Erik Wood

I think that outside bridge has it's ups. You can smell and hear things that you can't while inside. Take that how you want but I am old fashioned I guess.

Can't say that I would argue with you about being able to use your ears and nose as well as your eyes to identify danger. Somewhere I have in my collection a story of an old Maine schooner captain who, when returning home in a fog, would use his sounding lead to taste *(yes, in his mouth) the bottom. When it tasted to his satisfaction, he would make his turn into the harbor in perfect safety. You can't do that from an enclosed bridge.

My comment about the comfort was not a total endorsement of an enclosed bridge. It has many benefits, but the big drawback is alienation from the sea. However, the Great Lakes wheelhouse of 1912 was a much more comfortable environment on a cold night than Titanic's open bridge. In this case, the discomfort does not seem to have had much impact on the outcome of events.

-- David G. Brown

Erik Wood

I have sort of a echo to Mr. Browns second paragraph but then a epiphany of my own that I had whilst I was shaving last night. It occured to me that in the time of Titanic we thought that ships were invinceable. For Titanic it was because of her watertight compartments as well as her massive size for the time.

Today we are faced with the same demon. To use this enclosed bridge thread to accent my point I bring to the table some thoughts on why this enclosed bridge thing is both good and bad as well as my endorsment of the outside bridge or open air bridge wings.

Some of todays newer ships lack the open air bridge wings and the bridge it self is just deck to overhead glass. Now obviously this aids somewhat but to me is more of a hazard and it makes me feel a tad uncomfortable to sail with those who prefer it. Open air bridge wings or a partaily open air bridge offers many things. For instance:

1. The ability to hear fog horns of other ships.
2. The ability to hear buoys and lighthouses.
3. The ability to smell the salt. Or a fire if unreported.
4. The ability to remove in coming water if sometihng should happen to the glass on the bridge.
5. A much easier docking station. I have found that being able to hear the ship and tugs at work makes the docking of the ship easier.

These are just a few. To me the ideal bridge is that of the Queen Mary or something of that era where I have the convience of both indoor and outdoor facilities. Nowdays to many shipping companies are going with that aero dynamic look which in my mind takes a way the romance that so many enjoy. In a more broder sense we have lost or sense of humbleness when it comes to the way we treat our fair lady the sea and it has also occured to me that we just keep getting bigger but like Titanic we just don't have the brains to think of what happens in the case of a emergency.

Mr. Standart and I have been discussing my standing orders which include evacuation. In this day an age a orderly evacuation like Titanic would not and could not occur properly with the way that most companies have there ships set up and run. That is why Captains are forced to make rules that sometimes bend those of the company they work for. It is feasiable that a Captain in todays fleet would have to make the same decision that Smith had to make in regards to not sounding a general alarm and keeping some passengers confined. Nowdays ships hold over 2000 passengers and there boat decks could probably handle a 15th of that. That's right I said 15th.

It just appeared to me that we are becoming more complacent. Well I am sure that I will add more to this later.

I would hope that routine boat drills would solve the problem of getting everybody safely evacuated from a ship in danger of sinking, but the reality can be something else again. Keeping order when nothing is going wrong is one thing. Doing it when the ship is burning, flooding, or both, and the passangers know it is another matter entirely.

What I find striking about the arrangement of lifeboats is that it hasn't really changed in any useful sense in several centuries. They're still hung from davits along the side and if the ship is listing badly enough, it becomes impossible to launch at least half of them. Has it occurred to anybody to mount these things on ramps so they can be slid off into the water, say bow first? Arrangements like that exist for oil platforms. It's a rough ride, but it beats ending up as shark bait.

Michael H. Standart

Erik Wood

The general thought on that is this. If there is some kind of catastrophic disaster you will be able to get all of the passengers off in the tenders usually two or three. The rest in boats and the crew in rafts and whatever boats are left. On certian ships it depends upon where you are. On others it depends on if you are lucky enough to be first in line.

The boats that oil platforms have are to small to accomage ships and costs for launching them in exerices as well as injury to passengers and crew is to great. Although lifeboat davits have changed some ships have a ramping system but the lifeboat is still beam to, and the boat has to be lowered by winch.

Hi everyone,
I have being doing little research about the interior of the wheelhouse. The two questions I can not find out and hopefully a answer will be floating around here somewhere. Was the wheelhouse floor material decking,or tile? On the Britannic wreck it was tiled, and I don't see any tiles on the remains of the wheelhouse base.
My second question is in some of Ken Marshall's paintings of the wheelhouse(note Ken Marshall's Art of Titanic) there shows a door opposite to the steering wheel. In Cameron's movie, this is Captain Smiths' cabin. But it is strange because right behind this door would be the first stokehold vent shaft. I know Cameron has made some tiny little errors in the set,but this doorway is also shown in Ken Marshall's paintings.But this doorway does not show up on the plans.
Does anyone know any answers to these two questions?

Regards Nigel Bryant
Hello all. I am looking for the layout of the Titanic's wheelhouse,that's the wheelhouse, not the navigating bridge. I understand that may be hard to come by. If anyone has any information I would appreciate it. Thanks again, Norm

Philippe Delaunoy

Can someone explain me the purpose of having 2 wheels on board the Titanic ?

Why was the bridge divided in 2 ?

Warm regards.


Ben Holme

I recall that one scene in the '97 film dealt with this very issue. In the scene, the De Witt Bukators are being given a tour of the ship. Ruth (mother) asked Andrews; "Why do you have two steering wheels?" to which the designer replied "We really only use this (the one outside the wheelhouse) near shore.

For some reason that piece of dialogue stuck in my mind....which tells me it's time to watch another film


Arun Vajpey

Sorry for resurrecting an old thread but can someone give me an idea how enclosed the Titanic's wheelhouse was at night? Putting the question another way, what, if anything, things outside the wheelhouse was Robert Hitchens able to see during the collision with the iceberg?


Quartermaster Hichens was asked at the British Inquiry what he could see.

"I could not see anything but my compass."

Q - Were there blinds in the wheelhouse?
A - Yes.
Q - They were all closed?
A - Always closed just after sunset.
Q - And no lights were in the wheelhouse at all except the compass light?
A - And the small light.
Q - And the small light on the course board?
A - Yes.

Q - Could you see ahead at all through the wheelhouse?
A - I could not see anything.
Q - You would not be able to see the iceberg even if it had been quite clear. Is that what you mean?
A - No, I could not see it, on no account whatever could I see it.

Q - Had the speed been altered before?
A - No, I could not say, my Lord, because I could not see the officer on the bridge. I am in the wheelhouse. I cannot see anything only my compass.
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Arun Vajpey

Thanks. I take that to mean that after sunset the blinds in the wheelhouse were closed, thus isolating it from the bridge. I guess that this was done so that the light within the wheelhouse would not affect the darkness of the bridge and hence the duty officers' night vision?

So, Hichens would only able to see his wheel and the compass in front of him other than the 4 'walls' around the wheelhouse?