Saving more lives

Mike Spooner

Member
Jan 31, 2018
586
106
53
Food for thought. As Lord Mersey said the Californian could pushed through the icefield with ease to reach the Titanic in time and rescued the 1500 who died, and said he was less than 10 miles away!
First rocket fired at 12.45 and set of at that time. Californian top speed 12-13 knots. The time captain Lord has gather the crew together and built up maximum steam pressure, I would of thought you are looking at about 1.20 minutes to get there at 2.05am. Titanic sunk at 2.20am.
If the Carpathia took 4 hours to rescue the 700, how long would it taken Californian to rescue the 1500?
 
Dec 4, 2000
3,225
476
213
Lord Mersey's demonstrated maritime knowledge wouldn't have let him use the officers head even if he had the "runs."

It seems odd that he could have been so stupid as to have said that a one-compartment ship could have safely been pushed through a field of ice than night, or any night in any year, even tonight. One kerchunk and Californian could have become the "other ship that sank" that night. And, I'll bet the safety of his ship was foremost in Captain Lord's mind as he surveyed the inside of his cap while resting on that couch. He stopped Californian for the safety of his crew and ship. He would have been a bigger buffoon than Lord Mersey had Lord began making way again after deciding it was too dangerous.

But, even assuming Lord was a wreckless lubber and did steam to Titanic -- then what? It takes a lot of time to lower lifeboats and even longer to recover them for re-use. Yet, that was the rescue plan for the sinking ship. It was intended for Titanic's lifeboats to be used as sort of ferries to carry boatloads of survivors to rescue ships. It took about 2 hours 22 minutes to get the first 16 conventional boats all in the water. Rowing to and from a rescue ship to unload unskilled and frighted passengers could not have taken less time . We can roughly figure that rescuing the 1,500 remaining people would have taken three more trips each of about the same 2 hours and 22 minutes .

This means that even with a rescue ship standing by fully prepared to accept survivors Titanic would have had to have remained safely afloat for a bit less than 7 hours after the launching of the last boat in the first wave to rescue everyone. To get the job done, the ship could not have foundered until after 10 a.m. the next day measured in unaltered April 14th hours. What in hell was Mersey trying to prove? That his head was full of old oakum and rotten baggywrinkle? Or was he trying to create a myth to cover up someone or something?

The easiest way to create myths is to turn honest men into scapegoats.

Some have suggested using rope ladders and cargo nets to allow survivors to clamber aboard Californian. Really? Titanic was not populated with 1,500 Rocky Balboa look-alikes. There were old men and pregnant women, children and old babushkas, Aside from those members of the crew with experience in sail climbing ratlines, no one aboard was physically prepared or trained in the skills of climbing rope nets or ladders. How many would have survived that cold upward ascent after an hour or so in an open boat at below freezing temperatures?

I do know of one ship's crew that was rescued by another vessel by ramming the bow of the good ship into the side of the sinking hull. That would not have worked in the Titanic/Californian situation. The sinking ship was made of wood in the case I speak about and the rescue vessel built of steel.

-- David G. Brown
 
May 3, 2005
2,176
170
133
I think IF you got all 2000 + into all the lifeboats safely ?
And IF Californian could have gotten to Titanic wreck immediately ?
Would you have been able to get all 2000 + safely aboard Californian ?
I think Mersey more or less said that Californian could have done so if Californian could have answered Titanic's rocket signals and had come to the aid of Titanic " Many , if not all , could have been saved." ?
I think Mersey was putting the blame solely on Californian for the loss of 1500 ?
Does this seem realistic ?
I also think this has been discussed previously ?
IMHO some more could possibly have been saved .......but how many more ?
And considering the size and manpower available on Californian how could you take care of them even IF you got all 2000 + aboard the Californian safely ?
I think it's not very realistic to think that you could ?
Do you think Mersey really thought that you could ?

"The easiest way to create myths is to turn honest men into scapegoats." ?
 
Last edited:
  • Like
Reactions: Mike Spooner

Arun Vajpey

Member
Apr 21, 2009
978
186
113
63
IMO. the Californian and the Titanic were probably around 12 miles apart and each ship was partly below the other's horizon. But those looking from the upper decks could see the lights superstructures and mastheads quite easily.

IF the Californian's sole radio operator, Cyril Evans, had been awake despite being allowed to go off duty at midnight, he might have received the Titanic's distress call somewhere between 00:05 and 00:15. IF Evans had immediately raised the alarm and alerted Captain Lord, it would still have taken the latter some time to muster his crew, get the steam-up on his ship and make a headway...... probably 20 minutes? By then it would be 00:30 hours and it probably would have taken the Californian just over an hour to reach the sinking Titanic. By then it would have been around 01:40 hours and what could the Californian and its crew physically have done to save as many lives as possible?
 
