With modern concepts of safety in place.......


Arun Vajpey

Member
Apr 21, 2009
1,761
520
248
64
OK. Let is suppose that the construction, fitting out, passengers, crew and the initial voyage right up to 11:40 pm on Sunday 14th April 1912 of the Titanic remained exactly the same as it actually happened except for the following differences.
  • There were 48 lifeboats on board, thus more than enough for a full capacity ship.
  • The crew were very thoroughly trained and briefed about rapid and safe launching of the lifeboats.
  • There were very specifically designated tasks for individual crew members in case of a collision. This included manning specific life boat stations, quick mustering and management of passengers in various classes and directing them to their lifeboat stations without delay.
  • All passengers were issued safety leaflets in their own languages at the time of booking that explained about safety procedures and that in case of an accident the crew's instructions were to be obeyed without question or delay.
  • Allowing for the inevitable odd straggler, all passengers and crew understood the need for such precautions and were ready to carry them out in the mindset of a 21st century setup.
  • One of the accepted policies was NOT "women and children first" but keeping families together as far as possible during an evacuation to avoid "parting delays". Families with small children, the elderly and disables were given priority by simple social custom that almost everyone followed (as we now do)
  • By 12:05 am, 25 minutes after the collision, Captain Smith fully understood that the Titanic could not be saved and gave the order to start evacuating passengers and crew, which all concerned started to carry out immediately as per standing instructions.
  • Again, apart from the odd straggler or panicker, all passengers co-operated and followed instructions without delays.
  • All lifeboats were launched at least 80% full till there were not enough people left on board to do so any longer.
  • The mechanical events during the sinking ie flooding pattern, breached bulkheads etc followed exactly the same sequence as actually happened.
My question is, if things had been as above, would there have been time to save everyone on board by the time the ship sank?

PS: One exception that I have made in this "safety first" conjecture is to assume that the Titanic still only had the double bottom and not the double hull extension later used on the Olympic. This is obviously to allow for the flooding pattern to remain the same.
 

Harland Duzen

Member
Jan 14, 2017
1,582
688
188
In terms of the ''more lifeboats means more saved lives'' it's definetly at least another 3 or 4 lifeboats could have been launched if they were uncovered earlier.

However, as mentioned in the inquiries (by Lowe I think but I not sure) most of the crew were not sailors in the sense they could manage a yacht or boat and the amount of sailors available would drop fast after just 7 boats, let alone 48 boats.

Also a good modern safety concept would be to have alarms that would go off from command from the bridge, thereby alerting passengers all at once (like fire alarms).
 

Arun Vajpey

Member
Apr 21, 2009
1,761
520
248
64
However, as mentioned in the inquiries (by Lowe I think but I not sure) most of the crew were not sailors in the sense they could manage a yacht or boat and the amount of sailors available would drop fast after just 7 boats, let alone 48 boats.
Clearly, you did not read the post in full.
I was asking the question from a hypothetical scenario as mentioned above, NOT by the mindset or experience that actually existed at the time. I did say we assume that the crew were very well trained and fully conditioned to react to the situation and orders, go to their stations and either muster passengers or get lifeboats ready for launch depending on their designated roles.
 

Jim Currie

Member
Apr 16, 2008
5,788
971
323
NewtonMearns, Glasgow, Scotland.
Hello Arun,

A short answer to your question would be NO. Simply because the technology for the lowering of so many boats within 2 hours did not exist.
It took 20 minutes to prepare and lower a boat. Consider one side only.
12 boats would need to be lowered full of people to the sea, released then rowed clear before the next 12 boats could be filled and lowered using the same set of davits. There were no hand-held vhf for communications. All had to be done by shouting. Not an easy task. Then there would be another problem...the attitude of the ship as it went down. Lists and dips by the head wreak havoc on lifeboat launching procedures.
 
  • Like
Reactions: 1 user

Doug Criner

Member
Dec 2, 2009
445
64
133
USA
Clearly, you did not read the post in full.
I was asking the question from a hypothetical scenario as mentioned above, NOT by the mindset or experience that actually existed at the time. I did say we assume that the crew were very well trained and fully conditioned to react to the situation and orders, go to their stations and either muster passengers or get lifeboats ready for launch depending on their designated roles.
OK, what if under "hypothetical scenarios," all the passengers and crew could have been saved. What is the conclusion?
 

