Why no collision mats

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John William Mahaney

Member
I read somewhere something about ships having what's called collision mats. Anybody here an expert on them and why didn't Titanic use them? Also, it's surprising she didn't have searchlights as I believe some other ships of the time did!

Thanks,

Michael.

I have wondered that question myself for some time. I read one place that collision mats were standard on White Star Line vessels. A different white star vessel had used them and remained afloat after a collision for 12 hours allowing rescue of all people on board. I don't know if the Titanic actually carried them but if so why they were not used I do not know. this is one of many signs of poor training and/or out and out
gross incompetence and part of the crew
 
Jim Currie

Jim Currie

Senior Member
Hello John.

Collision mats were not part of the normal equipment on board a British Merchant ship. Titanic did not have them. In fact 99% of all vessels carrying them were warships of the Royal Navy.
However if Titanic had had them, they would have been almost useless. Because such mats took time to deploy. They needed specially trained seamen and the exact dimension and position of a sub surface hole on the hull would need to have been known. Besides which, mat deployment involved a great deal of trial and error.
Mats were manufactured in different sizes. To chose the right mat meant accurate knowledge of the damage. That was not known during the sinking. However, from the evidence of witnesses in the boiler rooms, we know for certain that Titanic suffered multiple rents for a distance of at least 200 feet along her starboard side at a depth of about 24 feet below the surface. Even a mat equipped warship would have had difficulty stemming the flooding from such a large are of damage.
Additionally, only the deck crew would have had members trained in the use of such mats. These were also ex RN or RN Reservists. There were such men in the crew of Titanic but these were also the men who were charged with making ready the life saving equipment. To even deploy mats as well as get all the boats ready would have taken a crew twice the size of the one on Titanic

I'm curious as to the source of your evidence for suggesting "this is one of many signs of poor training and/or out and out gross incompetence and part of the crew"
Perhaps you might like to elaborate on that?

Jim C.
 
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Ioannis Georgiou

Member
I read one place that collision mats were standard on White Star Line vessels.

It was not standard on White Star Line. Maybe you can share the source?

A different white star vessel had used them and remained afloat after a collision for 12 hours allowing rescue of all people on board.

If you are referring to the Republic, she did not had any. A canvas sail was used to "close" the hole on her side.

this is one of many signs of poor training and/or out and out gross incompetence and part of the crew

The crew was actually well trained as on every other liner.
 
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PhillipJ

Member
Since the 53,310 ton mass of the Titanic was moving at full speed when she struck the 70,000 to 250,000 ton mass of the iceberg, I can't think of anything that could have been deployed which would have made a difference, particularly to the side below the water line and the bottom.

Collision mats in the sense that I'm familier with are for patching small holes after the fact...and all above the waterline. Anything below the waterline, and what you have to do is isolate the compartment, shore up as nesseccary from the adjacent compartments, and HOPE it holds up.

Mike, the mats you may be thinking of in the case of the New York are more properly called fenders these days. They're used to keep ships moored side by side from slamming into each other while tied to the pier by things such as wave and tidal action.

Cordially,
Michael H. Standart

Collision matts are for below the waterline - the idea is that the water pressure on the matt will close the hole.
 
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Michael H. Standart

Michael H. Standart

Member
>>Collision matts are for below the waterline - the idea is that the water pressure on the matt will close the hole.<<

Yes they are, BUT you still have the question of how you would get them into place and secure them properly so that they would stay. That's a lot of men working along or even over the side to do this. Water pressure alone by and of itself would not be sufficient to hold any such in place.

It's also moot since the Titanic had no collision mats aboard.

You would do very well to read what Captain Currie said above in his Feb 8th 2016 post.
 
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PhillipJ

Member
I didn't say it would be feasible in the case of the Titanic, but they do work. Captain Cook used one on when he collided with the Great Barrier Reef.
 
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PhillipJ

Member
>>Collision matts are for below the waterline - the idea is that the water pressure on the matt will close the hole.<<

Yes they are, BUT you still have the question of how you would get them into place and secure them properly so that they would stay. That's a lot of men working along or even over the side to do this. Water pressure alone by and of itself would not be sufficient to hold any such in place.

It's also moot since the Titanic had no collision mats aboard.

You would do very well to read what Captain Currie said above in his Feb 8th 2016 post.
Well they are attached with ropes - when the matt is over the hole you simply tie the ropes off and this along with the water pressure holds them in place.
 
Seumas

Seumas

Member
I didn't say it would be feasible in the case of the Titanic, but they do work. Captain Cook used one on when he collided with the Great Barrier Reef.
Em, have you ever compared the size of Captain Cook's ships with monsters like the Olympic class ? It's night and day.
 
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PhillipJ

Member
Em, have you ever compared the size of Captain Cook's ships with monsters like the Olympic class ? It's night and day.
Hence the first part of my sentence: "I didn't say it would be feasible in the case of the Titanic,". Though they didn't have to seal all the breeches to slow the leaking or even stop it.
 
Seumas

Seumas

Member
Hence the first part of my sentence: "I didn't say it would be feasible in the case of the Titanic,". Though they didn't have to seal all the breeches to slow the leaking or even stop it.
Read the thread from the beginning. It's explained why even if they had them, it would still have been a no go.

They would have been too difficult to secure in the dark from such a height. And with a ship to evacuate too time consuming and required too many crewmen's attention to have been a worthwhile exercise.
 
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PhillipJ

Member
Read the thread from the beginning. It's explained why even if they had them, it would still have been a no go.

They would have been too difficult to secure in the dark from such a height. And with a ship to evacuate too time consuming and required too many crewmen's attention to have been a worthwhile exercise.
Perhaps read my posts from the beginning - I already suggested it probably wasn't feasible. I was just addressing some erroneous objections such as 'they are not for outside of the hull', there is no way of fixing them over the hole'.
 
Michael H. Standart

Michael H. Standart

Member
>>Well they are attached with ropes - when the matt is over the hole you simply tie the ropes off and this along with the water pressure holds them in place.<<

Not quite. Did you even bother reading this whole thread....from the start? Captain Brown did a wonderful job of explaining in detail why this wouldn't work out.

And it's still academic because none of the liners of the day even had collisions mats aboard.

If you don't have it in the first place, and they didn't, then it's completely irrelevant.
 
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PhillipJ

Member
This is almost identical to Seumas's post which I just answered - did you miss it somehow?
 
Michael H. Standart

Michael H. Standart

Member
>>This is almost identical to Seumas's post which I just answered - did you miss it somehow?<<

No, I was addressing something very specific that you said.
 
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