How Would You Escape The Titanic


May 27, 2007
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So, How would you escape the Titanic if you only had the same information as the passengers knew.

Would you stay or would you try and get off on one of the boats?

Basically just answer this with a couple of paragraphs describing what you would do and how you would escape if you found yourself on the Titanic at 11:45 PM Sunday night April 14 1912.

Just a fun topic to get your brains and imaginations working.

(Note to players, mods, I think this topic has been done before but I couldn't find it using the Google Custom Search so here it is again for a repeat performance for your new members or for those of you who want to try your luck again. I was going to put it on the Face Book Page but I see that there is no discussions on that page.)
 

Steven Hall

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Aug 8, 2001
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I'd take the forward hatch cover off, flip it upside down and use it as a lifeboat.
It would be OK for a few people.
 
May 27, 2007
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>>I'd take the forward hatch cover off, flip it upside down and use it as a lifeboat.
It would be OK for a few people.<<

Now that is an original idea. I wonder if anybody tried that?

I guess I would wait on deck and keep my eye open for the main change. Wait for my oppertunity.
 

Adam Went

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Apr 28, 2003
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Interesting topic. I reckon I would be doing Charles Joughin's trick, drinking plenty of grog, then hoping to find something to float on in the water - if not, hope that I could survive in the water until I was picked up - it worked for him!

Cheers,
Adam.
 
Jul 9, 2000
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Getting off the ship wouldn't be the problem. A lot of people managed that much. The problem was that they didn't manage to get off in a boat! Since being a guy instead of a gal meant your chances of getting in a boat weren't all that great, I would likely end up swimming with the rest.
 

Jim Kalafus

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Dec 3, 2000
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> reckon I would be doing Charles Joughin's trick, drinking plenty of grog

You die faster that way.

http://www.uihealthcare.com/topics/medicaldepartments/pharmacy/alcoholandcold/index.html

Of the many canards to come out of ANTR, Joughin's is the most dangerous.

You'd be better off emulating that Empress of Ireland survivor and slathering yourself with vaseline.

http://seattletimes.nwsource.com/ABPub/2008/03/26/2004307337.jpg

It worked for cross-channel swimmers as well. Above is Gertrude Ederle, slathered in oily grease as an insulator. I dont know how effective it would be in 28F water, but greasing yourself might buy you enough time to make it to a lifeboat, provided that you can see it with all the lights out.

> it worked for him!

Unless he was constructed differently than anyone else, it didn't. Upon entering the ocean, he would have violently gasped and drawn in water. There is a very good chance that if he had a heart condition, cardiac arrest would have set in immediately. (That is a big danger in the Colorado River, which is always around 48F...Grand Canyon rafters who have been thrown in to it have succumbed to immediate heart failure) After that, like everyone else who didn't succumb to heart failure, he would have been in excruciating pain, with the added torture of warm flashes as the body flushes blood to the surface tissues and then withdraws it again to the core. His extremities would be the first to go, he would become disoriented, he would void the contents of his bladder, and in less than a half hour he'd be dead.

Joughin, like everyone else on B, was most likely standing within feet of B when it went overboard. And was soon atop it.

So, stick with grease. Try dragging a wardrobe out of one of the boat deck cabins.... they worked aboard the Lusitania and, according to Whiteley, aboard the Titanic as well.
 
May 27, 2007
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Adam, I think Joughin left out a crucial factor of what he described happening to him. I just think there was a factor he didn't mention that insured his survival

>>Since being a guy instead of a gal meant your chances of getting in a boat weren't all that great, I would likely end up swimming with the rest.<<

Well Michael that sounds like what everyone on the ship would be doing. Any paticular plans of what specific steps you would do to survive

So Jim, what would you do to escape the Titanic? I could not help noticing that you had critique for Adams method and yet you really didn't say what you would do to get off the ship.
 
May 27, 2007
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Now to what I would probably do to get off of the ship.

I wouldn't feel right back then about getting into the life boat with the ladies.

So I would probably loaf about looking around for an opportunity until the bow went under.

