Clip | Abandoning the Titanic - The Lookouts Spot the Iceberg

Experts weigh in on the moments between the first sight of the iceberg and the lookouts signaling trouble ahead, detailing what protocol was to follow the piercing three rings of the bell.

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- They were huddled up against the cold peering and their blearing eyes naturally produced tears, which made it harder still blinking those away and staring and looking all over the sea.

Their job was to identify objects, and they would ring a bell to send that signal to the bridge.

It would be one bell for somewhere on the port side, it would be two bells for something to the starboard, and it would be three bells for an object ahead.

Now, once they had wrung clang, clang, clang, their job was done.

- The officers on the bridge identify it and decide what they're gonna do about it.

That's not the lookout's problem.

Lookout doesn't have to provide an identity.

- There were men on the bridge who had done exams, who had passed seamanship courses, who had achieved certificates.

(bell ringing) - [Narrator] At 11:40 p.m., April 14th, 1912, three bells pierced the night signaling the Titanic is headed right into her kill, an iceberg dead ahead without ample time to avoid it by the turn of the wheel.

(dramatic instrumental music)