Well Jennifer,

There really is no such thing as an unsinkable ship. Depending on who you talk to you here I am sure that there are different ideas from different people. My own opinion is if they extended the bulkheads up a deck it could have prevented a sinking that most think happened.

If I use my and Dave Brown/Parks Stephenson's version of the damage no matter how the ship was made she was going to the bottom.

One way to do it might have been to build the ship to military standards, but as the Lusitania's loss illustrated in gruesome detail, this is no gaurantee. She took a hit and sank in 18 minutes. Conceivably, as Erik indicated, extending the watertight bulkheads higher might have done the trick. Likewise, eliminating the firemans tunnel and the boundry it penetrated by way of bulkhead B might have made a difference. Also, having watertight decks complete with watertight hatches might have made a difference.

There are a number of problems with this, not the least of which is ease of access to other parts of the ship which is a matter of convenience not only for the crew. but the fare paying passengers. One could have designed the Titanic so that it could have had literally thousands of individual watertight compartments but getting around would be so rediculously difficult, that passengers would book passage on far more comnfortable ships. In this sense, the Titanic would have been 100% safe as the only place she would have gone to is the breakers.

Even if passengers were willing to accept the inconvenience, there still would have been the matter of training needed in order to button the ship up and properly contain the damage. Warships have literally thousands of watertight and gas tight fittings which can be closed, but to do it right takes a years worth of constant training in a relentless workup schedule that mercentile crews don't have time for. Even then, there are always mistakes made and fittings that for some reason, just don't work.

In closing, if you take a look at the Britannic, you'll see a ship where all sort's of improvements were made over the Titanic vis a vis higher bulkheads a double hull, etc, but when she parked on a mine, she sank in an hour.

Michael H. Standart
Jennifer asks the question that was never asked in 1912. Rephrased as it should have been spoken at the BOT hearings, "What in Titanic's design and/or construction made it so vulnerable to damage in the bow?"

Looking at the Olympic class of vessels, there is one design feature quite different from any other multi-compartment vessel. It involves every compartment from hold #1 to boiler room #6--which are curiously the same spaces that initially flooded after the accident.

There is also the curiosity that two-thirds of the Olympic class of vessels sank as the result of damage to their bows. Titanic struck on an iceberg and Britannic suffered from either a mine or torpedo. The similarity of outcome is striking.

Much has been made of the "improvements" to Britannic. However, it is obvious they were of no consequence in the face of disaster. This indicates that the so-called improvements did not correct the fatal flaw in the Olympic class design. All of the work done to Britannic was of no more value than rearranging the deck chairs.

What was the fatal flaw? What was the major difference between the Olympics and their counterparts? The answer is that firemen's stair tower, tunnel, and multi-door vestibule. It is my opinion that without this aquaduct through their bows, that both Titanic and Britannic would likely have survived their injuries.

-- David G. Brown
I am not sure that is knowable since Smith and the carpenter and most of the engineers died. I believe Hitchens (don't quote me) tesitfies that Smith noticed a 5 degree list to starboard directly after the accident.
This may be off topic just a little, but I always belive that Titanic was MEANT to sank, to prove man's belief that he was superior to mother nature was nothing more than a thin veil of smoke.

I belive that no matter how well designed, or if events may have been different, she would have gone down.

Just my two cents anyhoo
Well, that statement can be agreed with on a religious point of view. I think God makes things like this happen every now and then to give us a good wake up call and let us know whose really in charge. This stems just from my personal belief. So basically Ken, I agree with you.
Not the first time I've seen that opinion, but I do have to ask why Titanic - Olympic was all that Titanic was, but first. Why not go for sinking the first ship in that series rather than holding off for a couple of years? Does God play dice with the universe? Parks started a thread about this earlier this year: Wrath of God?. Lots of points to ponder in there, if you're interested.
People like to look for extrodinary causes to tragic events, but I wonder if when we say God was sending a "message" if were really just trying to give him the blame?

As the existance of diety...any diety...is impossible to prove or disprove by the evidence, I'm afraid we're just spinning our wheels by taking that track. For all the superlatives we toss at the ship, and for all the increduality we express, the ship's loss was really not all that remarkable at all. It was a series of mistakes, one after another which killed the ship. Not the divine, just human error.

Human error...which we are loath to admit to...has put more ships on the bottom then any other cause befor and since 1912!
Michael Standart said: Human error...which we are loath to admit to...has put more ships on the bottom then any other cause befor and since 1912!

Great little tid bit.
Hi Raymond, a list of ten degrees on a ship is not that big a deal. They're designed to right themselves from far worse. As to the list the Titanic took, we know it varied throughout the night and in some instances coaused difficulties in launching some of the lifeboats. Overall though, it wasn't that dramatic.

In fact, one of the things about the Titanic which makes her the "Odd man out" of shipwrecks is that she went down on a more or less even keel.
OK, this is probably a stupid question and it comes from a landlubber and someone who struggled with physics and knows nothing of ship construction, but here goes. Wouldn't it make more sense to have watertight bulkheads capped off, ie, put a ceiling on the suckers and make them into watertight compartments? Would this have been out of the question? If so, why? If not out of the question, would it have worked/helped?

It just seems that without a ceiling, the water could flow from one compartment to another, well, just like it did in 1912.

If this has been addressed elsewhere, I haven't found it. If it has, just point me in the proper direction. Thanks for indulging.