Could all the women and children have been saved?

Kevin Perez

Jul 10, 2005
Seriously, there were only 441 women and 106 children. Lifeboats could carry 1178 people, correct? If so, all of them could've been saved, leaving at least room for 631 men. If that was the case, this could mean not only all women and children could be save, but more men would as well. Not impossible, viewing as how there were more men than women on Titanic.

Does this make any sense, or am I creating a ''What-if?'' scenario?
Jul 9, 2000
Easley South Carolina
>>Does this make any sense, or am I creating a ''What-if?'' scenario?<<

Both from what I can see. Nothing wrong with that in and of itself, but I don't think it's too helpful to get wrapped up on that. People have been asking these questions since 1912 and I've no doubt the same questions will still be asked in the year 3912. The problem here is that the history you see is still the history you get and it's uglier aspects just never go away.

You can't change it, but you can understand it.
Mar 20, 1997
I understand how Kevin feels, as I shook my head incredulously the first time I crunched the numbers in my head and realized the boats had room not just for every woman and child, but quite likely every husband and adult son as well.

The intervening aspects that Michael mentions include many officers not believing the boats could be safely filled to anywhere close to stated capacity.

Then the port side's "No men whatever" policy.

Finally, the fact that so many steerage women and children were "out of sight and out of mind" unless they were fortunate enough to appear on deck before it was too late.


Talira Greycrest

I see no reason why all the women and children couldn't have been saved. Whilst First Class stewards may have done a good job with getting passengers to the boat deck, from what I've heard, Third Class stewards were nowhere near as prompt or thorough in getting their passengers to the boat deck and a lack of familiarity with the layout of the upper decks made escape upwards more difficult. Not to mention the gates. At some points, men were prevented access to the lifeboats whilst women were allowed up. Perhaps if Third Class stewards had been more thorough with their job then more women and children from Steerage may have survived. It's really sad knowing that entire families died.


The passengers refused to leave the ship, even the 3rd class women who were directed up to the boat deck, turned around, and went below again. I can understand their concern. Swapping a comfortable warm ship for a small rowing boat in the middle of the cold Atlantic would have seen a ridiculous idea. Convincing anyone to leave the safe, warm lit lounges and cabins must have been an extremely difficult task for the crew, who by most accounts were not aware the ship was sinking.

2nd officer Lightoller

"I told them it was merely a precaution and that very likely they would all be taken on board again at daylight. No one believed the ship was actually in any danger. I'm afraid that my own confidence that she wouldn't or couldn't sink rather conveyed itself to others, for there were actually cases were woman absolutely refused to be put in a boat.....I did not think it was a serious accident."

3rd officer Pitman

Q - Were there people on the deck when you left the ship?
A - Oh, yes, there were a few there.
Q - Why did not you take in 60 then?
A - Simply because the people did not want to go. They thought they were safer on the ship.

1st class passenger Ella White

"Nobody ever thought the ship was going down. I do not think there was a person that night, I do not think there was a man on the boat who thought the ship was going down. They speak of the bravery of the men. I do not think there was any particular bravery, because none of the men thought it was going down. If they had thought the ship was going down, they would not have frivoled as they did about it. Some of them said, "When you come back you will need a pass," and, "You can not get on tomorrow morning without a pass." They never would have said these things if anybody had had any idea that the ship was going to sink."

2nd class passenger Lawrence Beesley

"What made so many people declare their decision to remain was their strong belief in the theory of the Titanic's unsinkable construction. Again and again it was repeated, "This ship cannot sink, it is only a question of waiting until another ship comes up and takes us off."

3rd class Steward John Hart - (He directed 3rd class passengers up to the boat deck.)

"Those that were willing to go to the boat deck were shown the way. Some were not willing to go to the boat deck, and stayed behind. Some of them went to the boat deck, and found it rather cold, and saw the boats being lowered away, and thought themselves more secure on the ship, and consequently returned to their cabin. I heard two or three say they preferred to remain on the ship than be tossed about on the water like a cockle shell."

(He also handed out life jackets to the 3rd class passengers.)

"Some refused to put them on. They said they saw no occasion for putting them on. They did not believe the ship was hurt in any way."....."Right from the very first we were trying to convince the people that she (the Titanic) was not hurt. I did not know the ship was sinking."

3rd class passenger Mr. B. Pickard

"While I was on the ship no one realized the real danger, not even the stewards. If the stewards knew, they were calm. It was their duty to try to make us believe there was nothing serious. Nobody was prevented from going up. They tried to keep us quiet. They said, "Nothing serious is the matter." Perhaps they did not know themselves. I did not realize it, the whole time, even to the last moment. Of course, I would never believe such a thing could happen. I said to the seaman, "I would rather be on the ship."

Seaman Thomas Jones

"I thought they were only sending us away for an hour or so, until they got squared up again. Until they got her pumped out."

Baker Charles Joughin

Q - Up to this time, could you tell me had you seen any third class passengers? Women from the third class?
A - Yes, sir, plenty.
".........Then we got it about half full, and then we had difficulty in finding ladies for it. They ran away from the boat and said they were safer where they were."

The crew believed it was not serious, and it appears the only way to make the passengers leave the ship would have been to exaggerate the situation (in their minds) and tell the passengers the ship was sinking, which would have caused a panic and no doubt cost that crew member his job, because at the time nobody knew she really was sinking. Like someone yelling there's a bomb when there isn't, and then it later turns out there was. If someone yelled out the ship was sinking, but they personally did not know that for certain, and then it turns out the ship does not sink, that person would have been held by the authorities for causing a panic which may have cost lives as people rushed for the lifeboats. If some did know, I think they may have hesitated, fearing they would cause a panic.

Seeing the lights of another steamer and hearing word that a rescue ship was coming must have also convinced them to stay on the ship.

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Talira Greycrest

I can understand that, at first, passengers would have been reluctant to the leave the ship, but that's why a number of lifeboats left without their full load. So, by the time it became obvious Titanic was sinking, there weren't enough lifeboats left for all the people who were still on board. Also, having been on a ship before, I can understand it can be difficult to find your way around. If your cabin is on the lower decks, it would take some time for you to find your way up to the top deck.