HC Deb 25 March 1872 vol 210 c597

asked the First Lord of the Admiralty, Whether all the ships in commission are supplied with life-boats; and, if not, whether he will lay upon the Table a Return of those ships which are not so provided?


In reply, Sir, to the hon. Member, I have to state that the subject of the supply of lifeboats to vessels in Her Majesty's service is one to which considerable attention has been given of late years by the Admiralty. In the years 1865 and 1866, after most careful consideration as to the best designs, 40 life-boats were built and were supplied to various vessels in substitution for the ordinary boats then in use, with the intention, apparently, of introducing them generally into the service. In 1868, in consequence of the objections raised by numerous officers to the effect that the weight and unhandiness of these boats, as compared with the ordinary boats of the same size, made them too cumbersome for the general service of vessels, and their unwillingness to take boats suitable only to special circumstances, it was decided by the Board of Admiralty—at that time presided over by my right hon. Friend the Member for Tyrone (Mr. Corry)—not to make the supply of life-boats compulsory, but to issue them only when applied for by commanding officers, and such has been the rule since followed. I may anticipate the Question of the hon. Member for Woodstock (Mr. Barnett), by saying that the Ariadne was not supplied with a life-boat, no application having been received for one from her commanding officer.