§ MR. HOWARD VINCENT (Sheffield, Central)
asked the Secretary to the Board of Trade, If any official inspection is made of the boats of ocean-going vessels; if any regulations are laid down as to the readiness of the boats for sea, and their being kept provided with oars, sails, life-belts, fresh water, biscuit, and material for light; and, if crews are required to be regularly exercised in lowering the boats, so that stations and duties may be known in the event of disaster?
§ THE SECRETARY (Baron HENRY DE WORMS) (Liverpool, East Toxteth)
Official inspection is made of the boats of all steam and sailing ships which carry more than 12 passengers. No official inspection is required by statute of the boats of other ships. All sea-going ships which do not carry any passengers are required to carry boats in accordance with Table S in the Schedule to the Merchant Shipping Act, 1854, as well as all ships that carry more than 12 passengers. The regulations concerning the boats of ships, other than those carrying passengers, are contained in the Merchant Shipping Act, 1854, sec. 292, and cannot be altered by the Board of Trade. The boats are, by the statute, required to be "supplied with all requisites for use," and "to be kept so as to be at all times fit and ready for use." In the case of steamships carrying more than 12 passengers who are not emigrants, the 1782 boats are hung in davits, and they— with the sails, oars, life-belts and life-jackets for the crews of the lifeboats— are surveyed periodically, before a certificate authorizing thorn to go to sea is issued by the Board of Trade. In the case of emigrant ships, a further inspection is made, before the ship goes to sea, of the boats and their equipment, which include, in addition, breakers for fresh water, biscuit, and material for light, &c. And the crews are required to be stationed and exercised when opportunities occur at sea. In the steamers belonging to large companies it is the invariable practice to station and muster the crew for exercise in the lowering of boats at regular intervals.