§ Mr. KING
asked how lifeboats are inspected and approved before they are regarded as adequate to save life in cases of danger to passenger ships at sea, especially stating whether such lifeboats are tested in calm and rough water; whether the tests imposed include their adaptability to be launched easily in stormy weather; and whether the numbers for which they are registered makes allowance for the variations of weather?
All lifeboats supplied to passenger ships are surveyed while under construction and before leaving the boat-builders' premises to see that they are 45 efficiently constructed and the material is sound and fit for the purpose. The buoyant air cases are also carefully examined as to capacity and workmanship before being fitted into the boat and cased in. Some of the boats of each ship are tested in the water; they are, as a rule, boats of the build and construction which have already proved suitable for use in rough weather at sea. The swinging out and lowering justified the surveyor in coming to a decision as to their adaptability to be launched in stormy weather. The boats are certified for the numbers as defined by statutory rules, irrespective of weather. As the House is aware, the question of the best type of lifeboat has been receiving very careful consideration.
No. Experience shows that a particular type of boat has been of practical use. That is the type I refer to. The others are experimented on afterwards. We are considering how far the present type is suitable, and how far it may be modified and improved.