You're onboard the Poseidon. Do you stay or go? (minor spoilers)

This is a hypothetical question for viewers of Poseidon and/or The Poseidon Adventure since they have the same basic setup, which you probably are aware of just from seeing the trailers for Poseidon:

Due to unexpected rough weather, the Poseidon ends up upside down. Many several guests gather in the ballroom and a figure of authority assures people that the ballroom is the safest place. Someone disagrees, and a small group sets out to look for a way off the ship.

You are standing in the ballroom, and hear both the reassurance and the objection. Are you going to stay in the ballroom or go with the people trying to find their way out?

I would have been ambivalent if I was on the original ship, but I would have gone if on the ship Poseidon because there’s a different objection:

In the new movie the person who decides most of the group is an architect who tells them that there’s no way that the ballroom will withstand the strain for the “several hours” the captain says it will take for rescue.

Sure, I’d probably end up drowning or having something else terrible happen - I’ve got a poor sense of direction so if I got separated from the group I’d be toast - but I’d of been swayed to make the attempt. My tendency to trust (what I perceive as) expertise over authority would have had me hurrying to follow the group out of the ballroom.

What would you have done?

I would do the opposite of what the crew suggested. Years ago I saw a series on TV about maritime disasters. The one constant was the people who listened to the crew died, the people who did the opposite lived. So if you are told, “It’s a small fire and will be out soon,” abandon ship. If you are told to take to the water, stay aboard and wait to be rescued.

If I was an extra I’d stay, if I was one of the stars I’d probubly go, if I was a big star I might even survive.

In the original, I’d go. The crew member wasn’t the Captain and Hackman made a very compelling argument.

Haven’t seen teh remake but if the Captain is tehre I’d die with the rest of teh sheep thining he knew what he was talking about. Mind you recent history shows anyone who sits and waits in a disater tends to perish.

I would’ve definitely gone- ASAP. All it would take is one imperfection in those huge windows, and you’re going to drown. Those windows weren’t designed to be underwater.

There’s a reason submarines don’t have big windows, ya know.

You might have to nobly sacrifice yourself for the others, though. Better to be a middling star. Best of all to be a 12 year-old. That way, not only are you guaranteed to survive, you even get to wander off once or twice and have an adult get killed while rescuing you.

That reminds me… how far down do you think they would’ve been at that point? A good portion of the ship’s bottom was above water, even at the end… I wonder if it would’ve been possible to just swim to the surface?

How? I mean you can’t just break a window and pop out. Water will be rushing in in large volume. You’d likely drown trying to just get out of the ship. Plus you have all of those explosions to deal with.

Mind you the whole idea that if you crawl up to the bottom of the ship you will get rescued is a pretty big crap shoot anyway. I mean first the damned thing has to be found out in the middle of the ocean and that is supposing your plight is even cared about with the fact that a wave big enough to tip a ship is likely destroying a good deal of ocean front properyt somewhere nearby. Likely the place that would have mounted the rescue.

If somehow you are the only casualty of the wave someone has to bring the proper cutting tools and finally figure out someone was fool enough to make it to the top/bottom of the ship and knew the thinnest point to climb to.

Whew! Still I love the original… pure goofy fun.

Most people would have difficulty swimming the length of a standard sized swimming pool completely underwater under ideal conditions. Now imagine swimming in cold water (it was cold, right?), clothed, for many times that length. Most people would drown long before they hit the surface.

And I definitely wouldn’t trust huge picture windows underwater. Remember that depth increases pressure at a rate of one atmosphere per 33 feet. How many atmospheres of pressure were on those windows? Two? Three? More?

I’d have to go find a way off.

Not necessarily. Didn’t they establish a couple years ago that large waves in the ocean are actually pretty common even without huge storms or tectonic activity? Just like in any other medium, waves meet and reinforce or cancel each other out, and sometimes very large waves emerge.

I’m probably a goner either way, but I would have at least attempted to get out of the ballroom. I can imagine large crowds panicking far too easily to want to hang around them.

The first thing I would do would be to change out of my red shirt.

