Were there any survivors of the Titanic who never got into one of the Titanic's lifeboats?

Oct 2019
Near the dogbowl
No- he was pulled out of the water- and alcohol would not have stopped him from dying from exposure- you don't "freeze" to death- if your core body temperature drops below 80 degrees- you die. In water that cold- that only takes about 30 minutes.

Charles Lightoller went in the water as the ship sank from under him as he and fellow crew members were trying to launch the last of the collapsibles. The collapsed boats had a waterproofed canvas skirt that could be extended above a shallow wooden hull-
the collapsible ended up upside down, and Lightoller and several men in the water climbed up onto it- getting their body's out of the cold water- Lightoller had them literally Stand on top of it- each with a foot on either side of the keel- all facing the same way.
as many as could stand on it without slipping off- they all had to face the same way because lightoller would give orders to lean left, or lean right to help hold the raft stable- they did this for about an hour until one of the lifeboats came back to look for survivors- at which point they transferred into the lifeboat- this would not have been possible if not for the glassy calm of the sea that night. The returning lifeboat found less than a dozen still alive in the water- but all but 6 of them died within an hour.
Those that survived longer than average were overweight, or were clinging to debris that helped keep more of their body out of the water for a longer period of time.

to me the crime was that the Captain essentially checked out- and failed to properly supervise the loading of the boats- it was a dead calm sea- and Carpathia was 4 hours away- he could have overloaded those boats till they had 2 inches of freeboard- and increased the number of survivors by 50%-

They also had 2 and a half hours before she sank- knowing there was not enough lifeboats- and a steerage class FULL of tradesmen- there is no excuse for why the upper class snob did not put those men to work building rafts out of the Titanic's copious wooden decorations and deck chairs.
2 hours with 200 men, some fire axes and cordage could have built enough makeshift flotation to keep another 500 people 60% out of the cold water for 4 lousy hours.
Thats...actually a brilliant idea. Tear the doors and panelling off, lash chairs together, etc. etc.
Dec 2013
How did the chef's head not get wet when he first leaped into the water?
He rode the fan tail of the ship into the water and stepped off just before it went under. Much like as depicted in the movie. I don't remember exactly how he kept his head from getting wet then but I remember reading more than once that he said "his head didn't even get wet". And apparently never got wet during his ordeal in the ocean.
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Dec 2013
Note, IIRC the real negligence involving the California was that the captain didn't bother to wake up his wireless operator and check for messages like the distress calls from Titanic. California was close enough that some of its crewman noted the port side of Titanic was rising up higher (due to flooding from the starboard side).

By the way, it is all but impossible for a few thousand people to "swamp" a multi thousand ton ocean going vessel. It might become extremely crowded but a ship would be in no danger of sinking and any experienced ship crewman would know this.

Final note, IIRC Carpathia receiving Titanic's distress calls was a little bit of a fluke itself. Her wireless operator was receiving messages from the U.S. and was asked to relay them to Titanic when he happened upon the ships calls.
Sep 2013
Chattanooga, TN
He rode the fan tail of the ship into the water and stepped off just before it went under. Much like as depicted in the movie. I don't remember exactly how he kept his head from getting wet then but I remember reading more than once that he said "his head didn't even get wet". And apparently never got wet during his ordeal in the ocean.
Pretty smart move for a drunk.
Dec 2013
Pretty smart move for a drunk.
People can act in an extreme variety of ways even when inebriated. Though we rightly condemn drunk drivers the truth that people seldom admit is that a fair number of drunk people can and do drive just fine. During World War Two, the famous Greg (Pappy) Boyington was known on more than occasion to fly combat missions while drunk.
Jun 2017
Here's something I thought might interest everybody. These are the actual messages sent from Titanic as a wireless operator would have heard them. Insane imaging what happened as these messages were being sent.

The wireless operators didn't know anything was wrong for quite a while(45 minutes) and bizzare seeing it start with them messaging passenger traffic while the ship is sinking under them. "Weather delightful". Crazy how you can pinpoint exactly the second Smith walked into the room.

Haven't reached the end yet that will be spooky. Edit(it gradually gets weaker and at the end it's pretty sad). Somehow they were sending messages as late as 2.17?

Interesting tidbit Titanic supposedly sent the first SOS ever to Olympic. The convo before that was CQD. Knew they changed codes but never knew Olympic was the first ship to ever receive an SOS.
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Ad Honorem
Jan 2017
I always thought of hypothermia as more of a physical thing than a psychological thing. You're implying that people in the water died at least partially due to psychological shock.
there is a strong psychological component ,
being drunk has the effect of constricting the peripheral blood vessel thus slowing the flow of cold blood to the heart
on land it would give you frostbites but liquid water doesn't freeze
remaining quiet also help , struggling increase the heart rate bringing the cold to the core of the body faster
the extreme survival of hypothermia are often liked to the subject slipping in a coma with minimal heart-beat
resuscitation is done by warming the outside of the body slowly to prevent the cold blood rushing to the core when the heart start a strong beat
this result in shock
once the core temperature has dropped to 30 C wrapping the patient in blankets does more harm than good
the folk remedies are providing an outside source of slow warmth
such as putting the subject next to a cow , a naked person or burying them in manure whose fermentation provide a slow heat input
Dec 2013
In regards to Captain Smith, while his actions during the voyage of Titanic reek of incompetence, he had had up to that point a pretty long and successful career. The thing was that he had never commanded a ship remotely like Titanic (no one had) and his being put in command was mainly a "reward" for a solid career. It was going to be his last voyage. Having the largest ship in the world hit an iceberg and start sinking was undoubtedly a staggering shock to the man that really put him out of his depth (no pun intended).

Dang it I was wrong. Smith had commanded Olympic, Titanic's sister ship. Thus no excuses for his mistakes.


Forum Staff
Aug 2016
I might recall hearing or reading somewhere that Smith had never had a serious accident with a ship in his previous career, thus he was unprepared (had no experience) when Titanic hit the berg. I'm not saying that most captains had previously survived a sinking, but most captains had seen serious problems at sea - severe weather, man overboard, etc - and were better prepared psychologically to deal with crises.