She was said to be the “the Ship of Dreams” and from the minute she departed from South Hampton on her maiden voyage, The RMS Titanic has been considered one of most magnificent passenger liners in human history. Piloted by Captain Edward J. Smith, the Titanic left a mark on history in many ways.
Her maiden voyage officially started on April 2, 1912. The Titanic sailed to Cherbourg, France and then Queenstown, Ireland to pick up all of its passengers for the journey across the Atlantic Ocean. The “unsinkable” Titanic arrived in Queenstown on April 10th, and the last day she saw land was Thursday, April 11. The Titanic left Queenstown and departed for New York City at 1:30 PM after loading her docks with 2,223 people aboard, awaiting their ultimate doom.
The Titanic was years ahead of its time, yet it lacked many of the ideal safety features we have today. On the gelid fifth night of her voyage, the atmosphere on the ship was altered dramatically. The ship had six guards on lookout in the crow’s nest of the ship; their main purpose was to keep watch for icebergs. Fredrick Fleet was the guard on the crow’s nest. His 11 o’clock shift was minutes from being over and there seemed to be no problems. Titanic cut through the waves like butter, at a speed of 22 knots. At 11:40 PM a loud scream broke the silence that night, “Iceberg right ahead!” and the message was passed on by mouth all the way to the bridge. Captain Smith was sleeping at the time, but received a very alarming awakening with the news of his ship colliding with a 100 feet tall iceberg.
The ship of dreams that was said to be “unsinkable”, but it crashed into the iceberg leaving a 200 foot gash into the hull of the ship. She began to take on twenty-eight degree Fahrenheit water. The freezing water flooded five of the compartments near the bottom of the ship. Sadly, the Titanic was equipped with only twenty lifeboats, which only has the capacity to hold half of the passengers on the ship. Captain Smith and the crew tried to keep everyone calm and they didn’t think the ship was going to sink but after about thirty minutes of analyzing the situation they knew that Titanic was not going to see land again. They started by filling the lifeboats with women and children first class passengers. The 2nd and 3rd class passengers had to wait until all of the first class was on the boats before they could go to the top deck of the ship and board the lifeboats. During the three hours of chaos, the crew had to fend off men and lower class passengers from boarding the lifeboats.
The Titanic broke into two pieces as the pressure of the water was too much for the ship to handle. At the time that the ship went down, there was 1,517 people who went down with it and died, either drowning or freezing to death. Only 706 people survived the sinking of the Titanic and there could have been so many more. The ship had the capacity to hold 64 lifeboats and the crew only took 20 because it “looked better” aesthetically. The RMS Carpathia arrived at 4:00 AM and brought aboard all of the lifeboats they found which took four hours. After three days, the Carpathia arrived with the 706 survivors in New York.
Although this disaster was nobody’s fault, there could have been so many more lives saved. The first life boat that was launched held 12 people, with the capacity to hold 65. Only 31% of the people on the Titanic survived and 61% of those passengers were first class. 23% of third class passengers survived and 42% of standard class survived. In this disaster, we can not go back in time to fix what has been done, but we can learn from it. No life is worth more than another. As Titanic lies at the bottom of the Atlantic Ocean its legacy lives on, forever.
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Photograph © National Museums Northern Ireland, Collection Harland and Wolff, Ulster Folk & Transport Museum, Photomosaics © 2012 RMS Titanic, Inc, a Subsidiary of Premier Exhibitions, Inc. Produced by AIVL, Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution (WHOI), and Photograph © 2012 RMS Titanic, Inc. Produced by AIVL, WHOI. “Unseen Titanic.” National Geographic. N.p., 01 May 2017. Web. 10 May 2017.
“Titanic Timeline.” Titanic and CO. N.p., n.d. Web. 8 May 2017.