Impact Titanic had on subsequent ship design


M

Mary Campion

Guest
My fourth grade son is very interested in the Titanic. He is doing a research project and is interested in finding out what impact the Titanic disaster had on subsequent ship design. We've been scrolling through all the fascinating comments about the ship and what it was about the design that caused it to sink. From a historical perspective what key design changes were made to ships after the disaster? Does anyone know where to find more information on that topic?

Thank you
 

Erik Wood

Member
Apr 10, 2001
3,519
8
223
The loss of the Titanic had several impacts. Not only in watchkeeping but in design and evcuations.

Mike S. hit on some good books.
 
T

Tom Pappas

Guest
Interestingly enough, HMHS Britannic, Titanic's younger sister, had a double hull and higher watertight bulkheads, and yet she sank in less than an hour, probably because the watertight doors and portholes were open. There were lifeboats for all, but most of those killed were in lifeboats, some of which were chopped to pieces by the propellers.

Maybe a more interesting question would be: what effect did the loss of Titanic have on future maritime casualties?

I think the answer is: not much. The "lifeboats for all" didn't do Lusitania or Andrea Doria much good (for different reasons), 24-hour wireless watches probably would have happened anyway, and no system of compartmenting would have saved Estonia, Empress of Ireland, or Herald of Free Enterprise.

The problem is: no matter what precautions are taken to ensure the safety of those aboard ships based on what went wrong the last time, the sea will always figure out another way to kill them.

Sort of like the Space Shuttle.
 

Erik Wood

Member
Apr 10, 2001
3,519
8
223
Tom said: The problem is: no matter what precautions are taken to ensure the safety of those aboard ships based on what went wrong the last time, the sea will always figure out another way to kill them.

Amen to that.
 
M

mike disch

Guest
Keeping in mind that the question is for a 4th grader, I would be cautious about being some excessively cynical. There is always the potential for disaster (ships, cars, sitting on our couch), but improvements (watertight doors, car air bags, etc.) do improve ones odds. The issue is one of finding that balance between alertness, confidence, over-confidence and a few other things. I understand there was a White Star sign on the Bridge warning, among other things, about over-confidence. The problem is the difference between theory and practice.

Also, you said your child's question concenred the impact on ship design. If he wants to go further, there is the impact of the sinking on society. Frankie Goldsmith (I believe) is often quoted as saying he believed that the world of today began on that night. There's a great book by Butler, "Unsinkable? the true story of the Titanic which deals with this in the early chapters. If you live near any of the Titanic exhibits, there's always a store with a ton of books.
There are also several videotapes by A&E, Discovery Channel, Nat'l Geographic, and others, that you might want to watch with your son. A lot of it will be beyond him, but kids do have a tendency to surprise us with their level of understanding.
Lastly, one effect is the establishment of an international ice patrol, now handled by the US Coast Guard, which finds icebergs and destroys them (it's only ice, nothing endangered).
 

Dave Gittins

Member
Apr 11, 2001
5,033
288
353
The day the International Ice Patrol destroys an iceberg will be the day! Those things are impervious to anything short of nuclear weapons. I've seen some amusing footage of the USN firing on a berg with negligible results.

One thing that can be done is to tow them away. This is routinely done in the offshore oil industry. They keep a watch for bergs drifting towards their oilrigs and tow them a little to one side or the other if they look like causing trouble.

Getting back to the original question, the honest answer is 'not much'. Most modern ships are quite similar to Titanic as far as floatability goes. Double bottom, single shell hull and transverse bulkheads. All the work done on Olympic and Britannic had more to do with restoring White Star's reputation than with real safety. It didn't flow through to ships in general. Even the changes to lifeboat rules have been grossly over-valued in the popular accounts. Changes made soon after 1912 were limited by the technology of the time and by the nature of most marine accidents. Even today, you'd be surprised at what the rules actually say. Like so much about Titanic, her effect on marine safety is grossly exaggerated.
 
B

Brian Hawley

Guest
Mike, it was Jack Thayer who said:

It seems to me that the disaster about to occur was the event, which not only made the world rub its eyes and awake, but woke it with a start, keeping it moving at a rapidly accelerating pace ever since, with less and less peace, satisfaction, and happiness.

Today the individual has to be contented with rapidity of motion, nervous emotion, and economic insecurity. To my mind the world of today awoke April 15th, 1912.

I highly recommend reading Jacks entire book, its short and very well written.

Check out this fine web site for more:

http://www.bytenet.net/thayer/noframes/book/book1.html


Brian
 

Erik Wood

Member
Apr 10, 2001
3,519
8
223
Dave G said: Like so much about Titanic, her effect on marine safety is grossly exaggerated.

I had to think on it before I decided to post. But I think Dave is right. Ships are one compartment ships (at least the ships I have been on). Passenger safety while regarded highly is also underfunded. The only thing that I might say came from this (others would argue it came after troop ship abandonments in WW2) is the use of muster stations in the evcuation of ships.

The way lifeboats where assigned in Titanic's day made very little sense, and there was only one place for the majority of passengers to go when called to evcuate. Regardless of there physical location on the ship they all had to go to the same place. That isn't the case anymore.