Arun Vajpey

Member
Apr 21, 2009
1,761
520
248
64
Hello Arun,

A short answer to your question would be NO. Simply because the technology for the lowering of so many boats within 2 hours did not exist.
It took 20 minutes to prepare and lower a boat. Consider one side only.
12 boats would need to be lowered full of people to the sea, released then rowed clear before the next 12 boats could be filled and lowered using the same set of davits. There were no hand-held vhf for communications. All had to be done by shouting. Not an easy task. Then there would be another problem...the attitude of the ship as it went down. Lists and dips by the head wreak havoc on lifeboat launching procedures.

Thank you Jim. That was the kind of answer that I was looking for.
 

dazjstuart

Member
Apr 16, 2015
11
2
13
I'm not sure if everyone would have been saved but I think at least the majority could be saved.

With good crew training and passenger cooperation and knowledge of where they need to go the lifeboats would have been filled more quickly and to capacity so even with the same 20 lifeboats, if they were filled then that's half of those onboard saved. I think the biggest killer was the apparent dithering about during the early stages of the evacuation, people unwilling to enter the boats be it due to fear of the small boats, being unaware of the state of Titanic, officers being unsure of the policy and capabilities of the lifeboats etc. Later on the boats were loaded properly as people realised the situation they were in.

Even if boats are not launched there would be a lot more bobbing about for people to swim to, as happened with collapsibles a and b so more people would have been saved there.
 

Jim Currie

Member
Apr 16, 2008
5,788
971
323
NewtonMearns, Glasgow, Scotland.
I'm not sure if everyone would have been saved but I think at least the majority could be saved.

With good crew training and passenger cooperation and knowledge of where they need to go the lifeboats would have been filled more quickly and to capacity so even with the same 20 lifeboats, if they were filled then that's half of those onboard saved. I think the biggest killer was the apparent dithering about during the early stages of the evacuation, people unwilling to enter the boats be it due to fear of the small boats, being unaware of the state of Titanic, officers being unsure of the policy and capabilities of the lifeboats etc. Later on the boats were loaded properly as people realised the situation they were in.

Even if boats are not launched there would be a lot more bobbing about for people to swim to, as happened with collapsibles a and b so more people would have been saved there.

The deck crew of Titanic were, in fact, very well trained. Most ,if not all, held AB Certificates and, as with the officers, were ex RN or Naval Reserve. All would have had formal training in the deployment and handling of a ship's lifeboat.
The passengers all knew very well that the lifeboats were on the boat deck. They were much better behaved then than their modern counterparts who tend to be more self-aware, to put it kindly.
The filling of the lifeboats was initially on the basis of women and children first. This was not by accident. In fact it was a Code of Honour which began with the sinking of the HMS Birkenhead way back in 1852 and followed by every British passengers ship. You can look it up.

Not sure what you mean by dithering. The seamen were mustered on the boat deck in less than 5 minutes and had all the boats ready for filling in less that 20 minutes after they had been called to do so. According to eye witnesess, the discipline was 100%.
One thing for absolute sure was that the safety of those in a fully loaded boat lowered from the boat deck 70 feet above the sea could not be guaranteed. In fact, to do so would have been viewed as bad seamanship. This was due to the manner of lowering, i.e. the individual slakening-off of the lifeboat-lowering ropes (falls) at each end. Thereby lay disaster. A sudden jambing at one end would break the rope and everyone on board would be tipped into the sea. It nearly happend in one particular boat. The increase in loading numbers toward the end was motivated by 2 factors...fear and distance of the boat above the sea.
People in the water are a danger to an already loaded boat. There is only one way in a conventional lifeboat to rescue people from the sea.. one at a time over the bow and or stern. Any other way would result in capsizing the boat.
 

Arun Vajpey

Member
Apr 21, 2009
1,761
520
248
64
It took 20 minutes to prepare and lower a boat.
.
Jim, I'd like to take you up a bit more on that statement and fit it into my hypothetical scenario where everyone - passengers and crew alike - took the safety precautions seriously, co-operated and acted very promptly. As my proviso said, there were 48 lifeboats in all, all passengers irrespective of their nationality had been thoroughly briefed what to do and where to go in case of an evacuation order and the crew were very well trained about their individual tasks and stations.

