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September 2, 2008

Why RMS Titanic Didn’t Have Enough Lifeboats
Posted by Jim Macdonald at 09:11 PM * 59 comments

Quite simple, really. A failure of imagination.

The bit of tech that changed everything was the radio.

Up until the invention of maritime radio, if your ship went down no one would know until you were late arriving at your next port, weeks or months later. Get into a lifeboat, don’t get into a lifeboat, and the only difference is a fast death by drowning or a slow one by dehydration. [Raft of the Medusa]

So when would lifeboats be useful? First, if you were within sight of another ship, when their lifeboats, plus yours, equaled enough for everyone, or when you were within sight of shore, and you could ferry folks over then come back for the rest.

Otherwise the ocean is big, you are small, and you could see a sail go by on the horizon and never see it stop because they wouldn’t know you were there.

Radio, though, meant you could send a signal that could get help on the way, and if it arrived in a day or so, you could be rescued. Provided you had a way to stay out of the water (where big hungries and hypothermia could get you before dehydration would), you had a good chance of living.

The standards for lifeboats, however, didn’t take radio and the chance of rescue into account.

Sixteen hundred people died in the Titanic disaster because no one had worked out the implications of tuned circuits.

Comments on Why RMS Titanic Didn't Have Enough Lifeboats:
#1 ::: --E ::: (view all by) ::: September 02, 2008, 09:40 PM:

That's why writers are supposed to think of these things, particularly SF writers.

Not that anyone ever listens to us. Buncha Cassandras, we are.

#2 ::: KB ::: (view all by) ::: September 02, 2008, 09:52 PM:

That, and of course, hubris. The ship was believed to be unsinkable, but the Fates have a morbid sense of humor about such things.

#3 ::: Andrew ::: (view all by) ::: September 02, 2008, 09:54 PM:

I have to ask: Captain Bligh seemed to do ok in an open boat hundreds of miles away from where he wanted to be. There are many other tales of ships crews navigating substantial distances in similar circumstances. Were these all just discounted?

#4 ::: Xopher ::: (view all by) ::: September 02, 2008, 10:11 PM:

I thought they just planned to have enough lifeboats for the upper classes. After all, when the boat began to sink they DID lock the doors to steerage, with the apparent intention of drowning the passengers there like rats.

#5 ::: Daniel Klein ::: (view all by) ::: September 02, 2008, 10:12 PM:

Wouldn't they've had a tiny reflector and a whistle to notify that distant sail passing by on the horizon? But less sarcastically, I guess they did have flare guns back then (quick check on WP places the invention of the flare gun somewhere in the 19th century) and I guess they couldn't have been expensive enough to keep them from outfitting each life boat with one? But yeah, of course that still doesn't solve the question of whether or not there will be a ship on the horizon within 48h at all. (And so very, very OT: Chrome lets you resize ANY textbox. I want this browser's children)

#6 ::: Tom Brandt ::: (view all by) ::: September 02, 2008, 10:15 PM:

Bligh, for all his faults, was an exceptional seaman, which is hardly the case for most people on most lifeboats. I think (but am not certain) that he and his crew were given some provisions by the mutineers.

#7 ::: Nicholas Tam ::: (view all by) ::: September 02, 2008, 10:16 PM:

"The standards for lifeboats, however, didn't take radio and the chance of rescue into account."

Sorry, could you explain this? As I recall it, the Titanic managed to follow exactly the procedure it should (and could) have to call for the attention of what was ultimately the Carpathia.

Quick check with Google -> more here:
http://www.avsia.com/djohnson/titanic.html

Are you just trying to to say that the Titanic didn't have enough lifeboats because nobody accounted for the fact that radios made people rescuable? Or am I missing something here?

