titanic at sea

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sinking ship

It was a clear, moonless night in the North Atlantic Ocean. The “unsinkable” ship, RMS Titanic, was headed towards New York City at around 26 miles per hour. The lookouts were on the deck freezing in the 28° weather and they didn't see the massive iceberg until it was only 2,000 feet away. With little to no time to react, the first officer attempted to steer away from the iceberg but ended up hitting it and tearing a hole in the right side of the ship. It took the crew more than an hour to begin helping the women and children into lifeboats, but they were only able to launch 16 of the 20 lifeboats in the 2 hours and 40 minutes it took the ship to sink into the 32° water. The lifeboats were only able to accommodate around half of the 2,435 passengers and crew on the ship resulting in 1,517 deaths.

The Titanic was famous before it sank because it was the biggest ship in the world. It took the title from its sister ship, RMS Olympic, which held onto the record for almost a year. It was also known for its luxury. There were several unique rooms for the passengers to enjoy including cafes, smoking rooms, and more. When construction on the Titanic was complete, the builders considered it “unsinkable” which made it even more famous when it hit the iceberg and fell to the bottom of the ocean.

Captain Edward Smith was a prestigious captain that sailed for the White Star Line and took the Titanic on both its maiden and final voyage. He was so well known that wealthy passengers would often go out of their way to book trips with him. This was meant to be his last trip, as he was to retire once he arrived in New York, but he never arrived. He had previously sailed Titanic’s sister ship, RMS Olympic, and was captaining it when it collided with the HMS Hawke in 1911.

sunken ship

Since the Titanic sank, many theories about whether the iceberg was avoidable have emerged. Some people believe that if the crew had access to binoculars then they would have been able to see the iceberg sooner. Another theory is that the fire in the boiler room, which started 10 days before she sailed, weakened the steel plates she was made of, causing her to be more susceptible to damage from the iceberg.

Several theories about how more lives could have been saved have been presented as well. One of these theories is having more lifeboats could have saved more people. Also, people wonder if having higher bulkheads would have caused the ship to sink slower, giving everyone more time to maximize the number of people that would survive. During the construction of the ship, the height of the bulkheads was reduced in order to fit a grand staircase. People are still unsure if this decision was responsible for the high number of lives lost.