3 Modern Prepping Lessons from the Titanic

April 15, 2012 by

Titanic Survivors In Lifeboat
Tonight marks the 100th anniversary of the sinking of the Titanic.

Anyone remotely familiar with the story recognizes much of the tragedy was largely preventable.

Even though the Titanic sank a century ago... there are still important modern prepping lessons to be learned from the disaster.

Here are three big ones...

Prepare in Advance

Before the Titanic departed on its maiden voyage from Southampton, 20 lifeboats were loaded onto the luxury ocean liner, exceeding the legal requirement of the day by four lifeboats.

Only legal requirements don't always mean adequate protection.

The Titanic was designed to carry up over 3,300 passengers and crew, but those 20 lifeboats at full capacity could only handle roughly half of the estimated 2,224 people on board the Titanic that fateful night.

It wasn't like  the ship couldn't handle more lifeboats, either. It was designed to accommodate 68 lifeboats. But the White Star Line operating the ship considered the safety of additional lifeboats to be less important than the pleasant view from the 1st Class Promenade their presence would have interfered with.

Having enough lifeboats still may not have been enough to save those who perished.

Not a single lifeboat drill was ever performed on the Titanic other than a short two-lifeboat drill conducted while the Titanic was still docked. A passenger drill scheduled for the morning before the Titanic sank was inexplicably canceled.

According to survivor accounts, the Titanic's crew was virtually clueless in how to perform a lifeboat evacuation resulting in even more confusion.

Lesson Learned: Prepare early and practice.

When disaster strikes it may be too late to get what you need. Plan ahead and stock up early. Yes, we still have "a life" but don't let frivolous purchases outweigh you and your loved ones' future safety and security.

Perhaps you already set aside a certain amount of money for tithing, savings or investing. Set aside an amount every week or month for prepping too. It can be a set dollar amount or a percent of income (works great for those with variable income). This will help you ensure the preparedness portion of your budget remains a priority.

But don't stop there. Just because you have "stuff" doesn't mean you'll know how to use it in an emergency.

Practice improving your survival skillset. Learn something new every  day or every week. Don't settle for "book learning" either. Put what you know into practice using what you have now. Run drills to discover your weak areas and adjust your  preparedness priorities based on what you learn.

An honest assessment of where you stand in supplies and skills could direct you down a path that could ultimately save your life.

Heed the Warnings

During the 14 hours preceding the Titanic's collision with the iceberg which sealed its doom, no less than six radio messages warning of significant ice danger were received.

Some warnings were never delivered for various reasons - including one final warning shortly before impact apparently ignored due to the radio operator's preoccupation with maintaining business-as-usual, relaying passenger messages forward to an on-shore radio station. When a nearby ship stuck in an ice field tried three times to warn the Titanic, its radio operator literally  replied "Shut up! Shut up! I'm working Cape Race." (Cape Race was the Newfoundland station he was attempting to transmit passenger messages to.)

Other warnings that were delivered were never acted upon. The prevailing attitude at the time was the Titanic was unsinkable so icebergs were merely a nuisance, not a hazard even worth slowing down for. Until it was too late.

Lesson Learned: Pay attention to changing conditions.

Sometimes disaster strikes with little warning. But when warning comes - listen.

Would you rather be the first one out of New Orleans when a hurricane is bearing down... or the one plucked by helicopter off a rooftop or stuck in squalid conditions in the Superdome?

Would you rather be the first to head into the storm shelter when the sirens blare... or the one with the great camcorder shot of the twister that took your life?

Would you rather rely having the means and ability to defend yourself... or rely exclusively on the goodwill of every individual in your community for your safety?

Would you rather trust in your grocery store supplying your daily needs even when the power goes down or disaster strikes... or would having a deep larder stocked with enough food to get you through the next few months or years give you more ease of mind?

Would you prefer your government take responsibility for ensuring your welfare the rest of your life... or would you sleep better at night being more self-reliant?

How is your environment changing? Don't roll over and go back to sleep. Wake up and pay attention.

Get On the Lifeboat

While the 20 lifeboats present could have rescued over 1,100 passengers and crew, only 710 survived the sinking of the Titanic. Making the situation even more tragic is the fact many lifeboats lowered were less than half full.

While a large number of men and lower class travelers were turned away, some of the lifeboats - particularly earlier in the evacuation - went partially empty due to the reluctance of passengers to leave the comfort of the ship. Few really believed the Titanic could be in danger and preferred to take a chance on a "sure bet."

As a result... at least 400 to 500 additional lives were needlessly lost.

Lesson Learned: Don't presume lack of danger based on the status quo.

Just because a lot of people say something doesn't make it true. Look at the facts and make up your own mind.

Is there really no way the United States could ever face a hyperinflation in the near future just because of bunch of economists and talking heads on the news say it's inconceivable? Look at the hard numbers.

Is there really zero chance of the U.S. government implementing a police state? How about one that rivals our military?

Are you absolutely sure that we'll always have enough water to drink and irrigate our critical farmland? Might want to consider the real possibility of another dust bowl.

The point is... just because you're used to something being one way doesn't mean it always will be.

Plan accordingly.