15.04.

1912: Titanic Actually had More Lifeboats than the Law Required

1912: Titanic Actually had More Lifeboats than the Law Required
Photo Credit To Wikipedia Commons / RMS Titanic departing Southampton on April 10, 1912

Story Highlights

  • Historical event
  • 15 April 1912
  • Legal norms required a ship of the Titanic's size to carry only 16 lifeboats, but the Titanic actually had 20. However, the ship was designed so that it could carry as many as 64!

The sinking of Titanic happened on this day in 1912, in the early morning hours. After hitting the iceberg, the ship began to fill with water. 

The crew had exactly 2 hours and 40 minutes to evacuate the ship before she sinks. The problem was that on her maiden voyage Titanic carried only 20 lifeboats, which could accommodate exactly 1,178 people.

But, the total number of people on Titanic at the time of the disaster was about 2,224.

The reason why only 20 boats were placed lay in the outdated maritime legislation. To be more precise, it bound ships of over 10,000 tons to carry only 16 boats with a capacity of 990 people.

Therefore, the number of lifeboats on the Titanic even exceeded legal norms! It is interesting that the Titanic was designed so that it could carry as many as 64 lifeboats, which could accommodate about 4,000 people.

Although the mentioned 1,178 people could theoretically be saved with these 20 lifeboats, this did not work in practice, due to poor organization. In total, only 710 people were saved.

On that morning, more than 1500 people lost their lives in the cold waters of the Atlantic (the exact number is not known because the passenger lists are not fully in order).

The differences in gender and class among the dead are particularly interesting. Out of the women who traveled first class, only four died (3%), while many as 54% of those who traveled in the lowest, third class, died.

The men in the second class had it worst. Specifically, their mortality was approximately 92%. Most of the 710 survivors from Titanic were rescued by the ship Carpathia as she passed by.

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