Titanic – A Maiden Voyage Timeline

Titanic – A Maiden Voyage Timeline

Titanic‘s Maiden Voyage – Timeline of Events

Titanic‘s clocks were 2 hours and 2 minutes ahead of New York Time, and 2 hours and 58 minutes behind Greenwich Mean Time, on Sunday, 14 April 1912, and throughout the disaster. The difference in time was adjusted every night aboard ship as Titanic steamed west, to close the 5-hour time gap between Greenwich Mean Time (at Southampton) and time in New York City.

Note: The times given are accurate to 1912 timekeeping. They do not reflect Daylight Saving Time, which many countries now observe in the month of April, which artificially adjusts current clocks one hour ahead of where they would have been in 1912.

For example: if you are on Daylight Saving Time in, for example, Eastern (US) Time on the 14 April anniversary today, clocks on Titanic would be 1 hour and 2 minutes ahead of your current time; conversely, if you are on Daylight Saving Time in England on the anniversary, Titanic‘s clocks would be 3 hrs 58 minutes behind your time.

Times Events
Wednesday, 3 April 1912
Throughout the day, Titanic steams south from Belfast toward Southampton.
Thursday, 4 April 1912
  • 1:15 am, Greenwich Mean Time (GMT)
  • 8:15 pm (3 April), New York Time (NYT)
  • 1:15 am Apparent Time Ship (ATS)
Titanic ties up at the new LSWR terminal, Berth 44.
  • early morning (GMT)
  • early morning (NYT)
  • early morning (ATS)
Titanic is “boomed out” from her pier. The ship is dressed in flags as a salute to the city of Southampton (not for the holidays, as currently supposed).

Word breaks that Chief Officer Wilde of the Olympic, slated for his own Command (delayed by the coal strike) is to make a single round-trip voyage on the Titanic. Murdoch will step back to 1/O; First Officer Lightoller will step back to 2/O; Second Officer David Blair will be left ashore for this trip. (Murdoch does not officially join until the evening of 9 April.)
First photographs of the ship in port are taken; by the end of the day, these images are already in circulation in post card format. Fourth Officer Boxhall and Second Officer Blair mail copies of these before the day is out. The coaling begins; this process lasts approximately two working days, ending late 5 April.

Friday, 5 April 1912
  • overnight 4-5
  • “”
  • “”
Second Officer David Blair stands an overnight watch.
  • late in day
  • “”
  • “”
Coaling process almost certainly complete.
Saturday, 6 April 1912
Sunday, 7 April 1912
Monday, 8 April 1912
  • evening (GMT)
  • afternoon (NYT)
  • evening (ATS)
Workmen can be seen repainting the ship’s funnels in an iconic and rare stern-view photograph. By that time, the ship had been berthed against the dock again; this was most likely done very soon after the coaling process was complete, but it is difficult to pinpoint an exact time for that action.

Tuesday, 9 April 1912

Board of Trade Emigration Officer Maurice Clarke boards Titanic. He is assisted by Lightoller and Murdoch for many hours as he carefully checks to make sure that Titanic meets safety requirements. A number of stability tests are carried out.

Second Officer David Blair conducts his sister on a tour of the ship. Carpets are still being laid, decorators are hard at work finishing up last-minute details aboard the liner.

Local Southampton florist Frank Bealing, his son and a company foreman bring aboard the extensive floral arrangements for the ship’s maiden voyage. It seems likely that extra flowers were brought in to help mask the smell of all of the fresh paint applied during the ship’s stay in Southampton, both inside and out.

Late evening (GMT and ATS) Thomas Andrews writes to his wife: “The Titanic is now about complete and will I think do the old Firm credit to-morrow when we sail.”

Chief Officer Henry Wilde formally joins the ship, officially changing the ranks of the senior officers for the first time. Lightoller (and likely Murdoch) do not have time to change their uniform rank insignia before the voyage (as seen in a photograph taken on 11 April), causing later confusion among crew and passengers alike. (This also means that every film and television re-enactment portraying Murdoch and Lightoller shows their uniforms incorrect to their actual appearance during the voyage.)

