Women and Children ... Last?

When ships sink, men, crew have higher survival rates, says study
By Liam Carnahan,  Newser Staff
Posted Jul 31, 2012 3:51 PM CDT
Women and Children ... Last?
The Costa Concordia accident was just one example of a captain abandoning ship before passengers.   (Flickr)

If you ever find yourself on board a sinking ship, you'd better hope you're an adult male. Researchers from Sweden looked at 18 of the most disastrous shipwrecks and found that women and children are far less likely to survive compared to their male counterparts, the Los Angeles Times reports. What's worse, captains and crew members had higher survival rates than all passengers, shattering the notion that captains must go down with their ship. In fact, there is no maritime law that requires captains to remain aboard their sinking vessel.

Crew members fared the best, with a survival rate of 61%, followed by captains at 44%. Men were the next most likely to survive (37%), then women (27%) and lastly children (15%). Researchers say men and crew members have greater knowledge of the ship, making it easier for them to get to life boats—and they aren't as keen to sacrifice themselves as some may believe. But don't let this distort your sense of history. There were some exceptions to the rule, including the famed Titanic voyage, in which women's survival rate was three times higher than other disasters. (In case you're wondering, the Costa Concordia disaster was not included in the study.)

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