Using The Iceberg As A Giant Raft


Jul 13, 2020
Please excuse the odd title, but this crossed my mine as I was reading some alternate collision theories and their suspected survivability rate. Theoretically, could the iceberg itself have been used as a sort of giant raft, i.e. the passengers just sit on it and wait for rescue? It would alleviate the lifeboat shortage and underfilled lifeboat problem, at least to an extent. I assume blankets and linens could be taken and laid out on the iceberg to add some insulation, although the first class would probably never agree to the idea of sitting on a giant lump of ice in the Atlantic. Despite the fact that this is completely unrealistic because most would not agree to it, if they were willing to wait on the iceberg would it have been possible to do so without also contracting hypothermia from the cold of the ice and air, and could the iceberg have even been sat on? I'm not sure how jagged or flat it was, or how an iceberg of that size would be generally shaped.

If this could have happened, I think it would be best to have children and the elderly or sick on lifeboats, and able bodies on the ice, or have mixed groups in lifeboats and on ice and then switch after a time if possible to keep the cold of the ice from causing any extreme harm. Ideally class separation would not be a problem, although in reality it most likely would. Maybe the classes could be separated with certain lifeboats for classes, at least with designated "third class" lifeboats and mixed "first and second class" boats?

I believe the Titanic had actually left the iceberg behind a bit, but considering that some of the lifeboats rowed towards distant lights and made fairly good time in rowing, could they have possibly ferried people to and from the iceberg? I'm sure this would have taken time, but could it have been done? If Titanic had stopped right when it hit the iceberg this would probably be a much more effcient theory, but I think anything that might give a slightly better survival rate is better than the 1,517 deaths that took place due to underfilled boats and a lack of sufficent boats to begin with.
Last edited:

J Sheehan

Aug 23, 2019
Cork, Ireland
Personally, I wouldn't sit on an iceberg that might be highly unstable enough without any additional top weight on it...not to mention its sheer cliff like walls.

In that situation, I'll be honest, I'd rather take my chances in the water.
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May 3, 2005
I think it would be rather difficult, if not impossible, to get on an iceberg in the first place.
Ice is rather slippery.
Are there any instances of people getting on an iceberg ?
Jul 28, 2020
There are people who climb icebergs for fun (because of course there are) and I just perused a few articles about it. Given that there were many icebergs in the area, it seems plausible there would have been one in the area that was relatively stable and flat on top that could have been reached from an upper deck. But it's hard to imagine anyone coming up with this idea in real time. Climbing one requires ice axes and crampons and experience, none of which were present.
Nov 14, 2005
Almost anything is possible given enough time and resources. But they had no way to get to any berg in the time they had. Plus who would get ouf a relativly safe lifeboat to crawl on some ice. The only way I could something like that working even remotly is if they were surrounded by an ice flow that they could be lowered onto without getting wet. But no harm in speculating about it because in rare cases it has been done before.

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