Wednesday, 10 April 1912
  • 6:00 am (GMT)
  • 1:00 am (NYT)
  • 6:00 am (ATS)
Thomas Andrews boards the Titanic and begins a thorough inspection of the ship. The ship’s crew also begins to board at the same time.
  • 7:00 am (est.) (GMT)
  • 2:00 am (est.) (NYT)
  • 7:00 am (est.) (ATS)
Captain Edward John Smith leaves his home bound for Titanic.
  • 7:30 am (GMT)
  • 2:30 am (NYT)
  • 7:30 am (ATS)
Captain Smith boards the Titanic.
  • 7:30-8:00 am (GMT)
  • 2:30-3:00 am (NYT)
  • 7:30-8:00 am (ATS)
The Blue Ensign is raised at the ensign staff astern.
  • 7:30 am (GMT)
  • 2:30 am (NYT)
  • 7:30 am (ATS)
Captain Maurice Clarke boards the Titanic, preparing to oversee the crew muster and lifeboat drill. At his side is White Star’s Southampton Marine Superintendent, Captain Benjamin Steele.
  • 8:00 am (GMT)
  • 3:00 am (NYT)
  • 8:00 am (ATS)
The crew muster and medical examination begins, spread out over multiple locations.
  • 9:00-9:30 am (GMT)
  • 4:00-4:30 am (NYT)
  • 9:00-4:30 am (ATS)
The lifeboat drill – comprising Boats Nos. 11 (under 5/O Lowe’s command) and 13 (under 6/O Moody’s command) begins. It lasts for approximately thirty minutes.
  • 10:15 am (est.) (GMT)
  • 5:15 am (est.) (NYT)
  • 10:15 am (est.) (ATS)
The Second and Third Class Boat Train from London arrives at the LSWR docks.
  • 11:30 am (GMT)
  • 6:30 am (NYT)
  • 11:30 am (ATS)
The First Class Boat Train from London’s Waterloo Station arrives at the LSWR docks after a journey of about 1 1/2-1 3/4 hours.
  • 11:45 am (GMT)
  • 6:45 am (NYT)
  • 11:45 am (ATS)
15 minutes prior to sailing time, the cries of “All ashore!” sound throughout the ship.
  • 12:00 pm (GMT)
  • 7:00 am (NYT)
  • 12:00 pm (ATS)
Just after noon, the Titanic‘s whistles on the two forward funnels sound, indicating that the ship is about to depart. A group of stokers runs down the quay, attempting to re-join the ship. As a train approaches, some pass the tracks ahead of it, while others wait for it to pass. Those who beat the train manage to board the ship, while the others are waved off by Sixth Officer Moody. Another delay occurs when a straggler delivery boy makes his way to the aft gangway, attempting to disembark before the ship casts off.
  • 12:00-12:15 pm (GMT)
  • 7:00-7:15 am (NYT)
  • 12:00-12:15 pm (ATS)
Titanic casts off from the LSWR dock. This likely occurred between 12:00 and 12:15, as estimates vary between the two times. (One passenger, Francis M. Browne, was very specific that the ship cast off only after 12:15; however, by his own admission, he was unaware that the ship had cast off until she was already moving.)

Titanic is shepherded into the main channel, and narrowly averts a collision with the docked liner SS New York. She pauses for this incident, and again afterward to disembark un-needed extra standby crewmen via tug. When she resumes course after all of these delays, she is behind schedule by nearly an hour. (The delays total up to one hour including the 15 minutes’ delay casting off. The New York incident, and the pause to offload extra crewmen, took together no more than 35-45 minutes.)

  • app. 3:05 pm (GMT)
  • app. 10:05 am (NYT)
  • app. 3:05 pm (ATS)
Titanic reaches the Nab Light and the entrance to open water. According to some sources, the ship does not pause to drop off Pilot George Bowyer, apparently to help make up for the time lost through three separate delays in her departure. The ship makes the cross-Channel passage through open water of some 66 nm at 20.2 knots through the water.
  • 6:20-6:25 pm (GMT)
  • 1:20-1:25 pm (NYT)
  • 6:20-6:25 pm (ATS)
Titanic drops anchor inside the breakwater at Cherbourg Harbor. The Nomadic and Traffic depart their berths and, bringing passengers, cargo and mail. (Papers which recorded her arrival as being 6:30-6:35 pm were exclusively French; Paris Mean Time ran nearly 10 minutes ahead of GMT in 1912.)
  • 8:10 pm (GMT)
  • 3:10 pm (NYT)
  • 8:10 pm (ATS)
The tenders’ work complete, they depart from Titanic; Titanic‘s anchors are hoisted and she departs Cherbourg bound for Queenstown, Ireland. She makes the trip to Queenstown at 20.7 knots through the water, steaming through the night and following morning.

Overnight, the ship’s clocks were set back some 25 minutes from GMT to harmonize with Dublin Mean Time, which Queenstown clocks were set to.

