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Watertight Smith William Alden Smith was a respected and capable career politician from Michigan who, unfortunately, became the subject of ridicule for one unfortunate public statement. Smith served in the Michigan House of Representatives, the U.S. House of Representatives, and the U.S. Senate. When the R.M.S. Titanic sank in 1912, Smith chaired the American investigation into the maritime tragedy. Although the inquiry was responsible for creating many improved international safety measures regarding oceanic shipping, Smith was widely mocked (especially in the British press) for asking why the passengers in the doomed ship didn't seek safety in the Titanic's watertight cabins. It was pointed out to Smith that the so-called watertight cabins were meant to keep the ship afloat, not to hold passengers. Furthermore, the cabins would have been no help to passengers as they sank with the rest of the Titanic. The British newspapers quickly nicknamed the distinguished senator 'Watertight' Smith.
Tags: Watertight  Smith  Titanic 
Added: 25th October 2009
Views: 1790
Posted By: Lava1964
Posted by: Jedwgrn on 2009-10-25 
Okay, I'm a landlubber. Watertight cabin - does that suggest the cabin is securable until rescue or only to help keep the ship afloat. Who knew what, when? He was from Michigan. Does that deserve character assassination? And, I know that it doesn't excuse his lack of doing research prior to.
Posted by: Lava1964 on 2009-10-25 
I'm not exactly a maritmer, either. From what I understand the watertight cabins were supposed to be puncture-proof so that water could not enter the ship through them. As soon as water started pouring into other parts of the Titanic, they were usless.

Can anyone else shed more light on this subject?
Posted by: Steve on 2009-10-25 
The idea behind watertight compartments is that the doors or hatches have watertight seals. When properly closed it is isolated from flooding compartments. When warships go to battle stations, all watertight doors are closed.

Ships are designed so that if one part of the ship or even an entire portion of the ship is flooded, the ship will still float. Cruise ships usually lack the discipline or passengers and crew to maintain watertight integrity.
Posted by: Lava1964 on 2009-10-25 
Oh, yeah...Steve is an ex-navy man!

Thanks for the info!
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