Dec 2, 2000
58,582
373
283
Easley South Carolina
Getting steam up wasn't the problem on the Californian. It was already up and KEPT up...by Captain Lord's orders....in case they had to move. When you get down to the brass tacks, the real enemy in any rescue attempt would have been time itself.

If the Californian had been able to make a hyperspace jump to the scene of the accident right at the time OF the accident, and been able to start rescue operations instantly; moving all of those people from the Titanic to the Californian would have been an all hands and all night and well in to the day long evolution.

They didn't have all night and all day. They just didn't.

From the time the first lifeboat was launched, they had less than two hours.

Captain Erik Wood, Tracy Smith, and myself co wrote an article on this very issue and I did a lot of the research in finding real world examples of such transfers being done at sea involving large passenger vessels. Even in the case of the Queen Elizabeth 2 to the then MV Sea Venture, and using motorized lifeboats, the transfer of passengers from the QE2 to the Sea Venture took from dawn to dusk....literally.

Let that sink in.
 
  • Like
Reactions: Mike Spooner

Mike Spooner

Member
Jan 31, 2018
586
106
53
I see we have some good reply's by professional seamen who know dam site more than Lawyers of sea matters ever did.
Time was the enemy. As it took Carpathia 4 hours to take on board 700. Yet I see Carpathia had the easy side, as the passengers and crew members were already in the lifeboats! As if having to load the lifeboats from the Titanic how much longer would of that taken? Not to mention the figure as more that double to 1500!
 

Arun Vajpey

Member
Apr 21, 2009
978
186
113
63
True, but the first point of 'saving lives' from the Titanic or any other sinking ship would have been getting passengers and crew into the lifeboats and away as fast and as efficiently as possible. As long as a distress signal was received and being acted upon, the time taken for rescue ship(s) to arrive at the scene and take survivors on board, while equally important, is a secondary calculation.

IF the Titanic had enough lifeboats for all on board, IF the crew and been trained and assigned stations very clearly, IF all passengers had received clear and specific instructions about where to go and what to do in case of an order from the bridge, IF the order to start loading and lowering the lifeboats had been given by 00:15 hours and IF all concerned had responded quickly and efficiently, more lives would have been saved. But how many more if the flooding and sinking pattern remained exactly the same? That is something I often wonder about.
 
  • Like
Reactions: Mike Spooner

Mike Spooner

Member
Jan 31, 2018
586
106
53
Add more to the IFs. If the Titanic reported the correct position the recovery ships would of come sooner.
I am still trying to get over what Lord Mersey said and clearly not a seaman himself by a large margin. The recovery of 1500 on Titanic. Was he hoping that all 1500 were standing on the open deck in the freezing cold weather waving there hands and arms in the air, to said we are here for the rescue! As there about 200 below deck who are desperately trying to save the ship!
The there is the question of the other 700 who so happen to be the very lifeboats required to save the 1500! Its like waving a magic wand the 700 have been placed on the Carpathia within minutes and not 4 hours.
Yet by the time of 20 lifeboats leaving Titanic two are lost A&B collapsible boats capacity 47 each 94 seats lost. Reducing the seating capacity from 1178 to 1084. Even Californian lifeboats with 200 seating capacity still makes them short of over 200.
How long would take to load each one in the most dangerous position along side of a sinking ship? I would of thought looking at lest an hour for each one. With probably losses in lives of those not so physical fit falling into the freezing cold water in a temp of having to scrambled into a moving lifeboats.
What an earth was Mersey thinking about? After all he is a very intelligence man of his position in legal matters! I can only come to conclusion he and his legal assistants are been paid a handsome figure to represent the Government for the interest of protecting the Board of Trade who have failed in moving with the times on safety issues!
 
S

SmileyGirl

Guest
Hi. Please don’t be cruel to me if I’m being silly! Does anyone know how many deck chairs there were on board? And how many deck chairs does it take to hold a human being and keep them dry? Would that have been viable to save 1000 people (obviously I am discounting the 500 who should have been put into the lifeboats as there was room).
 

Mike Spooner

Member
Jan 31, 2018
586
106
53
According to Charles Joughin- Chief Baker.
It was an idea of my own. I should say I threw about fifty chairs out. But I did not see anybody else throwing chairs over.
 
  • Like
Reactions: 1 person
S

SmileyGirl

Guest
And do you know if anyone was saved by climbing onto a deck chair?
 

Mike Spooner

Member
Jan 31, 2018
586
106
53
I very much doubt it if anybody survive on a deck chair in the freezing cool water. O though surprisingly Charles Joughin did survive swimming in the freezing cool water next to the upside down lifeboat B for a few hours!
 
