Saving more lives

R.M.S TITANIC

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Mar 7, 2016
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Honestly, because of how everything was against the Titanic that night, its not a surprise that lots of people died. But then again, those are good estimates.

However.. couldn't they just have taken mattresses, chairs, crates, anything that floats, and put it out in the water and float on it? Its kind of ridiculous.
 
Apr 30, 2009
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Honestly, because of how everything was against the Titanic that night, its not a surprise that lots of people died. But then again, those are good estimates.

However.. couldn't they just have taken mattresses, chairs, crates, anything that floats, and put it out in the water and float on it? Its kind of ridiculous.
The probability of John Jaeger being either a Mathematician or Statistician, I would estimate as 1 in 2 !!!
 

Tinkse7en

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Jul 1, 2017
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Here, we call that particular phenomenon (reserved, generally, for those punters who pull down batting averages, etc., out of thin air) as a "mathemagician."

Can't resist a bad pun! Apologies to OP- analysis aside, I think you pose a valid question. Why wasn't more done?

Well, given your forethoughtful officer (and I deeply wish there had been such a one), he would be following orders from his superior officer, performing his assigned duty.. Deviation from that would be seen as dereliction of duty, if not worse. Actually, might have even gotten him shot! In that time, it would have been unthinkable for a sailor to do ought but what he was ordered. Same mindset maintains in military operations yo this day.

I've loved the tale of the Whiskey Baker, who had extreme presence of mind to hurl deck chairs into the sea for flotation devices, before going back for a second round! (I just know someone will pinprick this little bubble of Titanic probable myth for me haha! But when it comes to Titanic, or indeed, any history: I'd rather the truth than the myth.
 

Mark Baber

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Moderator's hat on:

Once again, folks, please limit your messages to the subject matter and not to personalities.

Thanks.

Moderator's hat off.
 

Jim Currie

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Apr 16, 2008
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Here, we call that particular phenomenon (reserved, generally, for those punters who pull down batting averages, etc., out of thin air) as a "mathemagician."

Can't resist a bad pun! Apologies to OP- analysis aside, I think you pose a valid question. Why wasn't more done?

Well, given your forethoughtful officer (and I deeply wish there had been such a one), he would be following orders from his superior officer, performing his assigned duty.. Deviation from that would be seen as dereliction of duty, if not worse. Actually, might have even gotten him shot! In that time, it would have been unthinkable for a sailor to do ought but what he was ordered. Same mindset maintains in military operations yo this day.

I've loved the tale of the Whiskey Baker, who had extreme presence of mind to hurl deck chairs into the sea for flotation devices, before going back for a second round! (I just know someone will pinprick this little bubble of Titanic probable myth for me haha! But when it comes to Titanic, or indeed, any history: I'd rather the truth than the myth.
Hello there! You write "Deviation from that would be seen as dereliction of duty, if not worse. Actually, might have even gotten him shot! In that time, it would have been unthinkable for a sailor to do ought but what he was ordered"

Not really. Here is what 2nd Officer Lightoller had to say on that very subject:

"14375. And the speed, therefore, could only be diminished by the Captain's orders?
- No, I would not go so far to say that the speed could only be diminished by that. Let me give you an instance. Suppose I had seen the smallest scrap of ice, supposing we had passed a little bit of the field ice that was knocking about on the other side of this pack ice, had I seen any indication of the vicinity; proof positive of the vicinity of ice, I should very probably have telegraphed myself at the same time that I sent word to the Commander. Had we come across ice, as I just said, in any degree, whether the Commander had been on the bridge or not, I should have acted on my own initiative."


As for the other ranks: almost all Titanic's deck crew were highly trained Able Seamen with years of experience carrying out every job in deck. They only needed to be told what to do, not how to do it. Titanic was part of the UK Merchant Navy, not the Royal Navy. As such the crew were not subject to RN discipline. The use of a weapon on a crew member of merchant vessel in 1912 and today was and is treated in exactly the same way as the use of a weapon on shore...it was and still is, a criminal offence. The only exception wasand still is, in a case of mutiny whereby there was or is deemed to be, a risk to life and limb of all other souls on board.
 