Thursday, 11 April 1912
  • app. 11:55 am (GMT)
  • app. 6:55 am (NYT)
  • app. 11:30 am (ATS)
Titanic drops anchor in Queenstown Harbour. The tenders Ireland and America carry baggage, cargo, mails and additional passengers to the ship, along with photographers and reporters who document the ship’s brief first stay in that port.
  • app. 1:55 pm (GMT)
  • app. 8:55 am (NYT)
  • app. 1:30 pm (ATS)
With the transfer of cargo, mails and passengers complete, Titanic weighs anchor and departs Queenstown Harbour.
  • 2:20 pm (GMT)
  • 9:20 am (NYT)
  • 1:55 pm (ATS)
Titanic reaches Daunt’s Rock, the official ‘starting point’ for the trans-Atlantic crossing. The ship’s engines are brought up to “Full Ahead,” at 70 rpm, or 20.7 knots through the water. Throughout the afternoon, the ship skirts the south coast of Ireland.
  • 12:25 am (12 April) (GMT)
  • 7:25 pm (NYT)
  • 12:00 midnight (ATS)
Ship’s clocks are set back by 59 minutes (in two stages for Bridge time, in one stage for passenger spaces; for the crew, this meant a 29-minute setback in the first night watch, a 30 minute setback in the second). Throughout Friday, April 12, Titanic‘s clocks (known as “Apparent Time Ship”, abbreviated as “ATS” here) were running 3 hrs. 36 minutes ahead of New York Time, and 1 hr. 24 minutes behind Greenwich Mean Time.
Friday, 12 April 1912
  • 1:24 pm (GMT)
  • 8:24 am (NYT)
  • 12:00 noon (ATS)
First day’s run calculated: 484 miles steamed since leaving Daunt’s Rock, at an average speed of 20.98 knots.
  • 7:10 pm (GMT)
  • 2:10 pm (NYT)
  • 5:46 pm (ATS)
Wireless message from La Touraine received regarding “thick ice-field” ahead of Titanic.
  • 12:00 midnight (ATS)
Ship’s clocks are set back by 49 minutes overnight (in two stages for Bridge time – 24 minutes / 25 minutes – and in one stage for clocks in passenger spaces. During Saturday, April 13, Apparent Time Ship (ATS) was 2 hrs. 47 minutes ahead of NYT, and 2 hrs. 13 minutes behind GMT.
Saturday, 13 April 1912
  • 2:13 pm (GMT)
  • 9:13 am (NYT)
  • 12:00 noon (ATS)
Second day’s run calculated: 519 miles steamed since local noon the previous day, at an average speed of 20.91 knots. When the run is posted, this is considered a disappointment by many, and some conclude that the ship will not be able to dock in New York on Tuesday evening as previously expected.
  • est. 1:13 am (14 Apr.) (GMT)
  • est. 8:13 pm (NYT)
  • est. 11:00 pm (ATS)
Titanic‘s wireless apparatus ceases to function. Jack Phillips and Harold Bride set to the task of repairing the set themselves.
  • 2:13 am (14 Apr.) (GMT)
  • 9:13 pm (NYT)
  • 12:00 midnight (ATS)
Ship’s clocks are set back by 45 minutes overnight (in two stages for Bridge time – 23 minutes / 22 minutes – and in one stage for clocks in passenger spaces. During Sunday, April 14, Apparent Time Ship (ATS) was 2 hrs. 2 minutes ahead of NYT, and 2 hrs. 58 minutes behind GMT.
Sunday, 14 April 1912
  • est. 7:58 am (GMT)
  • est. 2:58 am (NYT)
  • est. 5:00 am (ATS)
Jack Phillips and Harold Bride complete their repairs on the Marconi set.
  • 12:10 pm (GMT)
  • 7:10 am (NYT)
  • 9:12 am (ATS)
Cunard liner Caronia sends an ice warning to Captain Smith. The message was acknowledged at 10:28 am ship’s time.
  • 1:28 pm (GMT)
  • 8:28 am (NYT)
  • 10:30 am (ATS)
Sunday services are held in First Class, conducted by Captain Smith. Other services are held for Second and Third Class passengers.
  • 2:45 pm (GMT)
  • 9:45 am (NYT)
  • 11:47 am (ATS)
Greek steamer Noordam sends an ice warning to Captian Smith via the Caronia. The message was acknowledged at 12:31 pm ship’s time.
  • 2:58 pm (GMT)
  • 9:58 am (NYT)
  • 12:00 noon (ATS)
Third day’s run calculated: 546 miles steamed since local noon the previous day, at an average speed of 22.06 knots. This is a much better showing than the previous day’s run. During the afternoon, word begins to spread among passengers and crew alike that a Tuesday evening docking is again likely.
  • est. 3:43 pm (GMT)
  • est. 10:43 am (NYT)
  • est. 12:45 pm (ATS)
Captain Smith shows the ice warning from the Caronia to Second Officer Lightoller.
  • 3:58 pm (GMT)
  • 10:58 am (NYT)
  • 1:00 pm (ATS)
Lunch is served.
  • 4:47 pm (GMT)
  • 11:47 am (NYT)
  • 1:49 pm (ATS)
SS Amerika sends a message warning of ice to Titanic for re-transmission to the Hydrographic Office in Washington, D.C.
  • 4:52 pm (GMT)
  • 11:52 am (NYT)
  • 1:54 pm (ATS)
RMS Baltic transmits an ice warning to Captain Smith. The message is acknowledged at 2:57 pm ship’s time.
  • 8:48 pm (GMT)
  • 3:48 pm (NYT)
  • 5:50 pm (ATS)
Titanic‘s course is changed to 265° true in a maneuver known as “turning the corner.” The course change was not delayed as later reported, but instead it would appear that she was within three miles of “The Corner” when it was carried out.
  • app. 8:58 pm (GMT)
  • app. 3:58 pm (NYT)
  • app. 6:00 pm (ATS)
Bruce Ismay happens upon Mrs. Marian Thayer and Mrs. Emily Ryerson on the Promenade Deck and engages them in conversation. He shows the ladies the ice warning from the Baltic, received earlier in the day, which Captain Smith had loaned him that afternoon.
  • app. 9:50 pm (GMT)
  • app. 4:50 pm (NYT)
  • app. 6:52 pm (ATS)
Titanic sees her last sunset.
  • Est. 9:58 pm (GMT)
  • Est. 4:58 pm (NYT)
  • Est. 7:00 pm (ATS)
