Complaints were made by some of the witnesses about the manner in which the boats were launched and about their leaky condition when in the water. I do not question the good faith of these witnesses, but I think their complaints were ill-founded.

Three difficulties presented themselves in connection with the launching of the boats. First, the time was very short: only twenty minutes elapsed between the first alarm and the sinking of the ship. Secondly, the ship was under way the whole time: the engines were put out of commission almost at once, so that the way could not be taken off. Thirdly, the ship instantly took a great list to starboard, which made it impossible to launch the port side boats properly and rendered it very difficult for the passengers to get into the starboard boats. The port side boats were thrown inboard and the starboard boats inconveniently far outboard.

In addition to these difficulties there were the well-meant but probably disastrous attempts of the frightened passengers to assist in launching operations. Attempts were made by the passengers to push some of the boats on the port side off the ship and to get them to the water. Some of these boats caught on the rail, and capsized. One or two did, however, reach the water, but I am satisfied that they were seriously damaged in the operation. They were lowered a distance of 60 feet or more with people in them, and must have been fouling the side of the ship the whole time. On one case the stern post was wrenched away. The result was that these boats leaked when they reached the water. Captain Anderson was superintending the launching operations, and, in my opinion, did the best that could be done in the circumstances. Many boats were lowered on the starboard side, and there is no satisfactory evidence that any of them leaked.

There were doubtless some accidents in the handling of the ropes, but it is impossible to impute negligence or incompetence in connection with them.

The conclusion at which I arrive is that the boats were in good order at the moment of the explosion and that the launching was carried out as well as the short time, the moving ship and the serious list would allow.

Both the Captain and Mr. Jones, the First Officer, in their evidence state that everything was done that was possible to get the boats out and to save lives, and this I believe to be true.