Millerpsc

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Jul 3, 2017
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According to the inquiries the crew in charge of loading the lifeboats were afraid that the weight of the passengers if filly loaded would have caused the lifeboats to buckle. The lifeboats capacity was how many people could be in the boats on water...not suspended 70 feet above the water. It wasnt until the later part of the sinking that the crew began filling up the boats more fully. Example officer Lowe placed about 50 into boat 14
 
Apr 27, 2016
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So, I'm bringing this thread back to life.

Watching this propaganda film of the Aquitania in the 1920's:


Lead me to me create a specific thread about it: Lifeboat evacuation in the Aquitania during the 1920's

And also to bring part of it's content to this discussion. So, as I have asked there: ''by that time (1920's) the liners had more people qualified to lower and man the boats in order to launch them in a better way than Titanic despite the inferior davits Aquitania used?'' Discussion of Aquitania features may be somewhat off topic here, but I'm wondering if the post-Titanic era resulted in a substantial number of crewman who despite not being sailors, were being trained to launch and operate lifeboats. Because as I did ask in my thread: ''the numbers (of lifeboats launched provided in the film) caught my attention and I would like to figure out if they were indeed realistic''. Jim Currie kindly gave me his professional opinion there in the sense that those numbers could be realistic, as long as they were enough hands to conduct the lifeboat launch operation. In the film, it is mentioned that almost 80 boats could be launched in less than 30 minutes. That's a staggering improvement if the situation is compared to the Titanic one (and no, I'm not criticizing the performance of Titanic's crew), and even more if we take into account that Aquitania used an inferior radial davit design. I think that again, just drawing a comparison with the conditions of Titanic, even if it took 01:30 to launch 77 boats, that would be still quite an achivement. Of course, if the numbers were in fact realistic, I'm not trying to make a comparison of different historical situations. And I'm also aware that Titanic did founder in conditions that most vessels in distress don't find themselves in. So I'm not trying to overestimate the capabilities of lifeboats in those days, and perhaps even today. But neverthless, I'm trying to do an exercise in order to figure out if after the Titanic disaster another vessel (such as Aquitania) found itself in a similar situation to it, if it's crew would be able to deal with the situation in a substantial better way.
 
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May 3, 2005
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Would be very difficult as there was no alarm system on board those ships.



Which is mainly a myth. The crew were trained. The problem was mainly that some came from different ship like Oceanic. However on every ship there was a drill on every voyage.



Actually she did sunk "slow". However not enough time to launch all boats.



Quite right! One of the reason why some of the starboard boats left half full and as 5th Officer Lowe said, the loading took a lot of time as people were not willing to go and in several cases also start to discuss with the crew.
Wasn't it having been noted that there were never any lifeboat drills conducted on Titanic during the voyage ?

Also (I believe this has already been discussed ?) The question of how many could have been saved if Californian had come to Titanic immediately ? I think there has been some criticism of Lord Mersey's statement that if Californian had done this "Many, if not all, could have been saved." ?
 

Kas01

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May 24, 2018
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Also (I believe this has already been discussed ?) The question of how many could have been saved if Californian had come to Titanic immediately ? I think there has been some criticism of Lord Mersey's statement that if Californian had done this "Many, if not all, could have been saved." ?
I strongly doubt it. With 6 boats of indeterminate size based on the photo reputedly taken on the morning after, I doubt Californian could have gotten much more than 200-300 people off. And then, there's the question of where you put 900-1,000 people on a cotton carrier designed for 47 pax.
 
Mar 18, 2008
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Wasn't it having been noted that there were never any lifeboat drills conducted on Titanic during the voyage ?
There was the lifeboat drill for the Board of Trade done on April 10th the morning of the sailing. During the voyage there would have been the fire and boat drill (for April 14th) which was actually nothing more than a muster of the crew at their fire and boat stations. I did go a little into detail in this research article.

The forgotten drills aboard Titanic
 
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Aaron_2016

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I strongly doubt it. With 6 boats of indeterminate size based on the photo reputedly taken on the morning after, I doubt Californian could have gotten much more than 200-300 people off. And then, there's the question of where you put 900-1,000 people on a cotton carrier designed for 47 pax.
My guess would be, the Californian would drape rope ladders and nets over her side and everyone would climb up and patiently wait on her decks for the Carpathia to arrive and then everyone would be ferried in the lifeboats from one ship to the other.