Dinner is served; the final boilers from Boiler Room No. 2 are connected to the engines, increasing the liner’s speed to the fastest she had traveled up to that time during the voyage. The single-ended boilers from Boiler Room No. 1 remain unlit, but it seems likely that they would have been lit late that night or on the following morning. Lightoller notes that the air temperature is 43°F.
  • app. 10:03 pm (GMT)
  • app. 5:03 pm (NYT)
  • app. 7:05 pm (ATS)
First Officer Murdoch arrives on the Bridge, having finished his own dinner, to relieve Officer of the Watch (OOW) Second Officer Lightoller so Lightoller could have his own supper.
  • app. 10:08-10:13 pm (GMT)
  • app. 5:08-5:13 pm (NYT)
  • app. 7:10-7:15 pm (ATS)
Captain Smith meets Bruce Ismay in the First Class Smoking Room and asks to have the Baltic telegram returned so he could post it in the Chart Room for the officers to see.
  • app. 10:13 pm (GMT)
  • app. 5:13 pm (NYT)
  • app. 7:15 pm (ATS)
On the Bridge, First Officer Murdoch asks Lamp Trimmer Hemming: “Hemming, when you go forward get the fore-scuttle hatch closed, there is a glow left from that, as we are in the vicinity of ice, and I want everything dark before the bridge.”
  • 10:20 pm (GMT)
  • 5:20 pm (NYT)
  • 7:22 pm (ATS)
Harold Bride hears a message from the Leyland liner Californian, warning of ice in the area. He did not stop to take the message down or acknowledge it.
  • app. 10:28-10:33 pm (GMT)
  • app. 5:28-5:33 pm (NYT)
  • app. 7:30-7:35 pm (ATS)
Second Officer Lightoller returns from dinner. In the approximate half-hour he had been gone, the temperature dropped from 43F to 39F. Lightoller and Third Officer Pitman begin to take a set of star sights. This took about ten minutes.
  • 10:35 pm (GMT)
  • 5:35 pm (NYT)
  • 7:37 pm (ATS)
Californian sends an ice warning to the Antillian. Harold Bride jotted the message down and acknowledged to the Californian that he had received it; he then proceeded to the Bridge and handed it to the Officer of the Watch within about two minutes’ time.
  • 10:58 pm (GMT)
  • 5:58 pm (NYT)
  • 8:00 pm (ATS)
Fourth Officer Boxhall arrives on the Bridge to begin his watch, and finds Third Officer Pitman in the Chart Room working on the computations from the star sights. Pitman says: “Here is a bunch of sights for you, old man. Go ahead.” Boxhall picks up where Pitman left off. The temperature is 31.5°F
  • app 11:28 pm (GMT)
  • app 6:28 pm (NYT)
  • app. 8:30 pm (ATS)
A ‘hymn sing-song’ begins in the Second Class Dining Saloon after dinner. It was estimated that about a hundred passengers were present.
  • app 11:53 (GMT)
  • app 6:53 pm (NYT)
  • app. 8:55 pm (ATS)
Captain Smith, having left a dinner party in the First Class Restaurant on B Deck, arrives on the Bridge. He finds Second Officer Lightoller on watch. The two men converse for 20-30 minutes about the calm weather, and the ability to spot icebergs under such less than ideal circumstances. The Captain then says: “If it becomes at all doubtful let me know at once; I will be just inside.” Then he left the Bridge.
  • 12:28 am (15 April) (GMT)
  • 7:28 pm (NYT)
  • 9:30 pm (ATS)
Second Officer Lightoller asks Sixth Officer Moody to call the lookouts in the Crow’s Nest, and to tell them to ‘keep a sharp lookout for ice, particularly small ice and growlers,’ and to pass that warning on with each shift change until daylight.
  • 12:50 pm (GMT)
  • 7:50 pm (NYT)
  • 9:52 pm (ATS)
Mesaba transmits ice warning to Titanic and all east-bound ships. The message is apparently not taken to the Bridge.
  • 12:58 am (GMT)
  • 7:58 pm (NYT)
  • 10:00 pm (ATS)
First Officer Murdoch takes the watch on the Bridge. Lookouts Frederick Fleet and Reginald Lee take their place as the Crow’s Nest Lookouts. In the previous two hours, the ship had traveled 45 nautical miles, averaging 22 1/2 knots through the water. A number of passengers notice throughout the night that the enines are driving the ship harder than at any previous point during the voyage.
  • 1:31 am (GMT)
  • 8:31 pm (NYT)
  • 10:33 pm (ATS)
10:21 pm aboard the Leyland liner Californian: The smaller liner is forced to stop because of field ice in her path.
  • app. 1:58 am (GMT)
  • app. 8:58 pm (NYT)
  • app. 11:00 pm (ATS)
Quartermaster George Rowe, on Titanic‘s Stern Docking Bridge, notices an odd atmospheric phenomenon referred to as ‘whiskers ’round the light’. These consist of tiny ice particles in the air getting caught in the glow of the deck lights, giving off a prism of color.
  • 2:05 am (GMT)
  • 9:05 pm (NYT)
  • 11:07 pm (ATS)
Californian wireless operator Cyril Evans transmits to Titanic: “I say, old man. We are stopped and surrounded by ice.” Jack Phillips on the Titanic replies: “Shut up, shut up, I am buxy. I am working Cape Race.”
  • 2:28 am (GMT)
  • 9:28 pm (NYT)
  • 11:30 pm (ATS)
Lights are extinguished in the First Class Lounge.
  • 2:37 am (GMT)
  • 9:37 pm (NYT)
  • 11:39 pm (ATS)
Lookouts Fred Fleet and Reginald Lee spot an iceberg directly in the path of the Titanic. They sound the warning bell three times, and Fleet lifts the handset on the telephone receiver to call the Bridge. Sixth Officer Moody answers the phone, and receives Fleet’s warning: “Iceberg right ahead!” Moody relays the warning to Murdoch.

