What if all of the lifeboats went back after the ship foundered


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>>I've seen bigger waves than that on my local lake. It was hardly life-threatening.<<

Adam, I really have no idea what latitude your "local lake" is, but is your lake capable of 60 foot swells? could it submerge the bow of a vessel that is 75 feet to the waterline? is it capable of rogue waves in excess of 100 feet? and could it contain an iceberg the size of Manhattan?
There is a Plimsoll marking on ships that simply says; "WNA"{ it means "Winter, North Atlantic"

The North Atlantic is no joke.
 
>>I've seen bigger waves than that on my local lake. It was hardly life-threatening.<<

That may well be the case but it really misses the point. The North Atlantic even in the best of times is positively notorious for rapid, unpredictable, and extremely violent changes in the weather. The millpond like conditions which the Titanic survivors launched their boats into just didn't last. They were fantatically lucky that things didn't turn worse.

This particular region, right off the Grand Banks of Newfoundland ain't known as The Graveyard Of Ships for nothing. It's been killing ships of all sizes for centuries.
 

Adam Went

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Steven:

Actually, it is quite a dangerous lake, because it used to be a rather deep river which was flooded into a lake a long time ago. So you can be wading through it, touching the bottom, and then all of a sudden it will drop off into nothing. As such, it wouldn't surprise me if a very large ship could fit in there. Probably not capable of 60 foot waves though, I have to admit. I certainly hope not anyway!

Still, atleast in the middle of the North Atlantic, the survivors were under no illusions how deep the water below them was....

Michael:

That's true - I think we've all seen on documentaries before where they launch the submersibles in relatively calm water, and then by the time they re-surface, it's very rough indeed.

Still, the ocean had already taken the lives of 1,500 people that night - it would have been too unfair of it to place the lives of those in the lifeboats in peril with rough seas as well.
 
>>...it would have been too unfair of it to place the lives of those in the lifeboats in peril with rough seas as well.<<

Errrrr...trust me on this: The ocean doesn't care!
 
>>That's true - I think we've all seen on documentaries before where they launch the submersibles in relatively calm water, and then by the time they re-surface, it's very rough indeed.<<
I must confess to being a landlubber, but I think there is a small window in the summer of something like, 30 days? that they even make the attempt.
I have a friend that was on the Enterprise (CVN -65) that was in a typhoon in the Pacific. He told me of huge waves crashing over the flight deck and scaring the bejezzus out of even the old timers. A 30 foot lifeboat full of half-frozen people would not have fared too well.
 
>>I must confess to being a landlubber, but I think there is a small window in the summer of something like, 30 days? that they even make the attempt.<<

If I recall correctly, that window in the summer is a bit wider then a single month. The catch is that this window of opportunity happens to coincide with the time when the hurricane season is at it's hight.
 

Adam Went

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Well regardless of any of that, the people in the lifeboats could hardly predict or control what mother nature had in store for them.

We're drifting off into "what if" territory again, when the FACTS are that the oceans stayed fairly calm, and calm enough for the rescue to be effected without any major dilemmas.
 
>>We're drifting off into "what if" territory again<<

Which, as I'm sure you noticed, is what this particular folder and the discussions therein are all about.
 

Adam Went

Member
Yes, but the question was "What if all of the lifeboats went back after the ship foundered?".....not "What if the North Atlantic had whipped up a hurricane before help could arrive to the lifeboats?"

Anyway, it's important to maintain some factual basis, even in what if scenarios.
 
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