The Iceberg Hunters that Helped Us Avoid Another Titanic Disaster

On the surface of the blue water of the sea floats an ice island of white. The sea is calm. The water is smooth and blue. The ice is clear and white. The sky is clear

The Iceberg Hunters that Helped Us Avoid Another Titanic Disaster

Iceberg hunters protected the seas to avoid another tragedy like the one that befell the Titanic. This wasn’t a private organization by any means, but rather the United States Coast Guard. While it might seem out of the Coast Guard’s usual job description, the service actively sought out icebergs to help make the seas safer for all ships.

The International Ice Patrol

Iceberg Hunters
Four long years meant that the waterways were dangerous for shipping vessels looking out for ice.

Established in 1914, the iceberg hunters of the International Ice Patrol would be instrumental in keeping waterways safe for all ocean-faring vessels. The Coast Guard is still the primary operating force behind it, and efforts are centered around the North Atlantic.

A Necessary Job

Iceberg Hunters
While simple ships might not seem enough to keep an eye out for icebergs, information saves lives.

The iceberg hunters at the focus of this newsreel have sought out the giant chunks of ice as their primary mission. If any group is prepared to take on the task, it would certainly be the United States Coast Guard.

Paused for War

Iceberg Hunters
The war had led to more dangerous conditions for ships, but that was long over.

From 1941 to 1945, the iceberg hunters of the International Ice Patrol had to go on hiatus. The risk to their own boats while unrestricted naval warfare was happening was just too high.

The Hard Work

Iceberg Hunters
Despite the churning waters below them, the men of the Coast Guard had important work to do.

The Northern Atlantic poses many potential threats from icebergs to wintry storms. As such, the iceberg hunters of the International Ice Patrol have their work cut out for them.

Keeping the Seas Safe

Iceberg Hunters
While the end of the war had come, the ocean still had other dangers to contend with.

With the end of the Second World War, the oceans were made much safer. However, that meant the iceberg hunters of the Coast Guard were tasked with keeping shipping vessels in the loop about potential hazards on the waterways.

Grim Reminders

Iceberg Hunters
The Titanic’s sinking was mere decades removed from this footage, but the Coast Guard had been keeping the waterways safe in the wake of the accident.

The Coast Guard established its iceberg hunters in direct response to the tragedy of the RMS Titanic. Many hard lessons were learned after the incident, which established the need for a dedicated group to hunt out and report icebergs to all sea-faring ships.

Danger Averted

International Ice Patrol
While massive chunks of ice like this cut an impressive figure in the water, most of the mass is below visual detection.

For smaller icebergs, cutters could handle breaking up the solid mass. However, for larger ones like the one in this footage are best reported to nearby ships by the iceberg hunters.

Hidden Depth

International Ice Patrol
This iceberg makes the Coast Guard ship seem small by comparison.

These aren’t just large pieces of ice, but gargantuan in scope. The one pictured above is mostly submerged beneath the water. While this might not seem like much, we’re talking thousands of pounds of solid ice that won’t give way.

Constant Vigilance

International Ice Patrol
The inclusion of air patrols was a new thing for the Coast Guard, but invaluable for gathering information.

The iceberg hunters of the International Ice Patrol’s most important task was to keep an eye on these massive chunks of ice. As you can see from the above image, some of these chunks of ice can make even a larger vessel seem small by comparison.

By Sea and Air

International Ice Patrol
The Coast Guard still uses larger transport planes for monitoring icebergs.

The post-war saw the Coast Guard implementing aerial patrols in addition to their ships. Compared to previous efforts, this greatly expanded the scope of their operations.

Safer Waterways

International Ice Patrol
The Coast Guard has kept this operation going since 1945 without interruption.

Despite the looming presence of such massive pieces of ice, the iceberg hunters of the Coast Guard have done a spectacular job. The reason you don’t hear about more maritime disasters going back through history is a testament to the dedication of the Coast Guard in this mission.

Watch the Full Video

International Ice Patrol
The North Atlantic is kept safe thanks to the diligence and hard work of the Coast Guard.

The end of the Second World War meant life could go on as intended. This includes incredible stories like the one featured in today’s recap, which you can view here. The Coast Guard still operates the International Ice Patrol, and it is even more cutting-edge than it was in 1945.

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