In the intervening period, First Officer Murdoch had likely been scrutinizing the water ahead of the ship, carefully ascertaining the situation and what his best option for evasive action would be under the conditions he faced. As soon as Moody’s relayed warning was heard, he “rushed” onto the Bridge, ordering “Hard a starboard!” and swinging the engine telegraph handles to “Stop”.

Quartermaster Hichens, at the ship’s wheel in the Wheelhouse, immediately – and correctly – carried out Murdoch’s order; his action was carefully watched by Sixth Officer Moody, who stood beside him to ensure that there was no mistaken response.

Although the Titanic responded remarkably quickly to the helm orders, the iceberg was simply spotted too late…

  • 2:38 am (GMT)
  • 9:38 pm (NYT)
  • 11:40 pm (ATS)
Titanic collides with the iceberg, opening a series of small deformations in her lower starboard side hull plates. The damage stretched from the Forepeak tank to Boiler Room No. 6. As the ship’s hull flared from a point, and her turn remained steady, each succeeding instance of damage was longer than its predecessor. The final stretch of damage, running about forty-five feet, ran the length of Boiler Room No. 6 and just across the bulkhead into the starboard-forward coal bunker of Boiler Room No. 5.

First Officer Murdoch orders the helm “Hard a port!” in an attempt to “fishtail” the liner’s stern away from the berg. The maneuver succeeds, and the damage ceases. The ship’s engines come to a stop shortly after the collision.

  • 2:39 am (GMT)
  • 9:39 pm (NYT)
  • 11:41 pm (ATS)
Captain Smith arrives on the Bridge and he attempts to discover what happened. He, along with Murdoch and Boxhall, step out onto the starboard Bridge wing to see if they can locate the iceberg astern.
  • 2:40 am (GMT)
  • 9:40 pm (NYT)
  • 11:42 pm (ATS)
Fourth Officer Boxhall sets out to inspect the lower sections of the ship for damage.
  • 2:41 am (GMT)
  • 9:41 pm (NYT)
  • 11:43 pm (ATS)
The ship’s engines are re-engaged, apparently at “Half Ahead”, and apparently at Captain Smith’s order. A number of passengers, who clearly recalled that the ship’s engines stopped immediately after the collision, felt them re-start now, but not at high speed as they had been before the impact. The reasons for this order are unclear, but it was not under pressure from anyone like Bruce Ismay, as Ismay had not arrived on the Bridge yet.
  • app. 2:42-2:43 am (GMT)
  • app. 9:42-9:43 pm (NYT)
  • app. 11:44-11:45 pm (ATS)
Thomas Andrews meets up with a number of First Class passengers forward on A Deck, along the rail overlooking the bow. He makes several brief reassurances of the ship’s safety, then leaves, likely headed directly for the Bridge.

