Question Home

Position:Home>History> Did the TITANIC sink because it was going too fast when it hit the iceberg, were

Question: Did the TITANIC sink because it was going too fast when it hit the iceberg, were the lookouts asleep!?
Best Answer - Chosen by Asker:
Yes, they were going too fast, but you've got to remember the times!. It was common practice for ships to travel that route full speed at that time of year!. Icebergs had never been known to drift that far south; it had been an unusually mild winter, more icebergs had broken free in the arctic, and an abnormal amount of ice was drift down on the Labrador Current!. Captain Smith was aware that there was ice, and he did "turn the corner" early in order to avoid the reported ice, but what niether he nor any of his officers thought to do was to piece together the various ice reports and realize how vast an ice field they were sailing into!.

As for the lookouts, two lookouts were on duty and told specifically to watch for ice!. Unfortunately -- as another captain pointed out later -- they were posted in the wrong place!. It was a clear night with no moon and the sea was utterly calm!. Since there was no moonlight to spot the icebergs, and no chop to create a line of foam at the base of the bergs, that made an iceberg virtually impossible to see, unless the lookouts had been posted down at the gangways, where they would have been able to make out the berg's silhoutette against the stars!. But Smith didn't think of that!. I don't think he can be considered negligent because of that; it's easy to judge after the fact, but he was doing everything he was supposed to do, based on the regulations of his time and his 32 years of experience!.

Someone else mentioned the "idiot" at the helm; again it's easy to judge Mr!. Murdoch after the fact, and it's true that if he had simply rammed the berg head-on, only one compartment would have been flooded and the ship wouldn't have sunk!. Or if he had simply ordered hard a-starboard, but NOT reversed the engines, the ship would have missed the berg entirely!. But he had 37 seconds to make a decision, and he acted quickly!. Yes, he made the wrong decision, but I can't fault him!.

As for the nearby Californian, someone mentioned that they received the Titanic's SOS -- actually they did not!. Wireless Operator Cyril Evans had gone to bed!. He had not even wound up the magnetic detector, so the Californian was not capable at that time of receiving wireless!. But tthe officers on duty on the bridge, as well as one of the engineers, did spot the Titanic's rockets!. Second Officer Stone notified Captain Lord, but for whatever reason -- to this day know one knows why -- Lord took no action!. That's a very complicated argument, and probably the most debated topic in the entire Titanic event!.Www@QuestionHome@Com

They shouldn't really have been moving at all at night with icebergs about, they should have stayed put until daylight!. Because it was dark they didn't see the iceberg until it was too late!.

However, according to my husband, they might have prevented the ship from sinking if they had rammed into it head on!. As it was, they tried to avoid it by turning the ship sideways, therefor scraping the ship's side along the iceberg and ripping the plates, thus letting water in!. That's what he says anyway, and he knows about stuff like that!.Www@QuestionHome@Com

The captain took a short cut because he wished to get their sooner and prove the 'capabilities' of the maiden ship!. Considering the ice bergs yes, it was going too fast!. It was night so there was limited warning!. Yes, the watchmen did have a sleep!. Finally, only the tip of the iceberg was showing!. They believed that they had missed the ice but they didn't consider the ice under the water!. All of these things were detrimental!. To top it all off the SOS was actually picked up by a neighbouring ship that had the capacity to pick up all of the lives, however they did not believe the Titanic's distress call, so they ignored it!.Www@QuestionHome@Com

edit i was harsh with my judgement of the bridge officer I was not there and i was wrong to judge

in fact the Titanic was going slow as some of the Boilers were not being use

and they were trying to avoid the icebergs

and no the lookouts gave plenty of warning and the wrong decision was made in manoeuvring the ship where a full frontal impact would have been better

and the designers had not built an unsinkable ship

it sank fast because of the failure of the rivets in the narrowest part of the ship where they were riveted by hand because the steam riveter could not fit

the Rivets were made softer for hand working and sheared off along 1!. 2!. 3!. 4!. 5 and 6 bulkheads below the waterline

the search team that found her inspected the engines and found no ash or clinkers in the boilers indicating she was not doing a speed run

and the US navy did some testing on the manufacture of the Rivets used

and found the shear strength of the rivets on part of the ship failed at only a third of the others

Edit according to the BBC documentary if the ship was Racing she would have missed the Iceberg by miles the ship would have stayed afloat longer if the Aft had been flooded to counter balance the ship may have stayed afloat for maybe 3 more HrsWww@QuestionHome@Com

Yes Titanic was sailing at a pretty fast speed and No there is always someone on the lookout but with a lot fog and not highly advanced technology compared to today, made it much more difficult to see until the last minute which by then was much too late to make a full turn because it was such a large ship!. Titanic had a false promise, if only they weren't So confident!.!.!.Www@QuestionHome@Com

Observe the movie!. The crew, including the captain, focus much their attention to people's/passengers' activity; their manner of dealings with one another because on board are wealthy stuff and their are eye catching!. love tryst is no exception!. so when the iceberg is at a distance, crew had no time to divert ship direction!.
same with people's attitude today!. focusing on the butterflies, we miss batting the softball!.


It was going too fast for the conditions at that time!. The conditions being there were icebergs in the area!. The lookouts were doing their jobs!. But remember, this accident took place at night!. And a ship that large needs up to a mile to stop, and nearly that distance to steer 20 degrees one way or the other!.Www@QuestionHome@Com

due to the fact that they didn't see most of the iceberg because it was under water and it was dark out and they didn't have the navigational equipment we do now, they saw it much to late for the speed they were "racing" towards it with!. There was zero turning time to change course!.Www@QuestionHome@Com

I think it was because the Captain wanted to get to New York early, so they were kind of going too fast, and I don't think the lookouts were asleep!.Www@QuestionHome@Com