The bow going under would probably get me moving quicker. *-J

So I would probably grab a deck chair to use it under my upper body. i would make my my way to the rail on the lowest part of the ship and brace myself on the edge of the rail and use my legs to propel myself away from the suction and are swimming my way towards A. Kicking and punching all the way.
 

Jim Kalafus

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>I could not help noticing that you had critique for Adams method and yet you really didn't say what you would do to get off the ship.

Because the only two ways I could see of getting off the ship successfully... insulating ones self with heavy coatings of grease and hoping for the best, and prying a heavy piece of furniture free and hoping for the best... were already contained in what I said to Adam, and I don't really favor either.

In fact, I dont foresee myself getting off the ship successfully.

Whatever you did, or I did, would have to begin with removing one's shoes, which fill with water and act as a dead weight.

Probably the best point of departure would be from the little open stub of deck at the front of A deck.

Looking at the accounts of cold water survival I have on hand, you'd have a far better chance of survival if you had a specific goal before leaving the ship....for instance, planning to swim towards boat 4 before you jump gives you a better chance than merely abandoning ship.

With the Lusitania, which sank in 55F water, people's arms and legs stopped working in less than an hour. In 28F water, without some form of insulation, your legs would become dead weights very quickly. So a successful plan would have to get you out of that water in under ten minutes.

There really IS no good way of getting off. With a life jacket you could not swim fast enough to reach the distant lifeboats. Without a lifebelt, you'd lose control of your legs and arms, and sink before you reached them....which is why no one did. Large debris didn't seem to help anyone other than Whiteley. Many of the occupants of A froze to death, while a smaller number fell from B.

So, I'd say your best chance would be to hang out by B and hope to quickly get atop it.
 
May 27, 2007
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I would never say never. I've heard of miraculous tales of survival before. Perhaps Joughin carried a lot of weight which insulated him. I think there was something involved in Joughin's survival that he didn't feel worth mentioning and yet it made all the difference for him. Probably something little he forgot about.

That would be tricky getting that big piece of furniture up the deck. You might as well wait for something to float off like a chair but a big piece would keep you out of the water plus you would have plenty of time to rub grease on to insulate yourself from the water like Trudy Ederle did when she swam the channel back in 1926 when she swam the English Channel from France to Kent.
 
May 27, 2007
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Interesting point I have noticed is that the actual passengers on Titanic did not use furniture to float themselves off or anything like deck chairs.

Most of them seem to have just waited on the stern or jumped and swam for it which has got me curious as to why more them did not think of grabbing something from the ship to float on.
 

Adam Went

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Apr 28, 2003
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Hey all,

Of course this is all very easy for us to consider in hindsight from the comfort of our seats in front of the computer, very different story if you were actually on board the ship, absolutely not expecting anything like this to happen, and particularly so if you had family on board to worry about as well.

Having said that, Jim, i'm not particularly fussed what the medics have to say, old methods sometimes work better than anything modern and Joughin's drinking quite possibly, in some way, assisted in saving his life. In any case, if you near wrote yourself off before the ship went under and you didn't survive, at least it would be more peaceful than if you were fully alert to it all! Certainly a lot more practical than smothering yourself head to toe in vaseline, which by the way would have made it even more difficult to climb aboard any floating wreckage.

Another thing worth attempting would be to wear the tightest fitting clothes you could find, almost as something resembling a wet suit - the baggier and heavier the clothes, the more difficult survival would be.

Cheers,
Adam.
 
Jul 9, 2000
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>>Having said that, Jim, i'm not particularly fussed what the medics have to say,<<

You should be since there's a lot of science to back it up. Emperical evidence has a funny way of trumping old wives tales, and human physiology is what it is. Were it otherwise, modern medical science would be useless.

It helps to know that the myth of Jonghin's drunkeness is one which the baker himself sreadfastly denied. He admits to having one but that's as far as it goes. How this story morphed from having a quick shot to getting thoroughly ripped is anybody's guess but no primary source supports it.
 