Lamp Trimmer Hemming and Storekeeper Frank Prentice hear a curious hissing noise. Moving forward to the bottom of the Forepeak Storeroom, they descend to the top of the Peak Tank, but can find no damage or water. Ascending to the tip of the Forecastle, they find that the hissing is from air being forced out of the Forepeak vent pipe, as water rushed into the tank below. As they discover the source of the damage, Boatswain’s Mate Haines and Chief Officer Wilde come by. The source of the noise is explained to the two newcomers, and Wilde hurries away.

  • app. 2:43-2:44 am (GMT)
  • app. 9:43-9:44 pm (NYT)
  • app. 11:45-11:46 pm (ATS)
In the Wheelhouse, Quartermaster Hichens notes a five degree list to starboard. Captain Smith takes note of the indication.

The engines are rung off, possibly at the suggestion of Thomas Andrews if, indeed, he did proceed to the Bridge from A Deck, and possibly because of the list to starboard.

Bruce Ismay arrives on the Bridge, where Captain Smith informs him that the ship has struck ice. When Ismay asks if the damage is serious, Captain Smith replies that he believed it was. Ismay left the Bridge to return to his stateroom. (If Ismay’s later claims that he did not see Andrews were correct, then that would mean that Andrews’ stay on the Bridge was likely very brief.)

Very shortly after the engines are stopped, the pressure in the ship’s steam-generating plant, already operating at very high pressure from the 24 double-ended boilers in operation, builds to the point that it lifts the safety valves. The excess steam begins to ‘blow off’ in a thunderous racket which creates confusion and hampers communication on deck.

  • 2:48 am (GMT)
  • 9:48 pm (NYT)
  • 11:50 pm (ATS)
Fourth Officer Boxhall returns to the Bridge and tells Captain Smith that he saw no damage below in any of the passenger spaces. Captain Smith orders him to return below and have the Carpenter sound the ship; en route, he meets the Carpenter headed for the Bridge to report that the ship was ‘making water fast.’ Eight feet of water are observed covering the stokehold floor in Boiler Room No. 6. James Johnstone observes Thomas Andrews hurrying through the Dining Saloon, moving aft toward the Pantry stairs to E Deck. He may have been headed directly for the Engine Room to speak to Chief Engineer Bell.
  • 2:50 am (GMT)
  • 9:50 pm (NYT)
  • 11:52 pm (ATS)
The lights fail in the stokeholds; Captain Smith is seen headed down toward the Engine Room. Fourth Officer Boxhall sees water within two feet of G Deck by the Mail Room. Boatswain’s Mate Haines reports evidence of flooding to Chief Officer Wilde on the Bridge. Wilde tells Haines to get his men up and get ready to prepare the lifeboats. Haines hurries below to start gathering his men.
  • 2:53 am (GMT)
  • 9:53 pm (NYT)
  • 11:55 pm (ATS)
In the Forecastle Head, Boatswain’s Mate Haines tells his men to get ready, that they may be needed at any moment. In the Dining Saloon, James Johnstone watches Thomas Andrews return to D Deck from below, move forward through the Saloon, and then back down forward toward the Mail Room. Curious, Johnstone follows, and can see that the Baggage Room on G Deck is flooding. Steward Wheat meets up with Johnstone; when Johnstone moves off to dress, Wheat watches the water flood the Mail Room.
  • 2:55 am (GMT)
  • 9:55 pm (NYT)
  • 11:57 pm (ATS)
Captain Smith is seen returning to the upper decks by Steward Mackay. Chief Officer Wilde orders Quartermaster Olliver to find the Boatswain and have him begin preparing the boats.
  • 2:58 am (GMT)
  • 9:58 pm (NYT)
  • 12:00 midnight (ATS)
The scheduled time change is not carried out as planned. Fourth Officer Boxhall returns from the Mail Room and tells Captain Smith about the flooding. Smith leaves the Bridge. The Fourth Officer is told to summon all of the remaining officers. Sixth Officer Moody tells Quartermaster Olliver to fetch the boat muster list. The Boatswain orders all hands to the boats.
Monday, 15 April 1912
  • 3:03 am (GMT)
  • 10:03 pm (NYT)
  • 12:05 am (ATS)
Captain Smith is seen below, headed down in the direction of the Mail Room with Chief Purser McElroy and one of the Mail Clerks.
  • 3:08 am (GMT)
  • 10:08 pm (NYT)
  • 12:10 am (ATS)
Stewardes Annie Robinson observes water nearly up to E Deck by the Mail Room. She notices Captain Smith and Thomas Andrews coming back from the Mail Room, and hears Andrews say to Smith: “Well, three have gone already, Captain,” apparently a reference to the three flooded cargo holds. Smith heads up toward the Bridge.
  • 3:10 am (GMT)
  • app. 10:10 pm (NYT)
  • app. 12:12 am (ATS)
Captain Smith arrives back on the Bridge. On his way up, he is seen in the vicinity of the forward Grand Staircase by a number of individuals, including Violet Jessop. At the same time, Jessop sees members of the ship’s orchestra beginning to assemble and head up the stairs, as well. Jock Hume tells Jessop that they are going to ‘give them a tune to cheer things up a bit.’
  • 3:13 am (GMT)
  • 10:13 pm (NYT)
  • 12:15 am (ATS)
Third Officer Pitman sees a group of firemen coming up from their quarters with their kits, as their spaces were flooding; he also sees water flooding G Deck in the No. 1 Hold. He heads back to the Boat Deck.

