11. Lightoller became a critical witness during investigations of the sinking
Both Great Britain and the United States Senate conducted inquiries into the causes of the sinking of Titanic, and the great loss of life which ensued. In his book Titanic and Other Ships, Lightoller described the American inquiry as a “farce”. In his treatment of the British inquiry, Lightoller described the necessity of defending both his employer, White Star Line, and the British Board of Trade. He wrote that it had been his desire that no “blame should be attributed to either”. Instead, he blamed the collision on the state of the sea. It had been, according to Lightoller, so calm that detection of icebergs was virtually impossible at a distance since the water was not breaking at their base.
Throughout both inquiries Lightoller defended White Star and the officers’ senior to him aboard Titanic, shifting the blame whenever possible to factors outside of their hands. He also directed the discussion into areas such as changing the requirements for the number of lifeboats being mandated by passenger capacity rather than total displacement of the ship, as it was prior to the disaster. He also recommended that wireless stations be mandatory on all ships carrying passengers, manned 24 hours per day while at sea.