Evacuation - Crew's Efforts - Good or Bad?



Do you believe the crew accomplished a great deal during the evacuation and saved many lives, or do you believe they blundered and got many things wrong which cost lives? If you could balance the good and the bad, which would be greater?

I think they did an incredible job in the time they had, but I think the failure to use the gangway doors was a serious factor that cost many lives.

What I could gather so far:

Orders to wake all passengers - Successful
Orders to distribute and make passengers put on life jackets - Successful
Escort passengers to the boat deck - Partially Successful
Uncover and swing out all lifeboats - Successful
Keep the passengers calm with happy music and words of comfort - Successful
Place food and lanterns in lifeboats - Partially Successful
All standard lifeboats safely lowered - Successful
All standard lifeboats manned properly - Partially Successful
Fire distress rockets to get other ship's attention - Successful
Signal other ship using powerful Morse lamp - Successful
Keep the lights burning for as long as possible - Successful
Orders to move the passengers to the starboard side to keep the ship "upright" - Temporarily successful

Send correct distress position by wireless - Unsuccessful
Orders to open the aft gangway doors and use rope ladders - Unsuccessful
Orders to close the upper watertight doors - Unknown

Do you believe they did a great job given the time and information they had?

Dec 23, 2017
I think test have shown that the Crew performed better than we can do today. Most of the feats when recreated today have shown how determined the crew was. Like in Ghosts of the abyss when they where recreating collapsible a sliding off the Officers quarters, Parks said it took 30 full grown men over 30 mins to move it to the edge while it only took Titanic's crew a couple mins (Keep in mind the test did not even have the "uphill" list like the real thing) or the recent test done by JC that shows it should have taken the crew 2 hours to launch the lifeboats while they did it in a hour and a half. And of course the amazing feat of the lights, even modern ships like the CC sank their lights went out fairly early and only had the emergency lights, Titanic light crew as bright as ever for at least 2 hours and 30 mins with the possibility of them being on even after the break up. I could cite lots of other examples but in my opinion the crew did everything and beyond in the call of duty and most sacrificed their lives in the process
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Jay Roches

Apr 14, 2012
Considering the training (none) and leadership (good from some officers, not great from Smith) that they had, I think they did surprisingly well. Lots of 20th century shipwrecks involve the crew doing all the wrong things, right up to Costa Concordia where they should have been able to get everyone off the ship in an orderly fashion with no trouble, considering the equipment and training they had. On Titanic the crew followed orders virtually without exception -- if there is an exception it's the failure of the boats to come back. A telling story is that of Collapsible B -- when Lightoller spotted the boats that eventually relieved Collapsible B, they tried shouting and got no reply, just as the swimmers in the water got no reply. But when Lightoller blew his Officer's whistle, the boats came at once.

Among the individual items, "partially successful" is too generous for supplying the boats with food, lanterns and equipment. I don't know of any boat that had a working lantern. Joghuin distributed 40 lbs of bread (thirteen men carrying bread) to the boats, but there is no information about how many boats actually received bread. Or water.

About the lights, that's Titanic's design. There was steam pressure until almost the end, and that sufficed to operate the dynamos. The mechanics of the sinking allowed this to happen. With Costa Concordia, some inexplicable and unacceptable fault caused the generators to fail from the relatively minor damage -- but CC's emergency generators, like any modern-day emergency set powered by diesel, were capable of far more than Titanic's set. I wonder how practical "oil-fired" generators would have been in 1912 -- there was one for the Marconi room but not for the lights. Overall, Titanic's emergency generators were backups for the dynamos themselves, not for the steam supply that kept the dynamos running.

About the gangway doors, I don't agree. I think loading passengers from the gangway doors would have been impractical and would soon have become impossible. It would have been far easier to load the boats full. The factor that would have saved many lives, I think, is that the officers should have been informed about the successful test of their lifeboats being lowered with the weight of 65 people. The boats were better than the officers gave them credit for.
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Dec 23, 2017
I Always thought smith did nothing wrong. People say he "did not bark orders like a good captain" but he the moment the iceberg passed by gave orders to check damage, then once Smith learned of the fate of the Titanic gave lots of orders through out the night. I think people give him unfair credit towards the end, Smith we know disappeared for a length time during the later half of the sinking. We dont know why or where he went but if i to guess (considering the actions of the other two people who knew right away the ship was sinking) it was probably sometime to reflect his thoughts and composure. Ismay had panic attacks through out the night and even Andrew had "breakdown's" through out the night. Smith most likely knew he had to keep up appearances and the weight on his shoulders was immense. Hey knew he was in charge of the deaths of at least 1000 people and know for certain that we was not going to survive that night, very hard stuff to accept
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Ajmal Dar

Jan 5, 2018
i think that on balance the crew did a good job evacuating the passengers and crew. however i think it is tragic that most of the boats did not go away full to capacity but some blame has to be put on the passengers who would jot get in the boats. Also some reports say that lightoller interpretted capt smiths orders as women and children only in the lifeboats, or at least he did for the first few boats that he oversaw being loaded and lowered.

Given that they managed to launch almost all the lifeboats in little more than an hour... they did quite well. You must consider than no evacuation of such scale had taken place until then. Especially taking into account a lonely ship in open waters that sunk in less than three hours. That was impressive... MOST IMPRESSIVE.
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