Quartermaster Hichens, still at the ship’s helm, hears Captain Smith order that the lifeboats should be swung out, and that the crew should begin to awaken passengers and have them come on deck with their lifebelts on. This was a pro-active measure on Smith’s part, as he had not yet discovered the ship was sinking.

Captain Smith then moves aft to the Marconi room, and tells Jack Phillips and Harold Bride to be prepared to send a CQD, but not to transmit it until his order.
Likely between 12:15 am and 12:20 am, the orchestra begins to play their first pieces of music.

  • 3:18 am (GMT)
  • 10:18 pm (NYT)
  • 12:20 am (ATS)
Third Officer Pitman is told by First Officer Murdoch, then hard at work on preparing the starboard side lifeboats, to start work on Boat No. 5. Because of the continuing racket of steam, communication on the Boat Deck along both sides is significantly hampered.

Word begins to spread that passengers should don their lifebelts.

  • app. 3:20 am (GMT)
  • app. 10:20 pm (NYT)
  • app. 12:22 am (ATS)
Thomas Andrews is seen rushing up the forward Grand Staircase. First Class passenger Frederick Sloper thought he looked “worried,” while First Class passenger Anna Warren thought he had a “look of terror” on his face. He took the steps three at a time as he rushed up, hardly pausing to acknowledge anyone’s queries.

It is clear that between the time Captain Smith had left Andrews and this point, Andrews had ascertained that the situation was not only grave, but that the ship was doomed – and that she would not last for much longer.

  • app. 3:23 am (GMT)
  • app. 10:23 pm (NYT)
  • app. 12:25 am (ATS)
Thomas Andrews finds Captain Smith; their conversation most likely took place in the vicinity of the Bridge for the sake of privacy. Andrews informs the Captain that Titanic is sinking, and that she has “an hour to an hour and a half” to live. It is the worst possible news, and the time has come to begin evacuating the ship.

The two men part company; Captain Smith immediately heads aft toward the Marconi wireless room.

  • 3:25 am (GMT)
  • 10:25 pm (NYT)
  • 12:27 am (ATS)
At Captain Smith’s order, Jack Phillips sends the first CQD distress call. The position given is 41° 46′ N, 50° 24′ W.

Thomas Andrews moves into the First Class Entrance and begins circulating among passengers, telling them to don their lifebelts.

  • 3:35 am (GMT)
  • 10:35 pm (NYT)
  • 12:37 am (ATS)
Jack Phillips, working on a revised estimate of the ship’s position just brought in by Fourth Officer Boxhall, changes the transmission to read the now famous (if inaccurate) coordinates: 41° 46′ N, 50° 14′ W.
  • 3:38 am (GMT)
  • 10:38 pm (NYT)
  • 12:40 am (ATS)
On the port side of the Boat Deck, Second Officer Lightoller makes extensive preparations to load Boat No. 4. He has the boat lowered to the Promenade Deck, and has Sixth Officer Moody coordinate with other crewmen to load the boat once it comes even with the rail. Unfortunately, no one realized that the Promenade Deck windows were closed; much time was subsequently lost looking for the cranks to open them up. In the meanwhile, many of those waiting to board Boat No. 4 from the Promenade Deck disperse to other areas. Instead of waiting idly, Second Officer Lightoller moves aft, directing his attention to preparing Boat No. 6 for loading.

At around 12:40 am, First Officer Murdoch succeeds in lowering the first lifeboat to leave the ship, Boat No. 7, from the starboard side.Meanwhile, work on Boat No. 5 has been proceeding under the care of Third Officer Pitman. Bruce Ismay has been attempting to instill a sense of urgency in the work there, ordering Pitman to load the boat. Pitman, unaware of Ismay’s identity, tells Captain Smith; Smith tells Pitman to load the boat.

  • 3:43 am (GMT)
  • 10:43 pm (NYT)
  • 12:45 am (ATS)
Murdoch orders Boat No. 5 lowered away from the starboard side. It experiences some difficulty during the lowering process, but eventually reaches the sea safely. As two male passengers boarded the boat as it lowered, without authorization, and injuring at least one female passenger in the process, one of the officers – likely Murdoch – calls out that he ‘was going to be below decks and get his gun.’ While Murdoch had no problem allowing male passengers into lifeboats on the starboard side, he was not about to allow chaos to break out.