Also:

"The Titanic’s lifeboat capacity was governed by the British Board of Trade’s rules, which were drafted in 1894. By 1912, these lifeboat regulations were badly out of date. The Titanic was four times larger than the largest legal classification considered under the eighteen year old rules and so by law was not required to carry more than sixteen lifeboats, regardless of the actual number of people onboard. When she left Southampton, the Titanic actually carried more than the law required: the sixteen rigid lifeboats were supplemented by four additional collapsible boats. The shipping industry was aware that the lifeboat regulations were going to be changed soon and Titanic’s deck space and davits were designed for the anticipated "boats for all" policy, but until the law actually changed, White Star was not going to install them. The decision seems difficult to understand today, but in 1912, the attitude towards accident prevention was much different. At the turn of the century, ship owners were reluctant to exceed the legal minimum because lifeboats took up most of the space on first- and second-class decks. Boats were expensive to purchase, maintain, and affected a ship’s stability. Finally, in the years before the Titanic Disaster, it was felt that the very presence of large numbers of lifeboats suggested that somehow the vessel was unsafe. Oddly, the same reluctance showed up as late as the 1950s for automobile seatbelts. Car makers at that time were also reluctant to install seatbelts because the belts seemed to imply there was something unsafe about the car."

(Source: http://www.rmstitanic.net/index.php4?page=faq )

#8 ::: geek anachronism ::: (view all by) ::: September 02, 2008, 10:18 PM:

I think those stories of survival on the sea were discounted because the survivors were generally your hardcore naval men and sailors AND they were so bloody rare.

Hell, even now, a boat goes down and finding a survivor without someone being on the spot immediately (or close to immediately) is a rarity. Lots of survival is sheer luck and bloody minded stubborn sailors.

disclaimer - survival at sea is a bit of a bugbear for me. I lost two familiy members in twelve months to their boats going down. Two miles from each other and 11 months apart. There was one survivor from each boat - one swam to shore, one floated for a while and was found by accident. My uncle and cousin died going for the radio...

#9 ::: James D. Macdonald ::: (view all by) ::: September 02, 2008, 10:39 PM:

Captain Bligh was an exceptional man. I'm also convinced that had he, instead of Captain Smith, been in command of RMS Titanic, no lives would have been lost, however half of the first-class passengers would have divorced shortly after arriving in New York, and he would have spent the rest of his life writing increasingly strongly-worded letters to the White Star Line requesting his pension.

Other things were going on -- the sheer size and speed created conditions that the officers weren't well equipped to deal with. For example, there was bank effect. A sufficiently large vessel moving at a sufficient speed tends to be sucked toward the shore in a narrow passage (or to suck smaller vessels into it in the channel) due to Venturi Effect. This wasn't well-understood at the time (even though Olympic had sucked HMS Hawke into her side while with Captain Smith on the bridge, and while departing Southampton, Titanic had caused SS City of New York to break free of its moorings and pulled it toward Titanic, again with Smith on the bridge). That effect would have tended to turn a near miss with the iceberg into a glancing collision.

Titanic also shipped a rudder that was proportioned for a sailing vessel, as we now know that's too small for a triple-screw steamship.

You can stop an Iowa-class battleship going ahead full inside her own length if you know how. The trick is to turn the starboard rudder hard left and the port rudder hard right. Titanic, having only a single rudder, didn't have that trick available.

I can, with the benefit of perfect knowledge of the situation and a lot of training based on another sixty years' knowledge of steamship handling, figure out ways that the crew of Titanic could have avoided the collision, or mitigated its effects. Captain Smith didn't have that knowledge or experience or training.

#10 ::: James D. Macdonald ::: (view all by) ::: September 02, 2008, 10:44 PM:

Are you just trying to to say that the Titanic didn't have enough lifeboats because nobody accounted for the fact that radios made people rescuable?

Yeah, that's all I'm trying to say. The old codes were written before radio was invented.

#11 ::: C. Wingate ::: (view all by) ::: September 02, 2008, 11:28 PM:

Olympic had a bad history with collisions: it also ran over the Nantucket lightship in 1934. OTOH it sank a U boat in WW I by ramming it.

