Titanic Sea Trials | side view of the titanic at the docks in belfast 1912 149 p | Titanic Sea Trials & Launch | kevcummins

TITANIC:  SEA TRIALS & LAUNCH

What happened during the Titanic Sea Trials?

The RMS Titanic sea trials would be looked back on as one of the great successes of her short life.   R.M.S Titanic lived up to all expectations as it sailed down the River Lagan in front of a curious audience who had gathered to watch this gargantuan vessel finally leave its docks and head towards the Irish Sea.  It was here that she would first move under the power of her own steam. 

A Complete Titanic unit for teachers and students

A complete unit of work to teach students about the historical and cultural impact Titanic made upon the world both back in the early 20th century as the world’s grandest liner, and as a tragic metaphor after she sank during her maiden voyage. This complete unit includes.

  • Digital Text Response Tasks
  • Fact Vs. Opinions
  • Titanic Passion Projects
  • Interactive Video Tasks
  • Interactive Writing Tasks & Templates
  • Titanic Data & Statistics Tasks
  • Digital Assessment Tools
  • Titanic Timelines & Research Tasks
  • Independent, Group & Remote Tasks
  • Key Players in Titanic’s History
  • Create your own Google Map Task
  • Biography of Passengers’ Tasks
  • Open-ended Titanic Assessment Tasks

Titanic Sea Trials Photo
Dockside at the Harland & Wolff dockyards awaiting sea trials.

After being postponed due to unfavourable weather the day before onlookers were growing eager to see Titanic in action.

Titanic’s sea trials began early on Monday, April 2, 1912, after she was finally fitted out at Harland & Wolff shipyard, and just eight days before, she was due to leave Southampton on her maiden voyage. 

Many would view this as a somewhat rushed experience, and it would later reflect the overall rushed attitude which would inevitably prove fatal to Titanic, its passengers and crew.

The sea trials consisted of a skeleton crew of stokers, greasers, firemen, White Star officials and representatives from the Board of trade to determine the seaworthiness of the Titanic.  No cabin Staff were believed to be on board for the sea trials.  Mr Francis Carruthers was the man who signed off on the Titanic granting it an ‘Agreement and Account of Voyages and Crew’, valid for twelve months, which deemed the ship sea-worthy.  Whilst the ship was in operation the ‘Marconi’ radio equipment on board the Titanic was fine-tuned and experimented with.

Titanic Sea Trials | TitanicBW | Titanic Sea Trials & Launch | kevcummins
Titanic under sea trials in 1912

During the Sea trials, a range of activities and tests were undertaken to determine the manoeuvrability, speed and stopping capacity of Titanic.  These statistics now exist as really the only hard evidence of what the Titanic was capable of.  It is fair to assume that the Titanic was not operating at full capacity during these trials, and as a result, we may never know her full capability.

A compilation of footage and CGI based on the sea trials of the Titanic

Below are some statistics that resulted from Sea Trials.

Top Recorded Speed     –   20 knots. (37 Kilometres per hour)

Turning Circle                –   3520 Metre Diameter (3,850 yards)

Stopping Distance         –   777 metres (850 Yards)

Titanic Sea Trials | titanicinbelfast | Titanic Sea Trials & Launch | kevcummins
Titanic leaves Belfast for Southampton

After six hours of sea trials, the Titanic left Belfast at noon for the 550-mile journey to Southampton, under Captain Herbert Haddock’s command. The journey to Southampton would prove to be an uneventful one.

The sea trials consisted of a number of tests of her handling characteristics, carried out first in Belfast Lough and then in the open waters of the Irish Sea. Over the course of about twelve hours, Titanic was driven at different speeds, her turning ability was tested and a “crash stop” was performed in which the engines were reversed full ahead to full astern, bringing her to a stop in 850 yds (777 m) or 3 minutes and 15 seconds. 

The ship covered a distance of about 80 nautical miles (92 mi; 150 km), averaging 18 knots (21 mph; 33 km/h) and reaching a maximum speed of just under 21 knots (24 mph; 39 km/h). On returning to Belfast at about 7 pm, the surveyor signed an “Agreement and Account of Voyages and Crew”, valid for twelve months, which declared the ship seaworthy. An hour later, the Titanic left Belfast again – as it turned out, for the last time – to head to Southampton, a voyage of about 570 nautical miles (660 mi; 1,060 km). After a journey lasting about 28 hours, she arrived about midnight on 4 April and was towed to the port’s Berth 44, ready for the arrival of her passengers and the remainder of her crew.

The sea trials provides little insight as to what lay ahead for the Titanic. It certainly doesn’t provide any answers to how did the titanic sink? and the extremely high Titanic deaths.

Titanic Launch and Sea Trials Image Gallery

A Complete Titanic unit for teachers and students

A complete unit of work to teach students about the historical and cultural impact Titanic made upon the world both back in the early 20th century as the world’s grandest liner, and as a tragic metaphor after she sank during her maiden voyage. This complete unit includes.

  • Digital Text Response Tasks
  • Fact Vs. Opinions
  • Titanic Passion Projects
  • Interactive Video Tasks
  • Interactive Writing Tasks & Templates
  • Titanic Data & Statistics Tasks
  • Digital Assessment Tools
  • Titanic Timelines & Research Tasks
  • Independent, Group & Remote Tasks
  • Key Players in Titanic’s History
  • Create your own Google Map Task
  • Biography of Passengers’ Tasks
  • Open-ended Titanic Assessment Tasks