Monday, December 30, 2013

Who Goes First...?

Sometimes the facts from history studies can really surprise ya!

I guess that I never thought about this much and was stunned to find out the truth. You might find this interesting!

Ship Sinking? Women And Children Didn’t Always Go First
By Debra Kelly on Saturday, December 28, 2013

It’s an idea that captures the age-old spirit of chivalry. Aboard a sinking ship with no escape save the lifeboats . . . it’s an unwritten rule that women and children go first, and the captain always goes down with his ship, right? Wrong. It turns out, the “women and children first” rule is one that only started with the Titanic. Not only that, but the captain, along with his crew, are statistically the most likely to survive a sinking ship.

We like to believe that the ideas of chivalry still exist. There’s something romantic about the notions of putting others before yourself, whether they’re man, woman, or child. So it’s not surprising that the idea of saving women and children first from sinking ships should be so ingrained in the human ideal.

It’s a notion that gained popularity with the Titanic. It’s been well documented that more women and children survived the sinking of that ocean liner than men. But as it turns out, that’s the exception rather than any sort of rule.

A study by researcher Mikhael Elinder at Sweden’s Uppsala University examined the survival rates of 18 shipwrecks from 1852–2011. Their data pool included over 15,000 passengers and 30 different nationalities, was was limited to wrecks were at least 5 percent of the passengers died and 5 percent survived.

The results were surprising: They discovered that women were about half as likely to survive as men.

It turns out that the episode aboard the Titanic that turned a single act of chivalry into a myth that spans the naval world was the exception, not the rule. It was the captain who gave the specific order to allow women and children to board the lifeboats first; it wasn’t just an unwritten thing that everyone did.

Aside from the Titanic, there’s only one other major, documented example from history of a ship’s captain giving the order to save the women and children first. That honor goes to Lieutenant-Colonel Alexander Seton, a commander on board the Royal Navy’s HMS Birkenhead. The ship went down in the shark-infested waters off the coast of South Africa, and the commander gave the order to save the women and children first. There were only three lifeboats, but no woman or child lost their life during that shipwreck—365 soldiers died instead.

In future naval catastrophes, women fared far less well, however. When looking at the 15,000 people that survived their sinking ships, only 17.8 percent of the total women survived, while 34.5 percent of the men survived. The only two instances where women fared better than men were the Titanic and the HMS Birkenhead—both instances where the captain’s orders specified women and children were to be allowed into life boats first. And in the case of the Titanic, it’s documented that the captain had to threaten to shoot men who made a run for the lifeboats before a woman or child.

Ironically, overall women had the lowest chance for survival on British ships—even though the two captains that gave the iconic “women and children first” orders were British.

And as for the myth of the captain going down with the ship? The study also found that crew members were 18.7 percent more likely to survive a ship sinking than passengers. And the captains? In the 16 disasters studied (not including the HMS Birkenhead and the Titanic), only 9 of the ship’s captains died with their sinking ships.

Lots of strange tales and ywisted history comes from the sea...once in a while! Sometimes glamorous and sometimes not! Such is life, I reckon!

Coffee outside this morning. A few cookies left, OK?


Chickenmom said...

Glad I don't go on cruises!
I'll bring more cookies. Gotta have cookies with our coffee!

Sixbears said...

That actually makes sense, in a sad sort of way. In a panic situation where there's little time, the strongest would muscle their way to the lifeboats.

Captain and crew doing well doesn't surprise me as they know what to do and would mostly have training to fall back on -training passengers lack.

JO said...

Very interesting. But I believe the lower class passengers didn't fare as well as the rich or upper class. Just like chickenmom I don't do cruises either.

I'll have a refill please.

linda m said...

Somehow this doesn't surprise me at all. In a panic situation it has always been"every man for himself". This is the body's natural instinct to survive kicking in. And if you save all the women and children who will be there to help them survive. Is it more chivalrous to save women and children - yes? But it's not necessarily the best course of action . Probably why I don't go on cruises.

Dizzy-Dick said...

A true hero is one who is willing to give his life to save others. A sinking ship is a good way to tell who is really a hero. My canoe is big enough for me.

HermitJim said...

Hey Phyllis...
Gotta have those cookies, that's for sure!

Thanks for coming over today!

Hey Sixbears...
Training can certainly be a life saver at critical times.

Always going to be those that don't do well, I guess!

Thanks for coming over today!

Hey Jo...
I reckon that's just the way it is! Sometimes life ain't fair!

Thanks, sweetie, for coming over today!

Hey Linda M...
Guess at some point it becomes more of a moral issue than anything else.

Never been on a cruise myself!

Thanks for coming by today!

Hey Dizzy...
The canoe sounds about like my speed as well!

Thanks for coming over today!

Mamahen said...

I don't do boats of any size......This makes more sense looking at it from a practical view point.... I'll have a cookie CM.....but got to take off the 5 extra pounds soon :((

HermitJim said...

Hey Mamahen...
Wait until after the holidays to worry about the weight. That way you can enjoy the goodies now, and enjoy the company of all of us worrying about weight loss then!

Thanks for coming by today!

Rob said...

I thought the Capt going down with his ship was an insurance thing, once everyone abandons a ship it (and it's cargo) are free game for whoever wants it, not so if it sinks.

You have to imagine a ship run aground in bad weather, more than just scary but hard to stand up. Waves crashing over the deck and washing anything loose over the side...Everyone looking death in the eye right now.
It's not like it was in the movie Titanic...

Unknown said...

Yes!!! In a panic situation it has always been"every man for himself". This is the body's natural instinct to survive kicking in. Really Waves crashing over the deck and washing anything loose over the side. That was so scary.

Kopi Luwak