That would mean that there would be 16 launching davits for 16 lifeboats at a time and in the boat there were 16 sets of crew each of whom knew his boat station and associated task. Likewise, every passenger would know which lifeboat station they were allocated and where it was in relation to their cabins. Let us assume that throughout the ship there were "You are here" type markers - after all, there is nothing technical about those - and mustering crew were further tasked to assist passengers and avoid confusion. Also, other crew are trained in getting the next boat ready for davit fitting as soon as one starts to load.

OK. Here it goes. For the sake of ease, let us forget about disagreements about timeframes.
  • The Titanic collides with the iceberg at 11:40 hours
  • After damage assessment, Captain Smith gives the evacuation order at 00:15 hours, thus starting the evacuation process.
  • By 00:30 all crew are in their designated places and passengers being herded to their lifeboat stations and loaded into boats. Families kept together as per arrangement.
  • The first of the first set of 16 boats are launched starting at 00:40 hours; allowing for slight local differences and extending your 20 minutes to 30, by 01:10 hours all 16 boats in the first set are launched and the second set is ready for loading.
  • Repeating the same process, 16 further boats are launched and away by 01:40 hours.
  • Even with an average of 50 people in each boat, that would be over 1500 people safe in lifeboats by 01:40 hours. Since everything was done by protocol, most of them are passengers.
  • Thus, majority of the people now left on boat are crew and so work proceeds faster and by 02:05 hours 16 more boats are launched.
  • The remaining handful of crew now quickly go to Emergency Boats #1 and #2 as arranged and both are successfully launched by 02:15 hours.
So, is that a plausible scenario?
 

Jim Currie

Member
Apr 16, 2008
5,788
971
323
NewtonMearns, Glasgow, Scotland.
Jim, I'd like to take you up a bit more on that statement and fit it into my hypothetical scenario where everyone - passengers and crew alike - took the safety precautions seriously, co-operated and acted very promptly. As my proviso said, there were 48 lifeboats in all, all passengers irrespective of their nationality had been thoroughly briefed what to do and where to go in case of an evacuation order and the crew were very well trained about their individual tasks and stations.
That would mean that there would be 16 launching davits for 16 lifeboats at a time and in the boat there were 16 sets of crew each of whom knew his boat station and associated task. Likewise, every passenger would know which lifeboat station they were allocated and where it was in relation to their cabins. Let us assume that throughout the ship there were "You are here" type markers - after all, there is nothing technical about those - and mustering crew were further tasked to assist passengers and avoid confusion. Also, other crew are trained in getting the next boat ready for davit fitting as soon as one starts to load.

OK. Here it goes. For the sake of ease, let us forget about disagreements about timeframes.
  • The Titanic collides with the iceberg at 11:40 hours
  • After damage assessment, Captain Smith gives the evacuation order at 00:15 hours, thus starting the evacuation process.
  • By 00:30 all crew are in their designated places and passengers being herded to their lifeboat stations and loaded into boats. Families kept together as per arrangement.
  • The first of the first set of 16 boats are launched starting at 00:40 hours; allowing for slight local differences and extending your 20 minutes to 30, by 01:10 hours all 16 boats in the first set are launched and the second set is ready for loading.
  • Repeating the same process, 16 further boats are launched and away by 01:40 hours.
  • Even with an average of 50 people in each boat, that would be over 1500 people safe in lifeboats by 01:40 hours. Since everything was done by protocol, most of them are passengers.
  • Thus, majority of the people now left on boat are crew and so work proceeds faster and by 02:05 hours 16 more boats are launched.
  • The remaining handful of crew now quickly go to Emergency Boats #1 and #2 as arranged and both are successfully launched by 02:15 hours.
So, is that a plausible scenario?
Hello Arun. Here's how I see it.

