One of the most infamous maritime disasters in history was the sinking of the Titanic in 1912. The luxury liner, deemed “unsinkable” by its builders, unfortunately struck an iceberg and sank on its journey, claiming the lives of more than 1,500 passengers and crew. While the cause of the disaster and the actions of the crew have been widely examined, one question that has often been raised is whether there were sharks present when the Titanic sank.
Evidence for Sharks Being Present
One of the most compelling pieces of evidence for sharks being present during the sinking of the Titanic is the testimony of survivors. Many survivors reported seeing sharks in the water around the lifeboats and life rafts. One survivor, Lawrence Beesley, wrote in his book “The Loss of the SS Titanic” that “sharks were seen by many people, swimming round and round the boats, the poor, shivering, half-clad survivors of the wreck, who had thrown themselves into the water.”
Another survivor, Jack Thayer, also reported seeing sharks in the water. In a letter to his mother, he wrote “I saw sharks come and take people by the leg and pull them under.” This testimony, along with other survivor accounts, suggests that sharks were indeed present in the water around the Titanic.
Additionally, the location of the sinking also supports the theory of sharks being present. The Titanic sank in the North Atlantic Ocean, an area known to be home to several species of sharks, including the great white shark and the mako shark. The North Atlantic is also known for its cold water, which is a suitable environment for sharks.
Evidence Against Sharks Being Present
Despite the testimony of survivors and the location of the sinking, there are several pieces of evidence that suggest sharks were not present during the sinking of the Titanic.
1. The Titanic’s Location
To understand whether sharks were present during the sinking of the Titanic, it is important to understand the location in which the disaster occurred. The Titanic was moving from Southampton, England to New York City, and was traveling through the North Atlantic Ocean. This area is known for its cold waters, with temperatures averaging between 34-40 degrees Fahrenheit. These cold temperatures are not conducive to the survival of most shark species, as they require warmer waters to maintain their body temperature.
2. Species of Sharks in the North Atlantic
There are several species of sharks that are known to inhabit the North Atlantic, including the Blue Shark, the Mako Shark, and the Porbeagle Shark. However, these species are typically found in the warmer waters of the southern and central Atlantic and are not known to venture as far north as the Titanic’s sinking location. Additionally, these species are not typically found in waters as cold as those in the North Atlantic, and would not be able to survive in such conditions.
3. The Great White Shark
One species of shark that is often associated with the Titanic sinking is the Great White Shark. This species is known for its size and predatory nature and is often portrayed as a man-eater in popular culture. However, the Great White Shark is not known to inhabit the North Atlantic, and would not have been present in the waters where the Titanic sank.
4. The Greenland Shark
Another species of shark that is often mentioned in connection with the Titanic sinking is the Greenland Shark. This species is known to inhabit the North Atlantic and is found in waters as cold as the Titanic’s sinking location. However, it is not a predatory species and does not prefer to attack humans. Furthermore, it is a slow-moving shark that typically feeds on fish and other marine animals, and would not have posed a threat to the passengers and crew of the Titanic.
5. The Lack of Shark Attacks
Another factor to consider when examining the presence of sharks during the sinking of the Titanic is the lack of reported shark attacks on survivors. There are no known reports of shark attacks on the survivors of the Titanic, and no evidence to suggest that sharks were present during the sinking. Additionally, the survivors were rescued by nearby ships and taken to New York City, and there were no reports of shark attacks on the rescue ships or during the voyage to New York.
The Bottom Line
The evidence suggests that there were no sharks present when the Titanic sank. The cold waters of the North Atlantic and the lack of known shark species in the area make it unlikely that sharks were present during the disaster. Additionally, the lack of reported shark attacks on survivors and rescue ships further supports the idea that sharks were not present during the sinking of the Titanic. While the sinking of the Titanic is a tragic and well-documented event, the presence of sharks during the disaster is an unlikely scenario.