The voyage was uneventful until the 14th April . There were ice reports during the day of the 14thalong the intended route of the Titanic. Captain Smith had taken the southern Track as was normal practice for the time of year but did not slow the ship down on receiving these Ice warnings
The Titanic, although a floating palace, did not have advanced warning systems that we have today. Marconi wireless was a major advance in communications but in its infancy on board ship still being tested and new to most ship owners. It allowed for Marconi Operators to transmit morse messages ship to ship and ship to shore. At the time the only visible early warning system was the use of lookouts whose job it was to stand in the crow’s nest, which was attached to the foremast keeping lookout for any perceived dangers ahead. They would immediately notify the ships bridge if anything of concern to the ships safety was observed.
On the Sunday night in question Frederick Fleet and Reginald Lee were the lookouts at the critical time. The Titanic was travelling at a speed of 21 knots. It was 11.40 p.m. 14 April 1912. The lookouts had just observed an iceberg straight ahead and urgently rang the warning bell three times. Frederick Fleet then phoned the Officer on the Bridge to tell him what he had seen.
First Officer William M. Murdoch was on watch on the Bridge. He immediately ordered hard a starboard, the engines to stop and full speed astern also quickly closing all watertight doors. Minutes seemed to pass but in reality it was only about thirty-seven seconds from when the alarm was sounded to the collision. Captain Smith quickly returned to the bridge and ordered an assessment of the damage to the ship. Thomas Andrews confirmed their worst fears. The Titanic had 5 watertight compartments breached and would not survive.