#12 ::: Lee ::: (view all by) ::: September 02, 2008, 11:54 PM:

I was under the impression that the main reason so few survived was that the radio SOS wasn't received -- the single radio operator on the only ship near enough to pick it up having been off-duty and asleep at the time -- and that this was the direct cause of the requirement that shipboard radios be manned 24/7. Is this a misconception, or just another factor?

#13 ::: John ::: (view all by) ::: September 02, 2008, 11:55 PM:

#11 I've always thought it was a brave decision to ram a U Boat, knowing you're in the sister ship of the Titanic. Would you be really sure who was going to sink?

#14 ::: James D. Macdonald ::: (view all by) ::: September 03, 2008, 12:56 AM:

the single radio operator on the only ship near enough to pick it up having been off-duty and asleep at the time

That would have been the Californian, and she was close enough to see the distress rockets. Bad luck and bad judgment all around.

Carpathia did pick up a radio distress call, and responded, 17 knots on a black night through a known ice field that had already sunk one ship, with the captain standing on the starboard bridge wing, his eyes shut, praying.

#15 ::: legionseagle ::: (view all by) ::: September 03, 2008, 04:49 AM:

My understanding is that Thomas Andrews' original design incorporated 68 triple stacked lifeboats, but that these were removed as a deliberate marketing choice by Bruce Ismay, against considerable protest from Andrews, on the basis that the sight of so many lifeboats would make the passengers feel unsafe. The original design would also have featured full height bulk-heads rather than the three-quarter height ones which allowed water to pass from stem to stern once a minimum of four watertight compartments had been breached, therefore making it mathematically certain that the boat would sink. Ismay's justification for the second design change was to "improve the passenger experience" by incorporating a ball room.

All of which leads me to feel that the moral of the whole experience is that every naval architect should have a hand-gun by his or her slope, and if a marketing executive ventures too close to the blueprints they should shoot them on sight.

Incidentally, Herbert Lightoller was the bridge officer who had gone off duty about 50 minutes before the collision. In his youth he'd survived a collision on a remote island when the captain ordered the boat to hit head on, on the grounds that this was likely to put the point of collision at the boat's point of maximum strength. Had the Titanic hit the iceberg head-on it almost certainly would not have sunk (because the watertight compartments would have concertinaed rather than the sides being breached, and it is unlikely that as many as four would have been breached) and some of the speculation about "what ifs" surrounds what would Lightoller have ordered had he had the bridge at the relevant time.

#16 ::: chris y ::: (view all by) ::: September 03, 2008, 04:53 AM:

Olympic had a bad history with collisions: it also ran over the Nantucket lightship in 1934. OTOH it sank a U boat in WW I by ramming it.

All three of those ships seem to have been jinxed. Britannic, the third of the class commissioned with Titanic and Olympic, was sunk by a mine in 1916 while serving as a hospital ship.

This was simultaneously the luckiest and unluckiest woman in history

#17 ::: Lynn ::: (view all by) ::: September 03, 2008, 06:55 AM:

I was under the impression that the Californian's radio operator wasn't so much sleeping on the job as had given up trying to get the jerks on the Titanic to listen.

They'd just told him to shut up to allow them to send personal messages without interference...as he was trying to warn them where they were headed.

Not that shutting off the radio was a particularly good idea. He probably felt absolutely terrible when he found out what had happened.

#18 ::: James D. Macdonald ::: (view all by) ::: September 03, 2008, 09:56 AM:

Ismay's justification for the second design change was to "improve the passenger experience" by incorporating a ball room.

On modern US Naval ships the lowest complete deck is the "DC Deck" (DC = Damage Control.) That deck is only pierced by watertight hatches. Compartments below the DC deck are isolated -- to go fore-and-aft you have to go up and over. So why not have E Deck on Titanic be a straight run, but to go lower you'd have to pass through a solid armored deck with QAWTH (Quick-Acting Water Tight Hatches) in it?