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Nov 14, 2005
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From what happened that night with the boats they had more lifeboats probably wouldn't have made much difference other than if they were able to cut them loose to drift maybe a few more might have been able to climb aboard some. Most as soon as they hit the water were not able to function anymore. But a chance is better than no chance. White Star should of had more lifeboats on her ships. One of the few good things to come out of the Titanic tragedy was the change in regulations.
 
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Aaron_2016

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From what happened that night with the boats they had more lifeboats probably wouldn't have made much difference other than if they were able to cut them loose to drift maybe a few more might have been able to climb aboard some. Most as soon as they hit the water were not able to function anymore. But a chance is better than no chance. White Star should of had more lifeboats on her ships. One of the few good things to come out of the Titanic tragedy was the change in regulations.
I believe the industry felt that a ship of Titanic's enormous size and strength would have lasted long enough for several ships to come to her assistance. It seemed unthinkable that she would strike an iceberg in the middle of an ocean and would need to be evacuated in a short time. It was such an unlikely possibility that it never crossed their mind to prepare for that kind of disaster. As the old saying goes - we learn from our mistakes.

Many ships have a habit of keeling over which renders half of their lifeboats unusable. Perhaps it will take another tragedy to come up with an idea to keep the ships balanced on a level keel. Not sure if such a strategy has been successfully used. Titanic was fortunate that she did not keel over immediately.


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Kas01

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Given the kinds of seas Olympic operated in on a routine basis, I'm not entirely sure simply putting in more lifeboats without dramatically altering lifeboat design would have been possible.
 
Nov 14, 2005
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Given the kinds of seas Olympic operated in on a routine basis, I'm not entirely sure simply putting in more lifeboats without dramatically altering lifeboat design would have been possible.
Yes believe your right about the design change. They would have had to change things to get more boats in the water in less time. I know its comparing apples to oranges but the ship I was on had over 5000 people on it and we had no lifeboats. We did however have inflatable life rafts. There was no launching. They were ejected over the side and self inflated. The only draw back to that was most would have to jump in the water and swim to them. But being in the south pacific that was no big deal...kinda like an emergency "swim call".
 

Adam E

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Dec 30, 2018
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Just curious what everyone thinks would be most feasible for saving as many people as possible. Obvious lifeboat shortage, what about steaming toward Californian? Shuttling people to icebergs? Etc.
 

Rancor

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Just curious what everyone thinks would be most feasible for saving as many people as possible. Obvious lifeboat shortage, what about steaming toward Californian? Shuttling people to icebergs? Etc.
To quote David G. Brown, the best way of saving lives would be to not hit the iceberg.

Assuming that we can't change that, I would have to agree with the assessments that really they did pretty well with the circumstances at hand. All the life boats were launched in an orderly manner, the power was kept on until the last minute, and rescue ships were contacted and were on the way. There have been a number of modern vessels that have sunk in recent times where none of these have happened.

If all the lifeboats were fully loaded a few more lives could have been saved, but how to do this without either risking a panic by telling everyone that they must board the lifeboats immediately because the ship will sink, or else waiting until later in the sinking and potentially not get all the boats away...?
 

Mike Spooner

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Jan 31, 2018
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I think a very costly mistake of saving lives and said at the time in the best of intention. Was that order Women and Children only for the lifeboats. As many boats left far from full as many men were waiting to board those empty seats!
 

Rich Hayden

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Jul 17, 2014
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I always feel reticent about criticising Lightoller's actions that night but I can't help but feel that the 'Woman and children only' order was sort of unforgivable and ultimately pointless. And I'm not sure it's what Smith actually ordered. First or only. Which was it?

Didn't Lowe also refuse entry to the boats for what were essentially kids as well? It was a different world, I guess.

For me, it's the most disturbing part of the story: that young men with their lives ahead of them died because lifeboats were leaving the ship half empty.

It's easy with hindsight, obviously.