On April 14, 1912, the Titanic hit an enormous iceberg and sank less than three hours later in the Atlantic Ocean off the coast of Newfoundland, Canada. Design flaws and other factors contributed to this maritime disaster, which took the lives of more than 1,500 passengers and crew members. Safety regulations for ships were established over time to prevent such a tragedy from happening again.
In 1985, scientists discovered the Titanic wreckage, with its hull in two pieces at the bottom of the Atlantic. The breaking apart of the ship remains a mystery. Several Titanic survivors reported the ship broke apart just before it disappeared beneath the ocean surface. The surviving staff officers discounted this theory, indicating the ship remained intact as it began the descent to the ocean floor.
The structural design of the Titanic was not strong enough to withstand the flooding of the watertight compartments. The hull steel and rivets broke apart, leading to the swift sinking of the ship. Subsequent design changes in ships included double hulls and taller bulkheads for the watertight compartments.
The Titanic disaster resulted in the mandatory use of wireless devices for ships at sea. These devices allow ship crews to obtain weather reports, check their precise locations at sea and call for help in case of an emergency.
The lifeboats on the Titanic held about half of the passengers and crew members. Safety regulations subsequently changed, requiring sufficient lifeboat capacity to carry every passenger and crew member on a ship at sea.
Following the Titanic disaster, an Ice Patrol was established to warn ships traveling in the North Atlantic about the threat of icebergs. The Titanic could have avoided the iceberg disaster if an Ice Patrol had been implemented at that time.