Murdoch leaves the scene as No. 5 is lowering away, likely to find Wilde and Lightoller in order to find the officers’ arms and ammunition. Fifth Officer Lowe works to lower No. 5 away, while Ismay excitedly pressures him to lower away. Lowe, not recognizing Ismay, explodes at his employer. Ismay leaves the scene and proceeds to No. 3.

  • 3:45 am (GMT)
  • 10:45 pm (NYT)
  • 12:47 am (ATS)
On the Bridge, Fourth Officer Boxhall has noticed the lights of another vessel on the horizon. At this time, he fires the first of a series of distress rockets in an attempt to contact her.
  • 3:53 am (GMT)
  • 10:53 pm (NYT)
  • 12:55 am (ATS)
Boat No. 3 is lowered from the starboard side.
  • 3:58 am (GMT)
  • 10:58 pm (NYT)
  • 1:00 am (ATS)
Boat No. 8 is lowered from the port side; Captain Smith tells its crew to row to the ship on the horizon.
  • 4:03 am (GMT)
  • 11:03 pm (NYT)
  • 1:05 am (ATS)
Boat No. 1 is lowered from the starboard side.
  • 4:08 am (GMT)
  • 11:08 pm (NYT)
  • 1:10 am (ATS)
Boat No. 6 is lowered from the port side
  • 4:18 am (GMT)
  • 11:18 pm (NYT)
  • 1:20 am (ATS)
Boat No. 16 is lowered from the port side.
  • 4:23 am (GMT)
  • 11:23 pm (NYT)
  • 1:25 am (ATS)
Boat No. 14 is lowered from the port side.
  • 4:28 am (GMT)
  • 11:28 pm (NYT)
  • 1:30 am (ATS)
Boat No. 12 is lowered from the port side. Boat No. 9 is lowered from the starboard side.
  • 4:33 am (GMT)
  • 11:33 pm (NYT)
  • 1:35 am (ATS)
Boat No. 11 is lowered from the starboard side.
  • 4:38 am (GMT)
  • 11:38 pm (NYT)
  • 1:40 am (ATS)
Boats Nos. 13 and 15 are lowered almost simultaneously from the starboard side. No. 13 is washed aft by the water flowing from the starboard condenser discharge, and is nearly crushed by Boat No. 15 as it descends.
  • 4:43 am (GMT)
  • 11:43 pm (NYT)
  • 1:45 am (ATS)
Boat No. 2 is lowered from the port side.
  • 4:48 am (GMT)
  • 11:48 pm (NYT)
  • 1:50 am (ATS)
The last distress rocket is fired. Boats Nos. 10 and 4 are lowered from the port side.
  • 4:58 am (GMT)
  • 11:58 pm (NYT)
  • 2:00 am (ATS)
Collapsible C is lowered from the starboard side, carrying Bruce Ismay.
  • 5:03 am (GMT)
  • 12:03 am (15 Apr) (NYT)
  • 2:05 am (ATS)
Collapsible D is lowered from the port side.
  • 5:13 am (GMT)
  • 12:13 am (NYT)
  • 2:15 am (ATS)
The water has reached the forward end of the Boat Deck in the vicinity of the Bridge. As the men work to free Collapsibles A and B along the port and starboard sides of the ship, the liner takes a “slight but definite plunge” down at the bow, swamping the men as they worked. She recovers momentarily, then dives down again – this time her downward plunge continues.

Colonel Archibald Gracie and his friend James Clinch Smith are washed from the roof of the Officers’ Quarters. The forward two funnels collapse, nearly crushing Collapsible B.

The ship continues to plunge down by the head, and her stern continues to rear up out of the water.

  • 5:15 am (GMT)
  • 12:15 am (NYT)
  • 2:17 am (ATS)
With the ship having reached an angle of about 30° down by the head, her hull visibly fails, creating a large opening at the upper decks seen by many survivors. Most of the lights fail immediately; according to a few survivors, a few of the lights may continue operating for a brief period thereafter.
  • 5:15-5:18 am (GMT)
  • 12:15-12:18 am (NYT)
  • 2:17-2:20 am (ATS)
Released from the flooded bow, the stern section settles back to nearly an even keel. Then something connecting the two halves of the ship exerts a powerful tug on the forward-port side of the stern. It is pulled forward and down, spinning counter-clockwise as it begins to climb toward the nearly-full vertical position. Some survivors see the ship’s propellers pass over their heads as the stern swings about.

Finally, the two halves of the ship separate, and the stern is reported standing almost perfectly vertical by many survivors viewing from all angles.
She pauses, suspended in a nearly-vertical attitude. Then water begins to flood the previously-unflooded stern section, and the inevitable begins to occur. Gradually at first, but with an exponentially-increasing speed, the stern begins to sink from sight.

  • 5:18 am (GMT)
  • 12:18 am (NYT)
  • 2:20 am (ATS)
Titanic sinks.
For details on how this timeline was compiled, please refer to On A Sea of Glass: The Life & Loss of the RMS Titanic.