Was a strong rowing ability important in surviving the Titanic disaster?

Titanic rowingPretty much everyone in the Western world is familiar with the Titanic disaster, and most everyone also understands that the overwhelming majority of people on this legendary cruise liner simply didn’t survive when she started to slip into that frigid water after striking the iceberg.

At the same time, a lot of people are under the impression that a strong rowing ability would have been important in surviving the Titanic disaster – mostly because that’s how the lifeboats were propelled and they were certainly the most important piece of the puzzle as far as getting out of this disaster alive was concerned.

However, you may be surprised to learn that a strong rowing ability wasn’t exactly the most important aspect when it came to surviving the Titanic sinking. In fact, it was probably pretty low on the list!

Let’s break down some of the details that were important right now!

You had to get to the lifeboats in the first place

For starters, a strong rowing ability wasn’t going to help you even in the slightest bit when it came to surviving the Titanic disaster without first being able to get to the lifeboats to begin with.

You see, the Titanic was (unsurprisingly) and absolutely gigantic ship. And because the accident happened during the middle of the night a significant portion of the passengers were asleep – below deck, and usually below several other decks as well.

Not only did you have to fight through thousands and thousands of people trying to survive on this boat, but you also had to hope that your deck – and your area of that deck – hadn’t already started to flood with chilly water from the Atlantic.

Combine that with the fact that there weren’t enough lifeboats for everyone on board to begin with, and that many lifeboats launched nowhere near full capacity, and you’re talking about pretty low odds of survival right off the bat.

You had to stay warm in freezing water

Secondly, if you were able to get out of your cabin area and onto the main deck of the Titanic you had to jump hundreds of feet into the icy waters of the Atlantic – and then you had to hope that you were going to get picked up by lifeboats that were trying to get as far away from the ship as humanly possible just as quickly as humanly possible.

This was no easy feat to begin with, but when you add in the fact that you were dealing with freezing water that would cause hypothermia to set in at a record pace and you’re talking about significantly lower odds of survival.
Sure, you could swim for it and hope that you got far enough away from the ship before it finally slipped under water for the last time – and you could even climb aboard wooden debris that was floating around just like in the movie – but the odds are pretty good that you would still end up like Leonardo DiCaprio did.

At the end of the day, a strong rowing ability probably would have helped a little bit if you were able to get into one of the lifeboats to begin with, and that you were able to grab a hold of an oar so that you could row to begin with. If this tragedy happened today, your many hours working out on a rowing machine wouldn’t have increased your chances for survival.

But then again, you’d be in a boat with the dozens of other people that may not be all that experienced when it came to rowing, so your abilities would be significantly neutralized.

No, the biggest determining factor between whether or not you were going to be able to survive the Titanic would not have been your ability to row, but instead whether or not Lady Luck smiled on you that night.

Related: Buoyancy rings and life vests in the Titanic Ship

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