How Cold Was The Water When The Titanic Sank? Fun Fact For You

Deepthi Reddy
Feb 29, 2024 By Deepthi Reddy
Originally Published on Oct 23, 2021
Fact-checked by Shruti Thapa
A wide low angle view of melting sea ice floes
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Age: 3-18
Read time: 6.9 Min

The RMS Titanic was a luxury ship sailing from Southampton, England, to New York.

The Titanic ship submerged into the North Atlantic Ocean, off the coast of Newfoundland, by colliding with an enormous iceberg. When it sank, the water temperature was 27°F which is around -2.7°C.

The Titanic was built in Belfast and was described as one of the world's fastest ships built during that era. This luxury British passenger liner was designed by an Irish shipbuilder known as William Pirrie. Each class passenger, first, second, and third had different rooms, and first-class passengers enjoyed the most.

It was 883 feet in height when measured from stern to bow, and the ship's hull had 16 compartments that were specially designed to be watertight compartments, which meant that the hull could make a hole without causing the ship to sink.

But unfortunately, the watertight compartment design looked good only in theory; practically, the compartments had a faulty design. When the Titanic hit an enormous iceberg, all six compartments were torn apart and water ran inside the compartments and vessels and flooded the rest of the ship. The Titanic also had few lifeboats, because they thought it would crowd the deck. Around fifty deck chairs were thrown into the water to act as floating devices.

Although years have passed now, the sinking of the Titanic is still lingering in the minds of many. In your imagination, it might still be evident the night when the RMS Titanic drowned at 11:40 p.m. in the early hours of April 14, 1912. We all know that 1,500 passengers died in the ocean's deep waters, including renowned personalities like Benjamin Guggenheim, John Jacob Astor IV, and Macy's owners Isidor and Ida Strauss also died.

Only 706 were fortunate enough to save their lives as they made it to the lifeboats and were pulled on board by the Carpathia. Years have passed now, and most of the survivors of the Titanic, who were primarily women and children, have passed away.

Everyone on the lifeboats survived. The last survivor of the infamous Titanic tragic, Millvina Dean, died in 2009 at 97 years old.

Only one person named Charles John Joughin was fortunate enough to survive in the frozen waters of the Titanic. He was the ship's chief baker. Charles John Joughin, gave all his logical experience when he survived the tragic incident. His story of survival is unique. As he described, he went down with the sinking ship. He was able to survive until he found a lifeboat with a man standing on top of it. It was the only lifeboat that returned to save people. You can see the movie 'Titanic' to know everything in detail. Read more to find out about its interesting facts.

If you have enjoyed this article, also read about how many legs does a centipede have? And how many legs do butterflies have? Check out more here on Kidadl.

Titanic Deaths Due To Cold Water

The largest, luxury British passenger liner in history, crashed into a massive iceberg on April 14, 1912, and sank killing 1,500 passengers. A truly tragic story! Many were sleeping when the iceberg hit. The iceberg was located approximately 5,000 miles south of the Arctic Circle.

What happened next? The place through which the Titanic was sailing was infamous for large icebergs, and the ship's crew members immediately understood the situation. The ship's crew members immediately radioed for help; they were only answered by RMS Carpathia, which was 58 miles (93.3 km) away, which meant it would take around four hours for them to reach the site. The Titanic was sinking fast, clearly inevitable that many were going to die on board in two hours.

1,500 passengers lost their lives with the sinking ship in the North Atlantic. Only 700 passengers and crew members survived, mostly who were women and children. The class did not make a difference for women and children to board the lifeboats. Even third-class children and ladies were given priority.

The Carpathia arrived almost two hours late after the Titanic submerged into the deep sea. They pulled 700 survivors from the lifeboats to board the ship. Later, the Leyland liner, Californian, was only 20 miles (32.2 km) away when the Titanic sank. The radio operator of Leyland liner Californian, was off duty when the Titanic made the distress call, and they failed to hear the call. Had they come on time, many people would have survived.

The Temperature Of The Water When The Titanic Sank

The sinking of the Titanic in the North Atlantic Ocean, on April 14, 1912, and around 1,500 people died. The Titanic water temperature was not recorded since the logbook got lost.

However, it is suggested that the water temperature was around 79°F, which can lead to death after exposure for a long duration; around 79°F can lead to losing one's life within an hour. Temperatures around 32°F can lead to hypothermia, and within 15 minutes some passengers lost their lives. The air temperature when the Titanic sank was around 4.1°C.

The rescuers analyzed that in 50°F, 50% of the victims will die within 50 minutes. The Titanic submerged when the ocean waters were around 28°F; at this condition, you are likely to suffer from hypothermia first within 15 minutes, and finally, you will die within 30-50 minutes. A few lucky people might survive, but not many.

How long did Titanic passengers survive in water?

Iceberg in clear blue water

On April 14, 1912, the Titanic sunk at 11:40 p.m. The ship at night hit a massive iceberg and submerged into the North Atlantic Ocean. Around 700 people were saved from the ship on lifeboats, and 1,500 passengers and crew members lost their lives. There were around three 3,560 lifebelts on board, so all those who died were believed to be wearing lifesaving jackets. The temperature at the time when the Titanic submerged, was believed to be -2.7° C.

The rescue ship was 58 miles (93.3 km), arrived at the site 01:50:00, almost two hours later after the Titanic sunk into the sea. They rescued everyone on the lifeboats, but all others died despite floating their heads above.

It is assumed that as the water was freezing, no human could survive the extreme climate. Those who did drown died due to immersion hypothermia. However, full recovery is possible in many cases which have been in a state of unconsciousness. Even after being submerged with heads out of water for 40 mins, it is possible to stay alive. It is believed that most people froze and died, something known as the cold shock response, and because they were wearing lifesaving jackets and not because of inhalation of cold water into the lungs.

The people who survived on lifesaving boats were able to hear the cries for 40 mins. Meaning they were able to hear the cries diminish one by one, to the point of hearing the last sole victim crying for more than 40 mins. It demonstrates how the last survivors were struggling in the ocean waters. 

How cold was the water in the Titanic movie?

Coldwater can carry the heat from the body 25 times faster than the air present at the same temperature. The body immediately begins to lose heat. At first, the body tries to retain the heat by shivering, but this is not enough to compete with the loss of heat in the water.

But how long would it take to die in the water during the sinking of the Titanic? Depending on the body's temperature, within 20-30 mins, the body temperature continues dropping drastically below 95°F (35°C). This lowering of the body temperature, if not checked, can lead to unconsciousness, disorientation, and finally, losing their life.

Experts believe that life jackets were given to people, so the victims were floating in the water.

In the movie Titanic, the water tank was around 80°F. They added frozen and frigid water to the tank. According to reports, James Cameron even forbade the stars from leaving the water tank for hours to give a natural look to the movie. See the movie to know more.

Here at Kidadl, we have carefully created lots of interesting family-friendly facts for everyone to enjoy! If you like our suggestions for how cold the water was when the Titanic sank? Then why not take a look at how long for duck eggs to hatch? Or How big was Titanic?

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Written by Deepthi Reddy

Master of Business Administration

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Deepthi ReddyMaster of Business Administration

With an MBA under her belt, Deepthi has discovered her true calling in content writing. Her writing repertoire is diverse, covering travel, movies, pet care, parenting, animals and birds, and more. Her joy of learning and creating has helped her craft well-written and engaging articles. When she isn't writing, Deepthi enjoys exploring new cultures, trying different foods, and spending quality time with her two children aged 7 and 12.

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