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How Ships Stop If They Don't Have Brakes

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Have you ever wondered why didn't the Titanic just hit the brakes as you would do with the car? Well, of course, because ships don’t have brakes! But why?

The first thing that comes to mind is that ships move in water – duh! – how do you even brake in water? But then you need to remember that even airplanes have something similar to brakes, and they work to slow down a plane in the air! It seems like it’s not that simple, after all.

Other videos you might like:
Titanic VS Modern Cruise Ships https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=a5ZwuzydnR8&
Why Ships Are Red Below the Waterline https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dtywl0OBj5g&
What If You Fell off a Cruise Ship https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UIaaAz54tYg&

What makes brakes work 0:41
Mechanism of stopping a ship 1:05
The best decision 3:53
How far is that vessel? 6:13

- Every kind of brakes out there works because of friction. When you hit brakes in a car, it stops because brake pads tightly grip wheels’ rotors and cause a lot of friction, basically restricting them from moving at all.
- Motorized ships are mostly driven either by the motion of propellers or by a jet stream of water shot from the nozzle.
- Ships still have brakes, though, they just need a lot more to properly work.
- To produce more friction, the first thing a ship needs to do is to reverse her thrust.
- The friction with water depends on three main factors: the surface of the ship, her velocity, and viscosity of the water.
- The bigger the velocity, the more the power with which water will drag this ship back because the friction and the water resistance will also almost reach infinity.
- A much better decision is to start turning the ship. While propellers provide a reverse thrust, the ship’s inertia is still moving it forward.
- In general, ships don’t even need emergency brakes. There is usually enough space to make a maneuver even without reversing thrust, and to stay on the spot ships deploy anchors.
- You may think things are much better for small yachts and motorboats as they are much more maneuverable, but they also go faster.
- If two boats head towards each other at a similar speed, the distance until the crash will cut in half, and the collision will be almost inevitable.
- But another thing does pose a great danger– ships come in different sizes. That means it’s much harder to tell how far from you is another vessel.
- The lack of an effective way to stop is also the reason why ships have good signaling systems.
- So overall ships can’t stop in place, because water won’t let them do that. But seamen learned how to avoid trouble related to that.

Music by Epidemic Sound https://www.epidemicsound.com/

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