We've learned a lot since 1912 on how to keep iron ships afloat. WWI and Jutland hadn't yet happened, with lessons learned from that.

#19 ::: Michael Roberts ::: (view all by) ::: September 03, 2008, 10:23 AM:

I have also read that the vast majority of accidents had always happened in port (where there are lots of ships moving around) and -- given the sheer traffic density of the North Atlantic shipping lanes of the day -- it was considered unlikely that you'd ever be far from help in the first place.

I never put two and two together about the radio thing, though. You're probably right.

The Californian's captain allegedly instructed his radio operator to turn the radio off due to Titanic's behavior earlier in the evening. His family sued anybody who said so, though.

#20 ::: albatross ::: (view all by) ::: September 03, 2008, 10:26 AM:

The natural next question to ask is what similar obvious-in-retrospect lessons are we waiting for a horrible disaster to learn. The first example of this kind that comes to mind is the effect of cellphones on the progress of the 9/11 attack, with the resulting fight on one of the planes that apparently lead to the hijackers crashing it. I don't know whether anyone had really worked out the implications of most passengers having cellphones--neither hijackers nor government seem to have had any clear ideas about how to use them.

#21 ::: Lori Coulson ::: (view all by) ::: September 03, 2008, 10:37 AM:

Legionseagle @15:

Lightoller, the rest of the story:

When the British had to evacuate their soldiers from the beach at Dunkerque, they did not have enough ships. So they called for volunteers with small boats to assist (May 1940). Lightoller and his sons took their boat and sailed to the rescue.


#22 ::: ajay ::: (view all by) ::: September 03, 2008, 10:56 AM:

21: good for him. I hope he didn't mention his employment history to any of the Tommies he picked up, though.

SQUADDIE: Thanks for pulling us out, mate. You seem to know what you're doing.
LIGHTOLLER: Yes, well, I was a merchant seaman before I retired. Funny story about that, actually...

#23 ::: Sarah S ::: (view all by) ::: September 03, 2008, 11:07 AM:

(A propos of the Gericault painting "The Raft of the Medusa" used to illustrate Jim's post, Julian Barnes has an absolutely beautiful essay about it in his book A History of the World in 10 1/2 Chapters. I love the book so much I'll recommend it whenever the opportunity presents itself. Like now.)

On Topic?

Oh, they built the ship Titanic
To sail the ocean blue.
And they thought it was a ship
That the water could ne'er get through.
But the good lord raised his hand
And said that ship would never land.
It was sad when the great ship went down.
Oh it was sad, sad, sad.
Oh it was sad, sad, sad.
It was sad when the great ship went down
To the bottom of the sea
(husbands and wives little children lost their lives)
It was sad when the great ship went down.
Kerplunk.

#24 ::: Graydon ::: (view all by) ::: September 03, 2008, 11:11 AM:

Didn't the wreck examination of the Titanic indicate that the major cause of sinking was many, may sheared rivets, so that it didn't really matter how watertight the design was, she'd blown most of her seams due to the impact?

There's a lot about metallurgy, especially the side effects of cold salt water, that wasn't known at the time either.

#25 ::: Naomi Kritzer ::: (view all by) ::: September 03, 2008, 11:11 AM:

James @9, is there a particular plan you think Bligh would've followed that would have resulted in all those divorced, irate first class passengers?

#26 ::: legionseagle ::: (view all by) ::: September 03, 2008, 11:12 AM:

Ajay@22

Actually, precisely that did happen: one of the soldiers expressed dismay in learning Lightoller had been on the Titanic, until his sergeant said, "Shut up, son: if he came through that then he should do right for you."

#27 ::: James D. Macdonald ::: (view all by) ::: September 03, 2008, 11:18 AM:

Naomi #25: is there a particular plan you think Bligh would've followed that would have resulted in all those divorced, irate first class passengers?

