Boat 4 (port) Edit

Launched concurrently with Boat 10, the last of the wooden lifeboats was launched under the supervision of Lightoller at 1:50 am with Quartermaster Walter Perks put in charge.[1] It was actually one of the first lifeboats to be lowered on Captain Smith's suggestion that passengers should be loaded from the Promenade Deck rather than the Boat Deck. However, the captain had forgotten that – unlike on his previous command, Titanic's sister ship Olympic – the forward half of the Promenade Deck was enclosed. Lightoller ordered that the windows on the Promenade Deck's enclosure were to be opened, and moved on to deal with the other lifeboats.[2] The windows proved unexpectedly difficult to open and to add to the problems, the lifeboat got caught up on Titanics sounding spar, which projected from the hull immediately below the boat. The spar had to be chopped off to allow the lifeboat to progress. A stack of deckchairs was used as a makeshift staircase to allow passengers to climb up and through the windows and into the boat.[3]

Among the occupants was Madeleine Astor, the pregnant wife of the American millionaire John Jacob Astor. She had endured a long wait, shuttling back and forth between the Promenade and Boat Decks as plans for loading the boat were made and discarded. Now she boarded, helped by her husband, who asked Lightoller if he could join her. Lightoller refused, telling him: "No men are allowed in these boats until the women are loaded first." Astor told his wife: "The sea is calm. You'll be all right. You're in good hands. I'll meet you in the morning." He did not survive the disaster.[3]

Boat 4 appears to have had about 30 people aboard when it was lowered. The number later increased when a few people were pulled from the water and others were transferred from Boat 14 and Collapsible Boat D. By the time it reached Carpathia at 8:00 am it had about 60 occupants.[4]

Notes Edit

  1. Wormstedt & Fitch 2011, p. 141.
  2. Butler 1998, p. 91.
  3. 3.0 3.1 Butler 1998, p. 127.
  4. Wormstedt & Fitch 2011, pp. 141, 144.