What If the Titanic Sank Today

Sea travel is safer today than at any point
in history, but that doesn’t mean some people don’t get cold feet when it comes to getting
their feet wet. Everyone can name at least one famous shipwreck,
and some would rather keep their feet on solid ground, rather than risk a stay in Davy Jones’
Locker. But how worried should we be? Could a Titanic-like disaster happen today? Well, strap on your life jackets and man the
lifeboats, because you’re about to find out. Not that your ship is about to sink or anything. I don’t want to panic anyone watching this
from the middle of the Atlantic. Speaking of that, let me know in the comment
section which cruise destination you’d most like to visit! Um, did anyone else hear splashing? Eh, it was probably nothing. Before we can answer our main question, we
need to know what led to the sinking of the Titanic becoming one of the worst maritime
disasters in history. Everyone knows the basic story: the ship hit
an iceberg, there weren’t enough lifeboats, and Rose had the necklace the whole time. Oh, was that a spoiler? Sorry. Ignoring the exploits of fictional characters,
all of that is basically correct, but missing a few key details. The first big issue contributing to the ship’s
demise had to do with the culture of early twentieth-century ocean liners. The captains of these ships were under constant
pressure to keep a tight schedule of arrivals and departures. These schedules were challenging to keep in
ideal circumstances, and frequently required pushing the vessels close to their limits. It’s also not clear if the captain was fully
aware of the danger. At the time, it was common for ship’s radio
operators to work for a third-party company. Relaying messages to the crew was the second
priority to sending private telegrams for the passengers. This went so far as the Titanic’s radio
operator telling another ship to shut up about icebergs because he had a backlog of private
correspondences. Additionally, it was widely believed that
icebergs didn’t pose any significant danger to ships. In fact, a few years earlier, a German liner
called the SS Kronprinz Wilhelm managed to complete its route after having its bow crumpled
by a collision with an iceberg. Around that time, Titanic’s future captain,
Edward Smith, would dismiss the possibility of a potential maritime disaster by saying,
“Modern shipbuilding has gone beyond that.” People today mock how the Titanic was advertised
as unsinkable, but back then, it barely even counted as a boast. Regardless of the reason, Captain Smith chose
to continue ahead at full speed. He did have the presence of mind to order
the Titanic’s lookouts to watch for ice, but due to a clerical error, they were never given
binoculars. The lack of lifeboats was also due to a misunderstanding
of how any potential collisions would play out, and not just because they would be redundant
on an invincible ship. At the time, it was generally accepted that
if a ship ever needed to be abandoned, the passengers and crew would be picked up by
another vessel in the same area. No one had ever anticipated the need to evacuate
everyone on-board onto lifeboats. That also helps to explain why the evacuation
was so disorganized, with many boats leaving only partially full. While that’s a pretty big oversight, the original
plan could’ve worked if someone had picked up their distress call in time. You see, by 1912, ships weren’t yet required
to have someone operating the radio 24/7. This meant that the radio operator of the
SS Californian, the nearest ship, and the one Titanic’s operator had told to shut up,
was asleep when the distress calls went out. Making matters worse was the fact that the
Titanic’s radio operator reported the wrong coordinates in his SOS. This meant that even the ships that received
the call had trouble finding where the Titanic had gone down. So, those were the main problems facing the
Titanic on that fateful night; overconfidence, poor communication, insufficient lifeboats,
and the inability of rescuers to find her. Now that we’ve established all that, it’s
time to answer our main question: What if the Titanic disaster happened today? After the Titanic sank, many new procedures
were established with the hope of preventing similar disasters. One of the first was the establishment of
regular ice patrols in that region of the North Atlantic. In the early days, this meant guys with binoculars
freezing their noses off in boats and planes, but fortunately, today is not one hundred
years ago. Another reason today is better than a century
ago is that our iceberg detection has gotten a lot more sophisticated. The United States Coast Guard and Canadian
Ice Service regularly patrol the area with radar-equipped HC-130 aircraft to scan for
any icebergs coming too close to major shipping routes. With the added assistance of global positioning
satellites and reports from passing ships, the two agencies can provide daily updates
on the position of icebergs in the North Atlantic. Individual vessels also have a much easier
time spotting icebergs in their vicinity, thanks to technologies such as radar and sonar
becoming commonplace. These advancements have done a great deal
to make sea travel a lot safer, but they aren’t fool proof. Accidents can still happen, so it’s a good
thing large vessels are now required to carry enough lifeboats for everyone aboard, and
the crews receive training in proper evacuation procedures. Modern ships are also required to have a radio
operator on duty at all times. That’s good for several reasons, one of them
being that no one wants to be the guy who slept through a crisis. The captain of the Californian got fired over
missing the Titanic’s call, and he hadn’t even been breaking any rules. Emergency radio calls have been standardized
to a greater extent than they were in 1912. Additionally, GPS tracking means that if a
ship needs help, responders will know precisely where the trouble is going down. Pardon the pun. Rescue efforts are also much more coordinated
then they would’ve been in the early twentieth century. The Coast Guard maintains a variety of emergency
response vehicles, ranging from small boats and helicopters to large ships and planes. They’re also better able to coordinate with
and dispatch help from other civilian and military traffic in the area. So, what would a modern-day Titanic scenario
look like? Well, a good example might be what happened
during the 2012 Costa Concordia disaster. Sure, this shipwreck occurred in the warm
waters of the Mediterranean, and the Concordia struck a rock rather than an iceberg, but
the aftermath was similar enough that some comparisons can be drawn. The full story is as follows: the Italian
cruise ship was passing close to the island of Giglio when it collided with the edge of
an underwater plateau. Believing he knew the channel well enough
to navigate on his own, The Captain had disabled the collision alarm for the Costa Concordia’s
onboard navigation system. It was later revealed that there were numerous
distractions on the ship, such as the presence of the Captain’s girlfriend. Unlike the Titanic, the Concordia had more
than enough lifeboats to get everyone off safely. Unfortunately, no amount of policy reform
can completely make up for human error, and poor communication — and failure to follow
emergency procedures delayed the evacuation by more than half an hour. By the time the order to abandon ship had
been given, the Costa Concordia was already beginning to list so severely that the crew
was unable to launch many of the lifeboats. When the surf settled, thirty-three people
lost their lives, and another sixty-four had been injured. As bad as that was, things could have been
much worse since the location of Concordia’s collision did the passengers and crew a number
of unexpected favors. For starters, they were within sight of land
when the accident happened. This meant that help arrived reasonably quickly
once the Captain got around to sending his SOS. In fact, with the help of their life jackets,
many passengers were able to swim all the way to solid ground. No one would be swimming very far if they’d
struck an iceberg in the North Atlantic. When the Titanic sank, it was about 400-miles
from dry land, and the water was a freezing 28 degrees. The good news is that in the modern world,
things might never have gotten to that point. If the Titanic had struck the iceberg today,
the Coast Guard would’ve deployed a small fleet of boats and helicopters to assist in
the evacuation. Not just that, but every ship in the area
would’ve made a beeline for their coordinates the moment that SOS message went out. With a competent commander overseeing an organized
evacuation, this modern Titanic might not be considered a disaster at all. On the other hand, Costa Concordia shows what
can happen when safety precautions are ignored. Now don’t let this scare you away from planning
that Caribbean getaway. You’re still much more likely to get hurt
driving to work than sailing the seven seas. Hey, if you learned something new today, then
give the video a like and share it with a friend! And here are some other videos I think you’ll
enjoy. Just click to the left or right, and remember
to stay on the Bright Side of life!

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