It would have been his personality during first-class dinners, 10-14 April, that would have created the effect.

#28 ::: legionseagle ::: (view all by) ::: September 03, 2008, 11:22 AM:

Graydon @24

There's been a recent theory that sub-standard rivets were a contributory factor to the speed of the sinking, but even if the holes resulted from popped rivets, the inability to contain the water ingress once it started would have been contributed to by the fact that the "watertight" compartments weren't.

#29 ::: Chris Gerrib ::: (view all by) ::: September 03, 2008, 11:42 AM:

The other factor in lifeboats was (is) "cause of sinking." If you're in a storm, launching a lifeboat is very difficult.

One of the many unusual factors in Titanic's sinking was the very calm seas that night.

#30 ::: legionseagle ::: (view all by) ::: September 03, 2008, 11:56 AM:

James MacDonald @27

It would have been his personality during first-class dinners, 10-14 April, that would have created the effect.

AU version:

Socialite, at dinner, New York City 20 April 1912:
"Oh, darlings, you can't imagine how ghastly it was during the first half of the voyage - we were on the Captain's table, and the extraordinary man literally didn't have anything to talk about except bread-fruit. Bread-fruit with breakfast, bread-fruit with luncheon, bread-fruit at dinner - darling, I nearly took my chances on leaping into Davy Jones's locker. But then, thank God, Jimmy came up with this scheme that was absolutely IT - two nights out from Queenstown he managed to bribe the radio officer to forge a whole heap of ice warnings, and then, of course, the Captain vanished off to the bridge for the rest of the voyage. Of course, the directors of the Line were furious because he insisted on us doing the last bit dead slow, while he peered gloomily into the murk with his binoculars - that's why we arrived so late, darlings - but at least we didn't actually have to eat with him."

#31 ::: C. Wingate ::: (view all by) ::: September 03, 2008, 01:17 PM:

re 20: Actually, the 9/11 plan itself depended on the passengers and crew sticking to the by that time well-rehearsed script for hijackings. It hadn't occurred to the P-t-B that the rising popularity of suicide bombings could prompt someone to rewrite the script. The delay of Flight 93 gave those on the ground time to learn that script had changed, and the phones gave the means to act upon that knowledge. I've gathered from reports that there wasn't a lot of contingency planning on the part of the hijackers, so it's not surprising that it didn't occur to them try to cut off such communications.

#32 ::: Lori Coulson ::: (view all by) ::: September 03, 2008, 01:50 PM:

C. Wingate at #31: Actually, Tom Clancy gave them the blueprint for 9/11 in 1994 with the release of "Debt of Honor."

The only thing he got wrong was that he had a professional pilot at the controls -- who knew that the powers that be would ignore people taking flight training who didn't want to learn how to land?

#33 ::: Emma ::: (view all by) ::: September 03, 2008, 03:06 PM:

Lori @32: I'm so glad someone thinks so too! I was having an argument with a relative who is a rather conservative republican and when he asked me "who would have thought they would use planes?" I just reached to the bookshelves and gave him a copy of Debt of Honor. He freaked out a bit, because Tom Clancy seems to be a darling of the conservative set.

(And it was a gift. Jack Ryan is the MarySue to beat all MarySues, ot whatever the male version is called).

#34 ::: Lori Coulson ::: (view all by) ::: September 03, 2008, 04:14 PM:

Emma @33: I about had heart failure when I reached that part of the book. Ok, so in the book there was only one target -- sauce for the goose, and all that.

On 9/11 when I first heard "a plane hit the World Trade Center" -- my first thought was "oh, no, some fool in a Cessna tried to fly between them and misjudged the winds." When I finally found out it had been a 757, Clancy was the first thing that came to mind.

And yes, I'm fond of the books, for the detail Clancy manages to pack in to them. Unfortunately, the wingnuts have a distressing tendency to take fiction as fact.