Oct 28, 2000
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To twist Lightoller's words a bit, you would not have to escape Titanic -- it would eventually escape you. But, I fear that Michael S. is correct that you could not escape from the effects of cold immersion. Floating unprotected in 28 degree water is not the way to live long and prosper.

There is a lot of information about the effects of hypothermia on the web. I suggest anyone who doubts the deadly nature of this problem can change their mind with a click or two.

But, one thing that has always struck me is that victims of hypothermia in the initial stages exhibit many of the same symptoms as being over-served with alcohol. They are clumsy, slur their words, and lack mental acuity. Sound like a baker we all know?

The only way to survive from the moment Titanic escaped your clutches until rescue by Carpathia would have been to get out of the water. You would either have to be fortunate enough to be on the back of collapsible B, or to have been picked up by another lifeboat. The ship's barber, Weichman, survived a short time by floating on deck chairs, but he would probably have succumbed to the cold had he not been picked up by a boat.

By the way, heavy clothing and especially thick overcoats and woolen trousers would have been short-term beneficial. All fabrics trap air to a certain degree and are at least neutral buoyancy in the water, so they do not "drag you under." The water trapped next to the skin by your clothing does warm from body heat and this ultimately works to slow hypothermia. Clothing only becomes a problem while you are being rescued. The water trapped in the fabric has to be lifted into the boat along with you. That makes for lots of grunting 'n groaning on the part of the rescuers. But, even the best of winter outerwear would not have kept someone from succumbing to hypothermia until Carpathia arrived.

To survive, there was no hope that night except getting out of the water.

-- David G. Brown
 
Jul 9, 2000
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Jonghin and his "binge" per his testimony which begins at http://www.titanicinquiry.org/BOTInq/BOTInq06Joughin01.php
quote:

5978. You have already helped us about the time. Could you tell us at all what time you think that was? - You say it was half-past twelve when you got on to the boat deck yourself?
- That was just after I had passed the first lot of bread up, and I went down to my room for a drink, as a matter of fact, and as I was coming back I followed up my men on to the deck.
Notice the singular.
quote:

6020. Now we just want to finish your experience. You say you went below after No. 10 had gone. Did you stay below or did you go up again?
- I went down to my room and had a drop of liqueur that I had down there, and then while I was there I saw the old doctor [possibly Dr. O'Loughlin] and spoke to him and then I came upstairs again.
A "drop" of liqueur?
quote:

6040. Tell us what happened?
- I went to the deck pantry, and while I was in there I thought I would take a drink of water, and while I was getting the drink of water I heard a kind of a crash as if something had buckled, as if part of the ship had buckled, and then I heard a rush overhead.
Water is decidedly non-alcoholic.
quote:

6247. When you found your boat had gone you said you went down below. What did you do when you went down below?
- I went to my room for a drink.

6248. Drink of what?
- Spirits.

(and)

6249. (Mr. Cotter.) Yes. (To the Witness.) What kind of a glass was it?
- It was a tumbler half-full.

6250. A tumbler half-full of liqueur?
- Yes.
Half full! That's it. At most, three drinks and one of them was water! Hardly a binge where one gets sloshed to the gills.​
 

Jim Kalafus

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>Having said that, Jim, i'm not particularly fussed what the medics have to say, old methods sometimes work better than anything modern

Not when it comes to alcohol it doesn't.

Sorry, I can't let you take those drinks...there are so few worthwhile JTR researchers at the moment that we can't lose one to a stupid wives tale.

Alcohol works as a 'restorative' when you are taken OUT of the cold. That drinker's flush you feel is your body channeling blood to the surface of your skin, and away from the core of your body. It makes you feel pleasantly warm "knocks the chill out of your veins" etc.

If you drink it BEFORE you go into the water, you are shorting out one of your built-in survival tools. The reason that your limbs go dead is that your body is channeling your still-warm blood into your core, to protect your heart and organs. Drunk, you will go into terminal shock faster than a sober person, because your body is carrying blood away from your core and in to your extremities.

