Owner: White Star Line Port of registry: Liverpool, UK Builder: Harland and Wolff, Belfast Launched: 31 May 1911
Tonnage: 46,328 GRT Displacement: 52,310 tons Length: 882 ft 9 in (269.1 m) Beam: 92 ft 6 in (28.2 m) Height: 175 ft (53.3 m) (keel to top of funnels) Draught: 34 ft 7 in (10.5 m) Depth: 64 ft 6 in (19.7 m) Decks: 9 (A–G) Propulsion: Two three-blade wing propellers and one three-blade centre propeller Speed: Cruising: 21 kn (39 km/h; 24 mph). Max: 24 kn (44 km/h; 28 mph) Capacity: Passengers: 2,435, crew: 892. Total: 3,327
Regulations Given To White Star Captains
The following is a copy of a document give to all White Star captains prior to the sinking of Titanic in 1912. Known as a 'letter of instruction' it was given to the Commander on his appointment to the vessel:
Above images courtesy of The Smoking Gun (thesmokinggun.com/) Titanic Files.
Transcript of the document:
In placing the steamer. temporarily under your command, we desire to direct your attention to the Company's Regulations for the safe and efficient navigation of its vessels, and also to impress upon you in the most forcible manner the paramount and vital importance of exercising the utmost caution in the navigation of the ships, and that the safety of the passengers and crew weighs with us above and before all other considerations.
You are to dismiss all idea of competitive passages with other vessels, and to concentrate your attention upon a cautious, prudent and ever watchful system of navigation which shall lose time or suffer any other temporary inconvenience rather than incur the slightest risk which can be avoided.
We request you to make an invariable practice of being yourself on deck and in full charge when the weather is thick or obscure, in all narrow waters and whenever the ship is within sixty miles of land; also that you will give a wide berth to all headlands, shoals and other positions involving peril, that, where possible, you will take cross bearings when approaching any coast, and that you will keep the lead going when approaching the land in thick or doubtful weather, as the only really reliable proof of the safety of the ship's position.
The most rigid discipline on the part of your Officers must be observed, and you will require them to avoid at all times convivial intercourse with passengers or each other; the crew must also be kept under judicious control and the look-out men carefully selected and zealously watched when on duty, and you are to report to us promptly all instances of inattention, incapacity, or irregularity on the part of your Officers or any others under your control.
Whilst we have confidence in your sobriety of habit and demeanour, we exhort you to use your best endeavours to imbue your Officers and all those about you with a due sense of the advantage which will accrue, not only to the Company, but to themselves, by being strictly temperate, as this quality will weigh with us in an especial degree when giving promotion.
The consumption of coals, water, provisions, and other stores, together with the prevention of waste in any of the departments, should engage your daily and most careful attention, in order that you may be forewarned of any deficiency that may be impending, that waste may be avoided, and a limitation in quantity determined on, in case you should deem such a step necessary, in the interest of prudence.
Should you at any time have any suggestion to make bearing upon the improvement of the steamers, their arrangement, equipment or any other matter connected with the service on which they are engaged, we shall always be glad to receive and consider same.
In the event of a collision, stranding or other accident of a serious nature happening to one of the Company's steamers, necessitating the holding of an Enquiry by the Managers, written notice of the same will be given to the Commander, who shall immediately on receipt of such notice hand in a letter tendering the resignation of his position in the Company's services, which letter will be retained pending the result of the Enquiry.
We have alluded, generally, to the subject of safe and watchful navigation, and we desire earnestly to impress on you how deeply these considerations affect not only the well-being, but the very existence of this Company itself, and the injury which it would sustain in the event of any misfortune attending the management of your vessel, first from the blow which would be inflicted to the reputation of the Line, secondly, from the pecuniary loss that would accrue (the Company being their own insurers.), and thirdly, from the interruption of a regular service upon which the success of the present organisation must necessarily depend.
We request your cooperation in achieving those satisfactory results which can only be obtained by unremitting care and prudence at all times, whether in the presence of danger, or when, by its absence, you may be lured into a false sense of security; where there is least apparent peril the greatest danger often exists, a well-founded truism which cannot be too prominently borne in mind.
This document was submitted to the British Wreck Commissioner's Inquiry on Day 17 by Sir Robert Finlay and at the time he also noted that the "passage about the Company being their own insurers was strictly accurate when this letter was drafted. Since then they are insured not wholly but partially." To which the The Commissioner added: "They are still their own insurers up to a large amount." (24.) This is an important point worth noting when discussing the illogical 'switch' theory which relies on it being an insurance scam.
It is also interesting to note that a Captain was to "dismiss all idea of competitive passages with other vessels." Captain Smith has been unfairly accused of trying to set a record, allegedly pushed by Bruce Ismay.
Also it makes the point that commanders should "make an invariable practice of being yourself on deck and in full charge when the weather is thick or obscure." It is interesting to note that Captain Smith was indeed in the bridge area during Titanic's final watch.
According to this document officers were not to mingle with passegners stating that "rigid discipline on the part of your Officers must be observed, and you will require them to avoid at all times convivial intercourse with passengers or each other."
Finally, it is interesting to note that in event of a collision a Captain must "hand in a letter tendering the resignation of his position in the Company's services".