When it comes to those lost at sea I'm...well I'm lost at sea myself
April 21, 2009 8:01 PM   Subscribe

Is there a book or museum or resource that specifically lists the stories of people who survived in Lifeboats?

I need a LOT of personal stories of people who had to live in lifeboats and I'm having trouble finding them. I've tried one or two maritime museums, a lot web searching and one call to the coast guard where I think THEY thought I was pranking them. Because they hung up.

I don't need books, or even long stories. What I need is "1938, SS Coleman went down in the atlantic. Nine people survived in a wooden lifeboat for sixteen days. They had a candle, some cans, matches and a blanket. They were picked up by a swedish trawler."

And some rough biographical info on the people would be great too.

Frankly I thought this would be some statistical database somewhere but, if it is, I can't find it.
posted by rileyray3000 to Travel & Transportation (4 answers total)
It sounds like you might be under some time pressure, but if you have time to order and read a book, there is an excellent one called Desperate Journeys, Abandoned Souls. It is about shipwrecks in general but has several lifeboat stories.
posted by Mender at 8:25 PM on April 21, 2009

I would try a reference librarian at the J. Porter Shaw Maritime library in San Francisco, the G. W. Blunt White library in Mystic, and/or the Mariner's Museum Library.

I doubt there is a specific database of the exact information you mention - but there are all sorts of crew lists, insurance registers, and various shipping lists that might contain this sort of stuff and from which you could compile your list.

Also - there are plenty of books that are compilations of these sorts of stories - it's a matter of finding the right subject terms to dig up these books. For example, the classic Adrift : seventy-six days lost at sea by Steven Callahan has, in my library catalog, the LC subject term "Survival after airplane accidents shipwrecks etc". Searching with this term brings up 122 books...
posted by gyusan at 9:42 PM on April 21, 2009

Check out the British case of Regina v. Dudley & Stephens (1884). The Wikipedia article linked discusses some other similar cases.
posted by DavidNYC at 11:01 PM on April 21, 2009

I have a lot of information along these lines. Since it's for a current project of mine, I'm reluctant to just toss all my research up on the web. If you send me an e-mail (or MeMail or note in a bottle or whatever) I should be able to help you.
posted by The corpse in the library at 9:52 AM on April 22, 2009

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