Who do you think was to blame

Mar 18, 2008
Against popular believe Ismay is a none factor. The decision about how fast to go was upon Smith and Bell. Titanic was making good speed and would have arrived earlier in New York. (Smith was known for going full speed.)

BOT may be also responsible because of the lack of lifeboats. On the other side Titanic had 20 and there was only time enough to load and lower 18 of them. More boats would have not helped.

Binoculars would have not help. They were only used to identify something. Lookouts search the horizon with their eyes and report to the bridge and after it would have used the binoculars to identify what they spotted. With binoculars they most likely would have not discover the iceberg.

Murdoch did no mistake. Her did his best to avoid a collision.
Regarding the ice warnings, most of the surviving Officers lie about it. They knew the warnings. Like in the inquiry they suddenly remember some of the warning when they were pointed out to them that they were acknowledge by Captain Smith.


Apr 23, 2012
liverpool uk
so Captain Smith had recieved all the ice warnings ?? I dont myself think binoculars were a major factor I have an issue more so with the speed of the ship ... from what people have said on here they wouldnt of seen the iceberg anyhow until they got to where they were when spotted but i feel if they were going slower they MAY of been able to turn in time ?? xx
Mar 18, 2008
Captain Smith reply to 4 ice warnings. The one from America was only to be send to Cape Race. Quite possible he knew about it and maybe Californian. Even if he did not knew them or the famous Messaba message he and his officers knew that they were steaming into ice. During his watch at about 9.30 p.m. (if my memory is right) Lightoller himself was looking out for ice beside that the lookouts were warned to have a look for ice which was given to them during Lightollers watch and again to the lookouts who like Murdoch took over the watch at 10 p.m.

Martin Cooper

Dec 13, 2007
Hi Sally.

You may well be right about that. There was a programme shown on TV a couple of years back which looked into this, and it was shown that if Titanic had been slowed down, then she would have turned in time and avoided the iceberg.

Captain Smith was well used to conditions in the north Atlantic, but Captain Lord wasn't, yet it was Captain Lord who used caution and got it right. He also had the sense to put an extra lookout on the prow of his ship, and when they came to the ice he ordered his ship to stop. On the other hand, Captain Smith appears to have ignored the ice warnings, did not use extra lookouts, and kept his ship going at speed, and when the berg was spotted the ship was going just that bit too fast to enable her to avoid the berg. The programme said that if Smith had ordered Titanic to slow down, it would have given the lookouts that little bit extra time to see the berg and also given Titanic that little bit extra time to avoid it. I can't remember what the programme was called or what channel it was shown on, however, I remember posting it on the forum at the time and discussing it with Jim Currie, so a search may find it, but it might be a long shot.


Mar 22, 2003
Chicago, IL, USA
Smith knew he was headed into a region where ice was reported, even if he didn't know the full extent of the ice field itself. He took the risk that any ice encountered along the way could be seen in enough time to avoid. After all, the night was perfectly clear, and there no specific reason to post additional lookouts or slow down based on past practice. He could have opted to do what Mount Temple did and take his ship further south before turning for NY. He didn't, and it cost him his life, his ship, and the lives of all those that didn't survive. It's really that simple.


Apr 7, 2021
Hello All,

New here but wanted to chime in on this topic. Feel free to fact check me.

If I had to put order of blame here's my rankings:

1. Bruce Ismay - cut the number of lifeboats in half twice against Thomas Andrews' recommendations and pressured Smith to go near top speed by several witness accounts even though he knew of icebergs (along with Smith). While it's debatable if Stanley Lord deserves full "villain" status I think it is clear that Ismay deserves his.

2. Captain Smith - for caving to Ismay and recklessly going too fast into an ice field where several warnings had been received.

3. Board of Trade - for outdated and dangerous lifeboat rules

4. Stanley Lord - Californian captain - for not responding to rockets.

5. The Samson or whoever the mystery ship was if it existed for not responding.

6. 1st officer Murdoch - for reversing engines which cut the Titanic's steering capability considerably. There is some debate as to whether he actually reversed the engines.

7. Wireless operator Phillips for ignoring later ice warnings and telling Californian to shut up.

8. The passengers for clogging the wireless room with stupid "text messages".

9. The passengers for not taking the lifeboat orders seriously at first.

10. 2nd officer Lightholler for not filling life boats to at least near capacity.

11. Some of the lifeboat captains and passengers for not even attempting to pull more people out of the water. Yes they were worried about getting swarmed but they could have at least moved closer to the outskirts so that a handful of strong swimmers could make it to them without swamping the boat.

12. Whoever's fault it was that there was no binoculars in the crow's nest.

People commonly blame the Californian wireless operator but I don't see how you can blame him. He was the only operator on the ship and dude needs to sleep at some point. Titanic's Phillips told him to shut up and go away anyway. It was Stanley Lord who should have woken Evans up (wireless operator) to see what the rockets were about.

I also do not fault Thomas Andrews. At least not in any significant way.

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