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The Boat That Couldn’t Sink: The Tale of the Titanic

In 1912, the Titanic symbolized a new era in ship design as well as fast and luxurious travel. The Titanic was to offer its passengers plush accommodations and modern conveniences. Even before construction was finished, the Titanic was celebrated for its incredible length of 883 feet and its hull made of steel. Another notable feature of the Titanic was the 16 compartments below deck that could be closed off electronically from the bridge. These watertight compartments were safety features that contributed to the Titanic’s ‘unsinkable’ reputation. When it came to the design of the ship, the elegant heated rooms, rich furnishings, woodcarvings, grand staircases, and telephone service put the Titanic in a class by itself. By the time the Titanic was ready to set sail, it was already receiving praise from all over the world. This article about the Titanic is provided by Action Donation Services® as service to the public. Action Donation provides boat and yacht donation services to some of America’s best known non-profits and charities – many of whom serve the boating community nationwide.

On April 10th of 1912, the Titanic set sail from South Hampton, England toward the city of New York. The publicity surrounding this incredible new ship resulted in a passenger list full of famous names. Among the 2200 passengers were well-known billionaire John Jacob Astor IV, businessman Benjamin Guggenheim, and Margaret Brown, who came to be known as “The Unsinkable Molly Brown” as a result of her actions after the ship went down. First class passengers enjoyed delectable cuisine served in a choice of stylish restaurants. They had heat in their rooms as well as electricity. Of course, there were Titanic passengers who weren’t traveling first class. The lower the ticket price the simpler the accommodations. Regardless of their status, the passengers in second and third class as well as steerage were excited to be traveling to America on such an historical ship. Captain Smith and all the passengers on the Titanic knew that they were part of a momentous voyage.

The North Atlantic weather on the night of April 14th, 1912 was mild and clear. Furthermore, the familiar ripples and waves that signaled the presence of icebergs were a rare sight on the calm waters. Captain Smith was aware of several ice warnings, but none had been a direct threat to the Titanic. On the evening of April 14th, the wireless operator received one last ice warning that would directly affect the fate of the Titanic. Unfortunately, that particular ice warning was never conveyed to the crewmen on the bridge or to the Captain. Consequently, when the crewman on duty in the Titanic’s crow’s nest saw the iceberg it lay directly in the path of the ship. William Murdoch, the ship’s first officer, reacted by telling the engine room to reverse the engines. The Titanic was able to slow and turn slightly, but it was going too fast to escape the impact. The iceberg tore a gaping hole across the side of the ship. Several of the watertight compartments were split open and filled with water that began to weigh the ship down. As the ship gradually sank, many of the passengers were unaware that the Titanic was in trouble. Crewmen began to help women and children into lifeboats, but there were not enough to seat all of the Titanic’s passengers. Furthermore, some lifeboats were lowered to the water with space still available! More than two hours later, the excess water weight in the compartments caused the stern to rise upward breaking the ship in two. Though lacking in lifeboats, there were enough life jackets for passengers. However, the below freezing water temperatures meant that many passengers who may have escaped the sinking ship froze while awaiting rescue. The Carpathia received the distress call of the Titanic and slowly made its way to help. In the end, only 700 people survived the sinking of the Titanic.

Since the tragedy in 1912, the Titanic has been the subject of many books, movies, and articles. There are also museum exhibits featuring some of the treasures found in the wreckage of the great ship. Milvina Dean was the last survivor of the Titanic disaster. An infant when she boarded the ship, Milvina died in 2009. As the 100th anniversary of the Titanic disaster approaches, people have a lasting interest in the story of one of the world’s most famous ships.

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