48 boats = 16 pers side. Each boat was 30 feet long so Titanic's boat deck being the length it was; the boats would have to be double stowed and each set of 2 use the same set of davits. This means that the area for use of passengers waiting to embark would be greatly reduced. To get effect, smooth embarkation, you would need to have enough space adjacent to each boat to allow lowering crews and 520 passengers each side. 520 passengers to assemble at boat stations each side. These must be kept clear of and inboard of the inboard boats on each side. These inboard boats would require to have a means of skidding them out and under the davits.
Boats cleared. Covers off, gripes released, falls removed and coiled ready for use. Boats wound out over the ship's side. Men at each end lower to embarkation deck using individual falls surged round crusafix bollard. Total time each boat = 20 minutes.
However, even the best crews meet problems so we cannot say that 8 boats would be ready for loading at the same time... allow a total time of 30 minutes.
Now load each boat with 65 men women and children...15 minutes a boat. Again , people are not robots so allow 30 mintes to have all boats loaded and ready to go. Lower away together!
Being loaded to full capacity from a height of say 70 feet would take at least 5 minutes per boat. Allow 10 for safety.
When the boats are a float, the patent rrales levers disconnect the falls at each end...allow 5 minutes for problems. Now the boats have to be rowed away clear of the ship's side. Not an easy task with the equiment of 1912 an in a crowded boat. Allow 10 minutes. During that time, the falls would need to be recovered. These were 4 part sheaves, meaning something like 9 x 70 = 630 feet of 4 inch rope released from each end of each boat needed to be overhaulled back to the boat deck. Give an extra 5 minute sover and above boats rowing clear. Once more the winding out, lowering and loading of the second bank of boats would take place. So far we have a total of 30 + 30 + 10 + 5 + 10 +5 = 90 minutes.
The second bank of boats could have been made ready while the first bank were lowering therefore we can deduct 30 minutes form the previous total. We now arrive at a total of 90 +60 = 150 minutes or 2 hours 30 minutes in which we might embark a total of 2080 people in full sized lifeboats. While these were being used, the remainder of the passengers could have been embarked in the rescue boats 1 and 2 and the four collapsible boats might have saved an additional 268 souls making a total saved of 2348 people. Since there were 2, 229 people on board, theoretically, all could have been saved if the foregoing were practical. However ther is a but... a big BUT. The foregoing is based on there being enough room for 520 people each side of the boatdeck as well as everyone cooperating like zombies. The ship would need to have remained upright and on an even keel for at least 3 hours from the moment of impact and all items of equipment performing as planned. I cannot see any of that taking place. Not only that, but history, right up until the Costa Concordia event tells us that such a thing just never happens
 
  • Like
Reactions: 1 user
May 3, 2005
2,599
278
278
Just a comment from the notorious landlubber who is usually lurking in the shadows.
Arun, IMHO, it does seem a plausible scenario .....IF......and BUT..... Only.Under ideal conditions and IF every thing went exactly according to plans.

Jim , you have pretty well covered the big IF's and BUT's.
 
Last edited:

Jim Currie

Member
Apr 16, 2008
5,788
971
323
NewtonMearns, Glasgow, Scotland.
Thanks, Robert.

Arun was doing the right thing...playing the "What Ifs" game. It's amazing how being forced to think through such scenarios helps with a better understanding of what went on that night. I found myself re-visiting evidence and comparing what was with what might have been. In doing so, my thoughts ion the subject were refreshed.
 
  • Like
Reactions: 1 user
May 3, 2005
2,599
278
278
And IF you did get all that accomplished, there would still be the problem of keeping the lifeboats together safely until help arrives and having enough ships available to get them safely transferred to the "rescue ships" with enough supplies and resources to get them transported safely to New York. There would be about three times the number that were actually saved to contend with. I think if Carpathia was the only ship it would have been very crowded. And Californian would have been of little help.
 
Dec 4, 2000
3,242
529
278
Thoughts...

"ifs" and "buts" have standing only in court. They have no standing on the deck of a sinking ship.

Titanic's deck crew was probably better equipped to handle the launching, manning, and operation of small boats than today's sailors. The use of boats was everyday activity in the years leading up to Titanic, but not so much today.

Modern ships are equipped with all sorts of ingenious boat launching systems which work perfectly when tested at the dock. What will happen when that same system is on a sinking ship listing 20 degrees in a seaway? Nobody knows -- yet. But, the equipment sure gives passengers the feeling of security and that helps the most important stream to a shipping company -- the incoming stream of money.

