Not Going Down With This Ship

Not Going Down With This Ship

The Titanic Syndrome

The legend goes that a captain always goes down with his sinking ship. Otherwise, he wouldn’t be deserving of his command if he bails out. In other words, if his ship perishes then so should he.

“The captain goes down with the ship” is a maritime tradition that a sea captain holds ultimate responsibility for both his ship and everyone embarked on it, and that in an emergency, he will either save them or die trying. Although often connected to the sinking of RMS Titanic in 1912 and its captain, Edward J. Smith, the tradition precedes Titanic by at least 11 years.[1] In most instances, the captain of the ship forgoes his own rapid departure of a ship in distress, and concentrates instead on saving other people. It often results in either the death or belated rescue of the captain as the last person on board.”

Noble sentiment, and when you put it that way, understandable. But without knowing the true reason for the captain’s sacrifice, many people hold to the ‘glamorous’ and wholly indulgent belief that a captain must and should go down with his ship, just because. It probably has got more to do with pride and reputation than true sacrifice.

I beg your pardon, but personally I have always found this to be utter nonsense. No one should perish needlessly, when he could have survived or has the means to save himself. Certainly, I don’t think anyone should perish because of pride or fear of backlash from people who aren’t on that sinking ship to begin with. If you can live, then do not go down with that ship.

This is figuratively or quite literally the situation.

Save Everyone On Board!

However there is that other matter of being a deserter or traitor to the cause. When that figurative ship is in danger of sinking, there is that person who immediately ‘jump ship’ in order to save himself, consequences be danged, pardon me. For him, it is every man for himself. Watch him claim that lifeboat for himself and leave in the chaos, not caring if others live or die. He will not go down with that ship, if it does in fact, sink.

Perhaps he should have stayed. Under the circumstances, it is commendable that he does. Why? It has to do with taking responsibilities for your actions. It is also about not letting others in the same boat to bear the cost alone. Sometimes, all it requires to avoid a sinking ship is unity and cooperation, a mad scramble to fix the cause of faults. Plug that hole, bail out the water, get rid of unnecessary weight, all hands on board, and everyone might come out of this nightmare alive yet. Davey Jones will not have his day.

If all else fails, then you make sure that everyone is off the ship. Sometimes, there is no saving a sinking vessel. In fact, the bigger it is, the harder it might be to save that ship. Just ask the Titanic.

Needless to say, a sea vessel must always have a life-boat or several at hand. Life-jackets are necessary too, enough for everyone. Have plans for your plans. You can never have too many good ones, not if you don’t have that perfect one.

In conclusion, do not go down with that ship if you have the means to safety. If the ship itself can be saved, it is preferable to do so, especially if there are others in the same boat with you. And if you do have to bail out, then make sure that everyone else does as well. All lives matter.

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