oars, blankets, provisions and flares. There are built of elm, oak and yellow pine and held together by double fastened copper nails. Lifelines are fitted around the gunwales of the boat. Sails are supplied and stowed in canvas bags as well as an anchor. A spirit boat compass and a fitting to hold it are on board and provision tank and water beaker have been supplied.
There were 2 emergency cutters 25′ 2″ long by 7′ 2″ wide. Their purpose was for emergencies such as a man overboard and are smaller than the standard lifeboats with a capacity of 40.
4 Englehardt collapsible lifeboats were on board that measure 27′ 5″ by 8′ 0″ with a depth of 3′ which could hold 47 people. These had collapsible canvas walls and could be stored on a wall taking up a small amount of deck space.
In total there were 20 lifeboats on the RMS TITANIC with a capacity for 1178 people. There were 2,224 passenger and crew. The lifeboats could only accommodate 52% of the people on board. A large percentage of the lifeboats were not filled to their maximum capacity, one notably holding 13 passengers, 6 of them crew. Many of the boats were launch with great difficulty. Although the boats could have held 1178, only 710 were saved. Legislation was passed almost immediately requiring ships to carry enough lifeboats to accommodate all passengers and crew aboard.
On August 6, 1912 perhaps in reaction the the RMS TITANIC tragedy, a Mr Greenfield presented his invention – a mechanism for launching lifeboats on a grand scale.