Carpathia couldn't have handled Titanic's full load of passengers and crew without some short rations and lmitations on drinking water. So what? The human body clings to life. A few days without food or water is not generally life-threatening and conditions aboard the rescue ship would never have reached starvation.

The problem here is not one of equipment or trained seamen. It's of the illogical belief that people should never be injured or killed by their actions. Taking a ship to sea may be pretty damned safe today...as it was in Titanic's day (based on the actual safety record)...but people aren't perfect and neither are the products of thier hands. Ships sink. And when that happens people die. Titanic proved that as did the Costa Concordia.

There is nothing wrong when people die. Nobody gets out of this life alive. The only tragedy in deaths at sea comes afterward if lessons aren't learned and applied in an attempt to minimize future deaths. As many of us should die of old age as possible. It's just not possible for all of us to die of old age.

The safest ship is the one that was never built. The next safest is the one that never sails. The most dangerous is the one that ventures forth carrying people to their dream in the New World or newlyweds on a Caribbean honeymoon.

-- David G. Brown
 

Arun Vajpey

Member
Apr 21, 2009
1,761
520
248
64
And IF you did get all that accomplished, there would still be the problem of keeping the lifeboats together safely until help arrives and having enough ships available to get them safely transferred to the "rescue ships" with enough supplies and resources to get them transported safely to New York. There would be about three times the number that were actually saved to contend with. I think if Carpathia was the only ship it would have been very crowded. And Californian would have been of little help.

I agree to that Robert. But extending this "overall efficiency" a bit further - if the Titanic's crew and passengers had a modern outlook (but not the technology, of course) of safety, it would be reasonable to assume that a similar mindset applied to the people on board the Carpathia, the Californian and all other ships within reasonable distance. So, even if it was not able to arrive on time before the Titanic sank beneath the waves, the Californian would have arrived soon after and started to pick-up the survivors, to be joined a few hours later by the Carpathia. Both ships had wireless and they could and would have sent out signals to others to offer further assistance as possible. Therefore, IF everyone on board the Titanic had been able to get onto lifeboats, I feel that they would have been rescued and taken to New York. Sure, they would have to put up with a lot of discomfort, hardship and hunger but as David Brown says, they would have managed for a few days.
 

Jim Currie

Member
Apr 16, 2008
5,788
971
323
NewtonMearns, Glasgow, Scotland.
I agree to that Robert. But extending this "overall efficiency" a bit further - if the Titanic's crew and passengers had a modern outlook (but not the technology, of course) of safety, it would be reasonable to assume that a similar mindset applied to the people on board the Carpathia, the Californian and all other ships within reasonable distance. So, even if it was not able to arrive on time before the Titanic sank beneath the waves, the Californian would have arrived soon after and started to pick-up the survivors, to be joined a few hours later by the Carpathia. Both ships had wireless and they could and would have sent out signals to others to offer further assistance as possible. Therefore, IF everyone on board the Titanic had been able to get onto lifeboats, I feel that they would have been rescued and taken to New York. Sure, they would have to put up with a lot of discomfort, hardship and hunger but as David Brown says, they would have managed for a few days.

A wee problem here Arun.

Californian was surrounded by light ice with a hard edged ice field to the south. I am sure that Captain Lord could not have safely made much more than 4 knots toward the location in such conditions and in darkness toward the source of the pyrotechnics and would have still had over 12 miles to go when the last one went out.
In 1912, it would have been impossible for the men on Californian to find people in the water until well after 4 am, when day light started. They would have been able to see Boxhall's green flares from Boat 2 after the last white signal had been fired and Titanic had finally sunk. But Boxhall was almost a mile to the north east of the sinking site and the others were scattered in a 4 miles radius to the west of him. I do not think Californian could have made much more of a difference except by sharing with Carpathia, the numbers saved
 

Arun Vajpey

Member
Apr 21, 2009
1,761
520
248
64
I do not think Californian could have made much more of a difference except by sharing with Carpathia, the numbers saved
That's what I meant in effect. I am not sure if the Carpathia was capable of holding 2200+ people on its decks for a few hours, by which time it would be daylight. If that was possible the Californian and perhaps one or two others could share the load, as it were.
 

Similar threads

Similar threads