Could Jack Have Somehow Survived The Titanic Disaster?

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Rose’s life jacket could have been tied under the raft to provide additional buoyancy. As Mythbusters demonstrated in real conditions, the increased buoyant force would have been enough to support their combined weight.

Jack and Rose are floating neck-deep in the bone-chilling water somewhere in the Atlantic. Jack makes Rose promise that she will survive and live a long and happy life, no matter what happens. However, the icy water has sealed both of their fates.

A rescue boat arrives looking for survivors and rouses Rose from her feeble, semi-frozen state. She begs Jack to wake up but realizes that he has passed away, sacrificing his own life to save her.

titanic jack and rose plank scene
The final moment (Image Credit: 20th Century Fox)

The heartbreakingly poignant scene just before the end of Titanic is familiar to the entire world. As such, it was an unprecedented blockbuster in film history, and the validity of this particular scene has been the center of much debate and scrutiny. People, predominantly Jack’s fans, claim that Jack and Rose could have fit on the floating piece of a broken door and that the movie’s ending didn’t have to be so painful!

However, is it true? Could Jack have survived the Titanic disaster by climbing onto the raft after lifting Rose? Did Jack really have to die?

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Was There Enough Space On The Raft To Fit Both Jack And Rose?

In short… yes.

For twenty years, Titanic lovers have been a bit enraged over this particular scene and have offered several explanations as to how there was enough room for both Rose and Jack to fit on the raft.

Also Read: Would The RMS Titanic Have Survived If It Had Collided Head-On With The Iceberg?

Possible Positions To Fit Both Jack And Rose On The Same Raft

Movie enthusiasts have suggested several positions that Jack and Rose could have tried to fit on the raft together. The following picture might give you an idea of what was proposed.

rose and jack positions on raft
Different positions where both Jack and Rose could have managed to survive together in the seemingly meager space on the raft (Image Source: Imgur-

Despite what some people said, there was enough space for them to fit together on the raft.

However, James Cameron, the director of Titanic, never concerned himself with the amount of space available on the raft. He has always maintained that the issue was not the amount of space but rather the buoyancy of the raft.

Buoyancy is the upward force that a fluid (in this case, water) exerts against the weight of an object immersed in it, and this natural force prevents Jack from climbing onto it.

Titanic Ship bouyancy

You may have heard about buoyancy in relation to ships and boats, particularly how small nails sink in water, but giant ships stay afloat, and so on.

Cameron suggested that the water did not offer enough buoyancy to the raft to support both of their weights, so Jack could not climb onto it.

Also Read: Why Didn’t The Passengers Of The Titanic Climb Aboard The Iceberg To Save Themselves From The Sinking Ship?

Could Jack Have Fit On The Door?

Indeed, the raft shown in the movie Titanic could not have supported both Jack and Rose together. However, increasing the buoyancy of the raft could have prevented Jack’s unfortunate death. 

Mythbusters, a popular TV show, presented a solution to this problem. They added more upward thrust to the raft by tying Rose’s life jacket under it. The additional buoyant force would have supported their combined weight and protected them from the icy waters until the rescue boats arrived. 

I urge you to watch this short video from Mythbusters to learn more: 

It turns out that using Rose’s life-jacket, along with some ‘buoyant’ intelligence, could have saved Jack’s day. When James Cameron, the director of Titanic, saw this, he acknowledged that Jack could have saved himself, but the script required Jack to die.

Jack crying

He said, “I think you guys are missing the point here. The script says Jack dies. He has to die. So maybe we screwed up, and the board should have been a little tiny bit smaller, but the dude’s going down.”

Sorry, Jack! Turns out it just wasn’t your day.

Last Updated By: Ashish Tiwari

References (click to expand)
  1. It's Definitive: Rose and Jack Could Both Have Survived in ....
  2. Stettler, J. W., & Thomas, B. S. (2013, June). Flooding and structural forensic analysis of the sinking of the RMS Titanic. Ships and Offshore Structures. Informa UK Limited.
  3. Deitz, D. (2012, April 1). How Did the Titanic Sink?. Mechanical Engineering. ASME International.
About the Author

Ashish is a Science graduate (Bachelor of Science) from Punjabi University (India). He spearheads the content and editorial wing of ScienceABC and manages its official Youtube channel. He’s a Harry Potter fan and tries, in vain, to use spells and charms (Accio! [insert object name]) in real life to get things done. He totally gets why JRR Tolkien would create, from scratch, a language spoken by elves, and tries to bring the same passion in everything he does. A big admirer of Richard Feynman and Nikola Tesla, he obsesses over how thoroughly science dictates every aspect of life… in this universe, at least.

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