Lifeboat Drills Were Canceled The Day The Titanic Sank

“I’m the king of the world!” —Jack Dawson, Titanic (1997)

In A Nutshell

Around the time when the Titanic was taking to the ocean, lifeboat drills were standard operating procedure for the crew to undertake on a weekly basis. The crew of the Titanic had been taking part in these drills as well, all except for Sunday, April 14. If that date sounds familiar, it’s because that just happened to be the day the Titanic struck an iceberg.

The Whole Bushel

On the morning of April 14, the crew of the RMS Titanic was expecting to run a lifeboat drill, a common practice among ocean liners. It was obviously important for the crew to prepare themselves and the passengers for what they hoped would be an emergency situation they’d never encounter.

That morning however, the lifeboat drill was inexplicably canceled. The decision to cancel the lifeboat drill came from Captain Edward John Smith himself, and to date it’s still not known exactly why he decided to call off the lifeboat drill. There had been reports of ice in the water throughout the area, with other ships having passed on warnings, which makes the decision to cancel the lifeboat drill even more baffling.

But hey, what are the odds that it would even matter? It’s kind of like not paying attention when a flight attendant tells you how to put on an air mask, right? Chances are, you’ll never actually have to try it out for yourself anyway. Unfortunately for the crew and passengers of the Titanic, it appears safety karma was not on their side.

That’s because, of course, the night of April 14 is when the Titanic struck an iceberg, causing the behemoth ship to sink, killing more than 1,500 people in the freezing cold waters of the North Atlantic. Obviously it’s not a certainty that the lifeboat drill would have actually made any difference, particularly considering the Titanic‘s lifeboats could only carry approximately one-third of the passengers, but it’s been widely believed that carrying out the lifeboat drill could have saved many of the lives lost.

Just keep that in mind the next time you take a trip somewhere. Safety precautions are probably not to be trifled with, because the day you decide to skip them, you might be setting yourself up for a lethal disaster.

Show Me The Proof

No Sunday lifeboat drill the day Titanic struck the iceberg
Lifeboats of the RMS Titanic