#35 ::: ajay ::: (view all by) ::: September 03, 2008, 05:37 PM:

Actually, wingnut though he may be, Clancy has written some good stuff: "Clear and Present Danger" pulls off the trick of being a military technothriller and a deeply liberal political thriller at the same time. (Yes, there are lots of helicopters, firefights etc; but, in reality, the president who says tough-guy things like "You have your hunting licence, General" ends up not achieving anything and embarrassing his country, as well as gettting lots of troops killed; the real successes against the bad guy drug barons are scored through legal police work. There's even a scene with a mock execution - conducted by sympathetic characters - followed by another sympathetic character pointing out that it was a bloody stupid and immoral thing to do, and why.)

#36 ::: ajay ::: (view all by) ::: September 03, 2008, 05:40 PM:

Actually, precisely that did happen: one of the soldiers expressed dismay in learning Lightoller had been on the Titanic, until his sergeant said, "Shut up, son: if he came through that then he should do right for you."

"Sarn't, I don't care if he came through it. What happened to his passengers?"

#37 ::: Lori Coulson ::: (view all by) ::: September 03, 2008, 06:22 PM:

ajay @35: In every book Clancy writes, he shows solid police work (good intel) putting a stop to the villains every time. Pity the Republicans adore the battles, and ignore the strategy.

I'd love to know his reaction to the public destruction of Valerie Plame's cover and the CIA company she 'worked' for...

#38 ::: Mycroft W ::: (view all by) ::: September 03, 2008, 07:35 PM:

#37: I'm guessing it would be something along the lines of "And you're surprised by that why?"

#39 ::: B. Durbin ::: (view all by) ::: September 03, 2008, 09:49 PM:

Sarah #23: We dang that song at summer camp, and our camp had extra verses... for the boats we'd managed to wreck.

None permanently, but that does mean I got to write a verse for the song...

#40 ::: Steve Taylor ::: (view all by) ::: September 03, 2008, 10:50 PM:

Lori Coulson at #34 writes:

> On 9/11 [...] When I finally found out it had been a 757, Clancy was the first thing that came to mind.

In one of those too-stupid-for-fiction coincidences I was actually reading the Clancy book on my way to work that day. I got off the tram and noticed the newspaper headlines said "AMERICA AT WAR" and wondered what that was all about as I went up to my office...

#41 ::: Rob Rusick ::: (view all by) ::: September 03, 2008, 11:12 PM:

32, 34: I don't think The Running Man (starring the governor of California, based on a book by Stephen King writing as Richard Bachman) has been shown on TV since 9/11.

IIRC, that ended with the hero flying an airliner into the skyscraper headquarters of the evil corporation.

#42 ::: JanetM ::: (view all by) ::: September 03, 2008, 11:13 PM:

Emma at #33: I believe Mary Sue's male counterpart is generally called Gary Stu. I've also seen "Marty Stu," but I think that's less common.

#43 ::: Rob Rusick ::: (view all by) ::: September 03, 2008, 11:22 PM:

That should have been 32 (Lori Coulson), and 33 (Emma)...

#44 ::: David Phillips ::: (view all by) ::: September 04, 2008, 10:35 AM:

Concerning the statement that an Iowa class battleship can be stopped in its own length via opposing its rudders: I believe that is not at all correct. I am a former USN line officer, and I've never encountered any thing that would suggest that it is true.

Concerning the damage control deck; also incorrect. There are a number of watertight doors going through the bulkheads below the main (watertight) deck.

#45 ::: James D. Macdonald ::: (view all by) ::: September 04, 2008, 10:42 AM:

I believe that is not at all correct. I am a former USN line officer, and I've never encountered any thing that would suggest that it is true.

I am also a former USN line officer, and I believe it is. The technique was called "closing the barn door."

#46 ::: Emma ::: (view all by) ::: September 04, 2008, 11:09 AM:

Lori@34 and Ajay@35: I should not be so fast at dismissing Clancy. I rather like The Hunt for the Red October and The Cardinal of the Kremlin. It's just that as the Ryan story went on, he turned into Mr-will-never-put-a-foot-wrong.

