The Titanic Tragedy That Transformed Sea Travel

In 1912, the largest man-made object (at the time) set sail– the Titanic. The Titanic was a huge and luxurious ship with 2,200 passengers that traveled from South Hampton, England to New York City.

Why did the Titanic sink?

Although the ship was considered to be unsinkable, the Titanic sunk slowly after crashing into an iceberg. Many factors contributed to the speed that the ship sunk. The boat was going too fast for icy conditions, and the crew did not have binoculars to see the oncoming iceberg. Underwater geologists, or marine geologists later discovered that even the material of the Titanic was more brittle than typical ship.

The word titanic means large and strong. The makers of the boat used the name “Titanic.” The Titanic was as long as three football fields and had 1,000 loaves of bread on board to feed all the passengers. The Titanic could carry 3,547 people. On its first trip, 2,200 people rode on the Titanic. The tragedy of the Titanic is that many people considered the boat to be “unsinkable.”

All types of low and high class citizens rode on the Titanic. The most expensive tickets were bought by the richest people. In today’s money, if you wanted to buy the most expensive ticket on the Titanic, it would cost $100k.

How did the captain, crew and passengers escape the Titanic?

The Titanic was considered to be unsinkable. Due to this false confidence, the White Star Line decided to only include 20 lifeboats on board. Since there were not enough lifeboats, 1,500 people died at sea.

In maritime tradition, a captain must make sure that all passengers are evacuated. As the leader of the ship, a captain must be the last to exit. However, The White Star chairman cowardly escaped on a lifeboat, while Captain Smith went down with his ship. Captain Smith is well regarded in history as he put the safety of his passengers before himself.

The Titanic is considered one of the worst peacetime maritime disasters in history.

Rediscovering the Titanic

After the ship sank, the Titanic was untouched underwater for over 70 years, until 1985 when an underwater geologist named Robert Ballard found remnants of the Titanic. 

A couple years later in 1987, some wealthy folks invested in a submarine that would go down to visit the Titanic. They gathered artifacts to sell back above sea. 

One artifact recovered from the Titanic is a purse made of alligator skin. Papers in good condition were found in the purse because the alligator skin was waterproof and durable.

Another artifact recovered from the Titanic was a bracelet with the name Amy on it. Only one passenger named Amy was on the ship, and she did survive. However, the bracelet was never able to be returned to the original owner.

How the Titanic Changed Sea Travel

After the Titanic sunk, new policies were enacted that required more strict regulation of lifeboats and lifeboat practice drills. Engineers were able to improve the designs of the ships for more reliable sea travel. The Radio Act of 1912 required all ships have a 24-hour radio system to communicate with other ships at sea. A license is required to operate a ship radio system. 

Then, in 1914, the International Ice Patrol was established to monitor dangerous icebergs. Now, the U.S. Coast Guard is responsible for the International Ice Patrol. 

Finally, the Jones Act of 1920 allowed maritime staff to file a lawsuit against their employer. Workers at sea today benefit from the Jones Act. The Jones Act allowed workers at sea to fight for better working conditions in the court of law.

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