Titanic’s Sinking Changed Everything
This year marks the 100th anniversary of the sinking of the Titanic – the largest and most luxurious passenger ship at the time. It changed passenger ship safety forever. The Titanic had only half the lifeboat space they needed for the passengers on board because the ship was called unsinkable. Why would you need lifeboats for a ship that was unsinkable? Actually the Titanic had more lifeboats than were required at that time. But many of the lifeboats were lowered into the water only partly filled leaving people stranded on the ship.
Another problem was there was another boat in the area only 20 miles away and could have reached the Titanic before it sank but that ship’s only radio operator was off duty and never got the Titanic’s distress signal. The next closest ship didn’t arrive until an hour and 20 minutes after the Titanic sank.
So a year later an international convention in London drew up some new rules for all passenger ships.
First there has to be enough lifeboat space for every passenger and crew. Every cruise has to have a
lifeboat drill. And all ships must be in 24-hour radio contact. Also created was the International Ice Patrol to warn ships of icebergs in the North Atlantic.
Interesting that on the day of the collision the Titanic got six radio messages to be on the lookout for icebergs,
but they were ignored by the radio operator who was too busy transmitting messages from passengers.