What lessons can we learn from the Titanic Tragedy...did anything good come of it?The luxury liner was a 46,000 gross ton floating city, deemed "unsinkable" by its architect and the White Star Line. The Titanic was complete with Ritz-worthy dining rooms, 3 elevators, a grand staircase, and Turkish Baths. Ironically, what it lacked was more important: enough lifeboats for all aboard.
Was it the absence of a disaster drill, the inattention to iceberg warnings, or tempting the Almighty with the boast that "not even God Himself could sink this ship" that caused the Titanic's demise?
One thing was for certain: the vessel's fate had already been decided. Events worked against them from the start:
|Photo: Underwood & Underwood/CORBIS|
-they had heeded any of the six iceberg warnings...
-Ice conditions had been normal...
-they had seen the iceberg 15 sec sooner or later (the ship swerved so hard it cut a long gash across its side)...
-the Bulkhead airtight decks were built one level higher...
-the Californian, only 10 miles away, had come to their rescue, and not ignored the SOS call and flares...
-the Titanic provided enough life boats (there were 1178 with 2207 passengers on board)...
-a drill had been performed for all the passengers and crew before beginning their overseas journey...
Then...the majority of passengers could have saved!
|Photo: Ralph White/CORBIS|
Even after the Titanic hit the massive iceberg that cold April evening, men in first class continued to smoke, drink and play cards.. believing the vessel was "unsinkable". Even staff and those in charge made light of it for a while, and moved slowly towards preparation.
-Many passengers still expected to reach NY, even after lifeboats were being lowered.
-The ladies in partially filled life boats, #2 and #5, listen to the cries of those in the icy sea as they rowed away...determined to save themselves!
-One boat, #6, in which the ladies (including the "unsinkable" Molly Brown) had requested to return to aid those in the water, were refused by the quartermaster manning their boat.
-Of 1600 people that went down, only 13 were picked up by the 18 lifeboats nearby.
-The cry was "Women and Children First," but some cowardly men took their seats in the lifeboats. Gone is the era of chivalry, when men would protect and give their lives for those under their care.
-In the end, most of the first class women and children were saved, but fewer of the second class, and even less from steerage.
One iceberg after another was dodged as they headed for the survivors.
Chief Steward Hughes made a speech: "Every man to his post and let him do his full duty like a true Englishman. If the situation calls for it, let us add another glorious page to British history." (With an attitude like that, no wonder their Empire spread across the entire world!)
What good came of this tragedy? From this time forth:
-It was the end of class distinction in filling the lifeboats
-24 hour radio watch was instituted
-SOS messages were taken seriously
-Lifeboats were required for everyone on board
-Drills instituted before departure
-Start of the International Ice Patrol...watching for icebergs that threatened the ships.
The past 100 years were those of industrial and financial progress...men were too sure of themselves. Titanic 'lowered the curtain' for opulent living...taxes, depression and then the war brought it to a halt.
RESOURCES ON THE TITANIC:
"A Night to Remember" by Walter Lord book and movie...much more accurate than "Titanic 3-D; sorry folks!
"The Sinking of the Titanic and Great Sea Disasters" edited by Logan Marshall
"Last Dinner on the Titanic" by Archbold and McCauley
Links to Websites/Blogs about the Titanic:
100th Anniversary Celebration of the Titanic: Women and Children First
Titanic Artifacts, Exhibits and Memorials across the USA
Video of the Titanic 100th Anniversary Ladies Tea in Branson, Mo.
Photos of the sunken ship from BBC
Forbes warning to "Fast Moving Firms" as it relates to the Titanic
Greg Ward's Website: "The Rough Guide to the Titanic"
Just For Fun....
Titanic Interactive "Game"
Titanic in Texas