  • Like
Reactions: 1 person
S

SmileyGirl

Guest
Didn't that Japanese survivor do just that? He tied himself to a deck chair or something?
Oh I remember about this. So it was a deck chair he was on? I remember he was penalised heavily by his country surviving!
 
S

SmileyGirl

Guest
I very much doubt it if anybody survive on a deck chair in the freezing cool water. O though surprisingly Charles Joughin did survive swimming in the freezing cool water next to the upside down lifeboat B for a few hours!

What about cabin doors? Would they have supported a human being each?
 
Dec 4, 2000
3,225
476
213
The human body is nearly buoyant by itself. It doesn't take much to keep an adult afloat, even a large man like an Ameircan football linebacker. So, even a relatively small amount of wood can save someone's life under the right circumstances. better still are a few pounds of buoyancy from a cork, kapok, or closed-cell foam live preserver. That will keep the victim afloat. However, even when a life vest works perfectly the person wearing it is not "saved." A good life preserver must provide enough freeboard between the surface of the water and the victim's mouth. Many people have drowned in rough water despite being fully supported by modern devices. (Look up the history of the 1979 Fastnet Race for sailboats.)

The weight of the person's clothing is often blamed for their being "pulled donder. Not so. Wool, cotton, and synthetics all tend to weigh about the same as water, so do not pull the victim under. And, many garments entrap enough air to act as a life preserver in and of themselves until the air is driven out by water. I've seen six men try to submerge a seventh who was wearing full U.S. fire turnout gear. That gear weighs 70 to near 100 pounds, including fire boots. The seventh man did a back float and never got water in his nose while the other six used him like a life raft.

My personal experience rescuing nine people taught me that the weight of clothing does not cause drowning. But it does make pulling a human being out of the water extremely difficult. Water is heavy even compared to the Popeye muscles of a group of middle-aged rescuers. (If you get into trouble on the water make sure a bunch of 20-something men with well-trained muscles are in your rescue boat.) And, yes, I can verify that mildly hypothermic people do slur words and have problems with muscle control just like drunks.

Baker Joughin at one point "chucked" a passel of deck chairs over side. Or he claimed he did and there is no reason to doubt him. Later, as the boat deck went under ship's barber Weikman clambered aboard some deck chairs which kept most of his body out of the water until he was able to be rescued by a lifeboat.
 
S

SmileyGirl

Guest
Thanks so much for that David. I was just wondering if indeed a couple of deck chairs lashed together or cabin doors could keep a human dry for a few hours and wondered if there would have been enough deckchairs/cabin doors on the ship to have kept 1000 people dry. Anyone?
 
Dec 4, 2000
3,225
476
213
Keeping survivors afloat is a long way from keeping them toasty warm. There was probably enough wood aboard the ship to build a new Ark for Noah's flock. But, getting it out and then making into rafts capable of keeping people both dry and warm...well that's would have been a trick too much even for Houdini.

But, let's say you managed to make 1,000 rafts. How would you get people from the slopiing deck of the sinking liner down to those rafts without forcing them to jump into the water? Once they're wet, they weigh more because of the water trapped in their clothing, a factor which must be considered in the size of the rafts. And, wet exacerbates the effects of hypothermia. So, you would ultimately have a bunch of frozen people. The job of recovering those bodies would have been easier, but a body is not a living soul.

From time to time we see an upswelling of suggestions about how to have "saved everyone" using everthing from deckchairs to mattresses and bedding. The desire not to see anyone die is understanding. But, the situation during the ship's last hour afloat did not allow any such fanciful ideas. There really wasn't time for them even when the ship was grinding across the ice. The only way to have saved lives that night would have been to delay the sinking. That didn't happen.

-- David G. Brown
 
S

SmileyGirl

Guest
Yes, I guess you are right David. I suppose I thought if they had put all the elderly, weak, disabled, women and children into the boats and left all strong fit men, I thought that maybe most of them would have survived just to be in the sea for a couple of minutes before they got on the rafts. I didn’t think of the clothes making them heavier!
 
Dec 4, 2000
3,225
476
213
Don't forget that clothing only makes someone heavier when they are once more back in the air. Clothing has negligible weight when it's actually in the water.

A few years ago my students in the boat lab at Toledo Maritime Academy built an 11-foot boat in about 90 minutes. The did it while the guests of the "Admirals Ball" were enjoying dinner. That boat would have held about six people in calm water, two in rough water, and one in stormy conditions. Even so, building boats takes time. That boat only took 90 minutes because the bottom, side blanks, stem, breasthook, frame, and transom had all been pre-made and everything dry fitted prior to the event. All that work took about 20 hours in the shop. So, building credible boats was virtually impossible during the time Titanic had afloat. More lives could have been saved by prudent use of the lifeboats provided.

-- David G. Brown