Actually, how did the ballroom windows not instantly collapse? Hmmm…

Safest bet would probably be to find a life jacket and climb “up” the ship until you reach the highest (formerly lowest) cabin deck, i.e. a porthole as close to the surface as possible, or other access point. Seal the cabin door behind you as tightly as possible and open the porthole. Water will rush in and the moment the cabin is filled (and hopefully before the cabin door explodes into the corridor from the pressure) climb out wearing your life jacket, bob to the surface, begin mentally drafting your letter to the cruise line demanding a full refund.

Climbing all the way up to the solid hull, which has no egress, is a sure way to drown if the ship starts to sink. It’s kind of like fears that people who climbed into their attics (as opposed to onto their roofs) during Katrina drowned when the water kept rising and they had no way out. Did that actually happen, by the way?

Kingpengvin – We’re talking about an enormous cruise ship here, with several thousand passengers, and a clearly defined route. I think a pretty massive rescue effort would get underway pretty quickly, and cutting torches would be standard equipment even if capsizing wasn’t immediately suspected.

And the rogue wave phenomenon they apparently cite in the film would probably not affect the shoreline. The “tidal wave” referenced in the original, in contrast, would probably not have affected ships at sea.

The only historical instances of big ships capsizing and survivors being rescued that I can think of have been in port – the USS Oklahoma at Pearl Harbor, for example. In those, the rescuers didn’t go roaming around in the ship – they cut holes in the hull where they heard banging, and extracted the survivors. Rescuers would be even less likely to want to enter a ship capsized in the open ocean and in immediate danger of sinking.

If the Captain claimed that somehow we’d be safest in the part of the ship furthest under water, surrounded by picture windows, I’d figure he’d been drinking heavily at dinner, and plan on departing immediately.

If I recall the original, the Captain (Leslie Neilsen), went to the bridge when he got a report of rough seas. The officer who tried to calm people was, I think, the Chief Purser. Listening to him about a purely naval situation is like listening to the manager of a hotel. Besides, I seem to remember the arguement going:

“The Captain will make everything all right.”

“The Captain was on the bridge. The bridge is now underneath us. He’s dead now.”

I know who I’d be more swayed by.

The first time I saw the original, all I grasped was that he was a ship guy. Someone in authority who probably knows things about ships! Also, if I’d just been thrown from the floor to the ceiling, I can see myself wanting to just sit for awhile, rather than climb a Christmas tree in an evening gown. (Unless, of course, my gown came with the matching shorts which I just happened to be wearing under my removable skirt, like that one girl.)

I’d have totally drowned.

In my life I tend to listen to people who I perceive to know the most. If an architect tells me the ship wasn’t really built to be upside down I’d probably listen and go with him.

If, however, I’m not in a position to hear the architects argument (like most in the most recent movie weren’t), I’d probably believe the captain and stay.

I may be completely wrong here, so feel free to correct me on what I’ve gotten wrong.

I haven’t seen Poseidon, but I did watch a thing on Discovery or somewhere about the making of it. One of the scenes they showed was, as best I can remember was the computer animation of the wave hitting the ship and being at least 3-4 times the height of the ship.

I just got off a cruise ship a few weeks ago and the thing was over a hundred feet tall. So we’re talking about a wave 300-400 feet high in mid ocean!

Now I do recall that in mid ocean, typical tsunami are a few inches tall, they only rise up when the water gets shallower. So applying that ratio to the movie, that wave would have been…what?..over 6,000 feet high when it hit land? What causes a wave of that magnitude?

I’m thinking a big mofo asteroid strike, one big enough to eliminate all humankind from the earth.

So, I would stay, preferiring quick drowning in the ship to the sheer hell that would be waiting for me if I made it out of the ship. No, thanks, I would’ve stayed. (If I had been able to see the size of the wave that hit us)

That might keep you from drowning, but if there weren’t rescuers right quick, you’d probably die of hypothermia.

I haven’t seen either movie, but I think I’d be inclined to listen to the captain in most situations… except if he told me to stay in a huge room made of glass. I may go along with authority, but I’m not stupid.

Would you guys seriously need an architect to tell you that boats aren’t built to be upside down for any length of time? Or that window glass won’t withstand much pressure?

I am out of that room, pronto. Get out somehow and bob to the surface, trying to remember to exhale slowly. If I get bent, hopefully someone will get me to a chamber. Or I’ll be dead of hypothermia. But I’ll be out of the ship.

Cold vs. crushed? I’ll take “cold with a slight chance of rescue” over “crushed at depth.”