Sinking of Titanic

The tragedy of Titanic. Quite possibly the most famous maritime disaster of all time. At 11:40 pm, April 14, 1912, Titanic hit a fairly large iceberg. The iceberg Titanic hit had floated down from northern, icier oceans. It had floated unusually south. After the ship hit the iceberg, the hull immediately started to fill with water. The bulkheads designed to keep the water contained were not tall enough. Six compartments flooded. The ship was designed to float with upwards of four to five compartments flooded. As the water rushed into the hull the passengers were woken up. The lifeboats were readied. It wasn’t enough. Roughly two hours and forty minutes later at 2:20 am, April 15, on a brisk night, about 400 miles off of the Great Banks of Newfoundland, Titanic sank.


At the time of Titanic’s sinking, the water temperature was 28 degrees Fahrenheit. That is more than cold enough to cause hypothermia. The air temperature was approximately 40 degrees Fahrenheit. The only source of light was the moon and the lights on the ship itself. These brisk temperatures and night time light made surviving in the water near impossible.


Out of the 2,224 people on board, over 1,500 died. Those who weren't lucky enough to make it into a lifeboat froze to death in the frigid waters. Time was critical here. The ship only sank in two hours and forty minutes. That’s not much time to get people off of the ship. Many people blame Titanic’s lack of lifeboats for the great loss of life. Titanic only had twenty lifeboats. Twenty lifeboats would only hold 1,178 people. Although all twenty lifeboats were launched, only about 705 people survived. This means the lifeboats were under loaded. The crew also wouldn’t have had much time to load more than 20 lifeboats due to the rate at which the ship was sinking.

The captain of the ship, Edward Smith, was well known and respected. His nickname was the “Millionaire's Captain” due to his reputation among the rich. Captain Smith had gone to a dinner party before going to bed the night Titanic sank. He didn’t spend much time at the helm and left control of the ship with the officers. This wasn’t out of norm at all. Captains frequently left control of the ship to their officers. Captain Smith did not want to be rescued and went down with his ship.