#47 ::: Toni ::: (view all by) ::: September 04, 2008, 12:32 PM:

For Captain Bligh fans, this is a fascinating book:

"Mr Bligh's Bad Language: Passion, Power and Theatre on the Bounty" by Greg Dening

#48 ::: Janet Lafler ::: (view all by) ::: September 04, 2008, 01:57 PM:

@16 Violet Jessop must have been part cat. I wonder what she did with the other six lives....

#49 ::: Joel Polowin ::: (view all by) ::: September 04, 2008, 02:18 PM:

And is she related to James Nicoll?

#50 ::: C. Wingate ::: (view all by) ::: September 04, 2008, 03:00 PM:

I've never been into Clancy, so I'm fascinated about Debt of Honor. Of course, since it happened in a book, it couldn't happen in Real Life, right?

#51 ::: dilbert dogbert ::: (view all by) ::: September 04, 2008, 03:12 PM:

Airships, submarines and similar water or airborne objects have unusual steering behavior. Put the rudder hard over and the first motion of the ship is in the opposite direction. I learned this a bit ago I was on the NASA team that studied the "Modern Airship". Thanks to Barry Goldwater's chief of staff who was a "heliumhead". We got to meet a lot of interesting folks during that study.
I also got to serve on the team that rebuilt a 660,000 cu ft pressure vessel (75psig max pressure) using modern materials and learned a bit about fracture mechanics. The old vessel was of welded construction built during ww2 using "Liberty Ship" steel. It had nil ductility at 32 deg f. We found a 113 inch long crack, 1-1/2 deep in a weld of a 2-1/2 inch thick plate. By fracture mechanics of the day the thing should have blown up. Luckily it was sited in California where it was rare to see 32 degrees. The Titanic was not so lucky.

#52 ::: Ray Girvan ::: (view all by) ::: September 05, 2008, 07:34 AM:

Rob Rusick > The Running Man ... ended with the hero flying an airliner into the skyscraper headquarters of the evil corporation.

The book did, but the movie didn't, so I'm not sure whether 9/11 would affect its showing. For whatever reason, it's rarely on TV here (UK) compared to other Schwarzenegger films.

#53 ::: FungiFromYuggoth ::: (view all by) ::: September 05, 2008, 04:00 PM:

Chris Gerrib @29 - the calm sea ties into another Titanic story I've heard. The lifeboats were rated for X people, and were even sent out partially loaded. The lifeboats were rated by using 180-pound men on the North Sea - mixing sizes on a calm ocean meant that quite a lot more people could have fit on the lifeboats.

And don't forget about the tuba smuggled onto the Titanic, disguised and taking up a passenger space.

#54 ::: Jasper Janssen ::: (view all by) ::: September 11, 2008, 03:43 AM:

The Running Man is rarely shown because it's a deeply crap movie even by the standards of Schwarzenegger movies.

That said, it was on NL TV twice in the last month.

#55 ::: Shannon ::: (view all by) ::: February 04, 2009, 08:03 AM:

Hi peeps do u know where i can get a copy of the blueprints 4 the titanic

#56 ::: abi ::: (view all by) ::: February 04, 2009, 08:15 AM:

Shannon @55:

The second result for a Google search for "blueprint titanic" is this site, which appears to have a good set.

PS - don't run with scissors.

#57 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: February 04, 2009, 09:12 AM:

Abi @ 56... ML's frequent references to the Titanic and to time travellers probably contributed.

#58 ::: Echa csdzfsd ::: (view all by) ::: January 10, 2017, 08:33 PM:

Jcseh dset

#59 ::: Naomi Parkhurst sees spam ::: (view all by) ::: January 10, 2017, 08:37 PM:

Or something. It has no links?

Yay! I can contribute to the betterment of the world, even if in a very small way.

I kind of need that right now.

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