Here in the US, we have a phantom serial killer, in the Wisconsin area. He preys on college boys. They are always found, fully clothed, in the river. And they were always massively drunk. Fact is, there ISN'T a serial killer...the killer is the indifference and bemused tolerance with which we treat alcohol consumption. And a segment of the public would rather believe that a phantom maniac is throwing college boys into the river, than it would like to believe that "sowing wild oats" alcohol, winter, and a town with a river that runs through its center is a bad combination.

Up in Saratoga a few months ago, we had a tragedy in which a drunken student tried to walk home in sub-zero, WEARING SHORTS, while feeling the surface warmth that alcohol gives you. When the warmth faded, as it does, and he realised he was in trouble, he broke into a building for warmth, and cut himself severely...all on surveillance tape. Instead of phoning for help, he sat there dealing with his bleeding for a bit, then drunkenly went back into the cold, fell in to a pond, and froze to death.

So, be VERY wary of the drunken flush you get from alcohol. You're not INSULATED...you are just that much closer to terminal shock when the cold gets you.

Drunks do not have the ability to make split second decisions, and aren't very good at general decision making, either. Look at actor William Holden. Drunk, in a hotel room, he fell and severely broke his nose. Instead of dialing "zero" and having the hotel doctor in his room in a matter of minutes, he sat there wadding up Kleenex and stuffing it into his nostrils until he passed out from blood loss, and died. It was a protracted death, and completely avoidable, but his ability to reason was, shall we say, fogged. If you are going into 28F water, you are going to need all the mental sharpness you can get. Drunk, you might try to do something stupid, like swim towards one of the boats 100 yards off. You won't make it.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hypothermia
 
Oct 28, 2000
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"Amen" to Jim K's post regarding demon rum.

Let me add two things I've learned. One is that any amount of alcohol...any amount...has the potential to screw up "mammalian diving response" in humans. This is the automatic slowing of the heart that allows whales and other marine mammals to dive deeply and for prolonged periods of time. In humans, it's vestigial at best. But, take a little alcohol and get an unexpected face-full of cold water, and it can kick in with a vengeance. The heart can seize up causing virtually instant death -- a "dry" drowning.

The other thing is a bit gruesome. Victims of hypothermia appear dead -- cold skin, no pulse, blue color, etc. -- even when they are not yet dead. At that stage adults will never recover brain function, although very young children have been resuscitated with no long-term cognitive problems.

In the past, this appearance of death has fooled many professionals in the health field. A man who trained emergency personnel in handling hypothermia once related a story about that. He said a coroner stood up with an ashen face and said, "You're telling me that I autopsied a living man."

Titanic's hypothermia victims were properly left as the were by the time Carpathia arrived. Even if a spark of life remained there was no equipment and no personnel trained in proper re-warming techniques. The crew of the rescue ship was strained to the utmost handling boatloads of uninjured survivors.

-- David G. Brown
 

Adam Went

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Apr 28, 2003
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Michael, Jim, et al:

For the record, I have a first aid certificate, and there have been nurses in my family for decades. And I would still drink the alcohol if I was going to be submerged in freezing water for any length of time. I'm not a fan of modern science in this case and any day would prefer old methods if they are available.

Besides, unless I need to see my local optometrist, I was under the impression that this thread was titled "How would YOU (i.e. I)escape?", not "What does Michael and Jim think about everybody else's plans of escape?".

I like to simplify things, it's the best way to come up with an easy answer. Joughin, regardless of the amount, had been drinking. Joughin entered the water. Joughin survived. Hundreds upon hundreds of others in the same predicament, but having not drunk beforehand, did not survive. Doesn't that suggest something?

I'm not saying that it doesn't have an adverse effect, of course it does - and you could well become an easier victim of drowning in that case - but at the same time, if you're in the freezing water, there's not much hope for you anyway, so it's worthwhile trying something different.

Neither Joughin nor anybody else would have given the medical science point of view on it a second thought on the morning of April 15, and that's what we are supposed to be discussing on this thread, not what 21st century medical science supposedly tells us.

Yes, Jim, looks like it's back to Ripperology for me....

Cheers,
Adam.
 

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