Ship design is another matter all together. I had orginally been of the opinion that today's design was the direct result of the failures in Titanic's design. Part of that I agree with but the improvements (99.9% of them came after the battle testing of two World Wars) that where made then are much different then the designs of today. I think the primary lesson learned from Titanic is "don't hit an iceberg".

There are lessons to be learned from the "why" the ship hit the iceberg. What those lessons are, I don't have a clue.
 
Dec 2, 2000
58,649
569
483
Easley South Carolina
>>Today the individual has to be contented with rapidity of motion, nervous emotion, and economic insecurity. To my mind the world of today awoke April 15th, 1912.<<

Hello Brian. I've heard that quote a number of times. Having said that, I wonder how much the world awoke in the wake of the Titanic's loss. The sequence appeared to go a lot like this;

1)The Disaster happens and a lot of people die.
2)The inquiries are held and some reccomendations are offered up.
3)The usual round of knee-jerk "fixes" takes place.
4)The whole thing is quickly forgotten and for the most part, it's back to business as usual.

Routes were shifted south, ships carried lifeboats for all, the International Ice patrol is created, but ships still put the pedal to the metal in all conditions short of very bad weather or very poor visibility. That last part is at the very heart of why the Titanic came to grief.

Gotta meet the schedules after all.

And short of a warship, how many ships today can meet the standard of watertight subdivision that the Olympic's did?

Zero! Or so close to it that the difference is scarcely worth mentioning. Last time I looked, the "It can't happen to me." attitude of 1912, while having taken a beating from time to time, is still alive and well. I guess that's what I find the most unsettling. Not much has changed at all.
 
B

Brian Hawley

Guest
I agree Mike, today's disasters follow your outline to a T. Airline crashes are front page news for a few weeks then are quickly forgotten. I suppose that moving on with life is just human nature. Just like today many folks in 1912 had a vested interest in sweeping Titanic under the rug as quickly as possible. White Star, IMM, the stock holders in various shipping firms, the government in the UK and US, and all the other shipping lines wanted nothing more than to forget Titanic ever happened.


Brian
 
M

Mary Campion

Guest
Dear People,
Thank you for helping me with my project on the Titanic! All your information was very helpful!
Thankfully,
P.C
Our research is complete. As my son says above, we really appreciate your input. It is a fascinating subject and we had fun reading everyone's messages. The thoughts about how we handle disaster are certainly something to ponder. Wishing you all safety and peace,
Mary C.
 

Kammy Tribus

Member
Aug 6, 2006
39
0
86
I wonder if Mary is still around to tell us how her grandson's paper turned out?
happy.gif


Here is another question along the same lines. Did the discovery of the Titanic and subsequent visits and analysis have any effect on shipbuilding today? I know things have changed a great deal since 1912 but I've always wondered about this since sinking theories changed dramatically with the discovery of the hull.

Thanks!

Kammy
 
Dec 2, 2000
58,649
569
483
Easley South Carolina
>>Did the discovery of the Titanic and subsequent visits and analysis have any effect on shipbuilding today? <<

Not that I'm aware of and I can't think of any reason why it should. The design of the Olympic class was already well documented and any lessons learned have long since been applied wherever practical. All the discovery of the wreck did was make a proper forensics analysis possible.
 

Mark Baber

Moderator
Member
Dec 29, 2000
6,280
286
353
I wonder if Mary is still around

She's not. Click on her name and you'll see that her profile no longer exists.
 

Kammy Tribus

Member
Aug 6, 2006
39
0
86
Thank you Michael for answering my question. I don't know enough about shipbuilding to have even ventured a guess!

Thank you Mark for your advice. Learning more about the members by reading their profiles is great fun. There is such a wide variety in what people do, where they are from, and why they are here.

Actually, I had guessed Mary was not around anymore given the topic of the one and only post made by her. Great place to come when your kids have reports though! I will certainly remember as mine get older!
happy.gif


Kammy
 
Dec 2, 2000
58,649
569
483
Easley South Carolina
>>I don't know enough about shipbuilding to have even ventured a guess!<<

Hang around here long enough and we can help you cure that. You might try using Google to dig up some links on the subject and that may help you improve your understanding.
 

Kammy Tribus

Member
Aug 6, 2006
39
0
86
Why I asked this question... Well, now you can all see exactly how lame I can be!!

I don't remember exactly what year it was but after Ballard found the Titanic, there was a news report saying something to the effect that they'd discovered that the rivets had popped, opening up some of the seams in the hull.

I had a huge argument with my then-boyfriend. This guy, who will examine a tank to death and believes in preserving every scrap of armament anywhere in the world turns his nose up at marine archeology. I was so mad that I spurted out something like "This is so important! Don't you realize the ramifications this could have on ship building today?" Folks, I'm pretty sure today's hulls are welded instead of riveted but I was just so darn ticked off!

Fast forward to now and I'm married to the same guy. I was really hoping someone here would tell me I was right, just so I could tell my husband. I just don't get his attitude about marine history - he's an oceanographic tech for heaven's sake - LOL!

Respectfully and Humbly Yours,

Kammy
 

Similar threads

Similar threads