What if it happened during the day?


Meikel

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May 29, 2011
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I have been wondering: What if the collision had happened during the day and not at nighttime, in the dark?
Let's assume for the sake of a discussion that the circumstances of the collision were exactly the same (as in: same iceberg, same position of other ships, same ammount of damage at the same locations and so on). What could happen differently?

Personally I think the biggest advantage would have been the fact that passengers would not have been asleep, so it would have been easier to warn them of the danger (more people would probably have seen the collision with their own eyes as they would have been on the promenade and the upper decks) - therefore perhaps the passengers would have realised the danger faster and the first boats would not have been as empty as they were in real life?

What is your opinion? What would have been different?
 

Adam Went

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Apr 28, 2003
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If, hypothetically, the ship had still hit the iceberg during the day then i'm not sure there would be a great deal of difference, other than the already mentioned fact that the majority of the passengers would be up and about and everything would be able to be seen more clearly. I'm not sure whether this is a good thing or a bad thing, as more passengers may have panicked/entered lifeboats, or it might have had the reverse effect. Also passengers in the water might have stood a slightly better chance of survival than they did when they entered the water in the early hours of the morning, but overall I think the differences would actually be quite minimal.

Cheers,
Adam.
 
Dec 2, 2000
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>>Of course, that's what I thought too, but this is a "what if"<<

That was my take on the what if. Daylight = you can see it = you can avoid it = you DO avoid it = history could care less about Titanic because nothing would have happened.

With that out of the way, if the accident had happened as it did in the same fashion it did in the real waking world, I doubt the outcome would have been signifigently different for some of the reasons which Adam mentioned, but also because with the damage being the same, the results are that the ship still sinks.

I think it might...notice that I say MIGHT...have made a difference in how the boats were loaded as people could see what would have been going on and would have been a bit less reluctant to enter the boats when offered a seat.
 
Jan 6, 2005
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Anyone who thinks the accident could not have happened in the daytime has never been in really heavy fog. You can be right on top of something and you don't see it until it's too late, even in daytime.

The outcome might actually have been somewhat worse, too. Radio doesn't transmit as far during daylight hours, which might have prevented some ships from receiving distress calls, given the limitations of 1912 Marconi equipment, though I'll leave that question to those with more actual knowledge of the topic. But if you think the disaster was bad the way it happened, imagine it with no Carpathia arriving.
 
Mar 22, 2003
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It happened at night. History does not reveal its alternatives.

-- David G. Brown

Very true. But one's imagination can. For example, suppose a helm order was given to avoid a danger, and for some unknown reason the helm jams at a critical moment, and there is no way to avoid a collision. This actually happened to HMS Hawke when she struck Olympic in Sep 1911.
 

Adam Went

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If it had happened during the day, Captain Smith probably would have been on the bridge, and would he have taken a different course of action to Murdoch?? ;-)
 

Tommy

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They obviously would have seen it in the distance and would have plenty of time to avoid hitting it. The dark night and lack of moon prevented them from spotting it until it was too late.
 

Meikel

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Not necessarily. However unlikely, there could have been conditions such as dense fog.
Alternately, they could have avoided one iceberg only to crash into another - remember, it was an ice field, not just one iceberg.
 

Arun Vajpey

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Apr 21, 2009
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Actually, it is an interesting question. Of course, the fact remains that if it was daytime, the lookouts and probably several others would have seen the iceberg well on time and a collision would have been avoided. But for purposes of imaginative speculation. let us suppose that the exact collision did take place at 11:40am instead of pm at the same spot on the ocean. Also assume that the Californian was also stopped in its own same position. (For the purpose of this thread, let us forget about any 'unidentified third ship' and such)

- Most passengers would have been up and about on the decks rather than in bed.
- Would the likely positions of belowdecks crew-members resulted in an earlier realisation that the ship was doomed? (I do not know the answer myself and so open it to the experts)
- Would the gradual flooding, list and settling of the bow be more obvious to passengers and crew? (Once again, open to speculation)
- Once Captain Smith instructed Phillips & Bride to send out distress calls on the radio, how many ships would have heard it, with all equipped ships with operators awake and on duty? Would the range during daytime be shorter?
- The Californian crew would have seen the manoevres of the Titanic differently during the day with no light markers (but I am not sure how differently). But their radio operator would have been the first to receive the distress call and alert Captain Lord.
- When the lifeboats order was given, IMO passengers might be less scared to get into them than they were during the night. Conversely, more others might have felt that the Titanic was a safer option if it was daylight. Hard to tell which side would predominate.
- The passengers, including steerage ones, on decks when the collision occured would have been communicating with those below right since the collision and most of the latter would have come above to see, even if for only curiosity. So, far less would have been "trapped" below till too late.
- The Californian would probably have arrived alongside the (by then) obviously sinking Titanic sometine around 13:30 hours. But what could be done afterwards is open to question.

IMO, around 1200 would have survived one way or another but close to a thousand either way would still have died.
 

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