The captain ordered the lifeboats to be prepared and the passengers to put on life belts. The Titanic had room in the lifeboats for 1178 people, but on her first and only voyage there were more than a thousand more people on board. Telegraph operators began broadcasting the SOS distress signal so that nearby boats would steer to the Titanic and rescue people from it.
Confused and dazed passengers had difficulty understanding what was happening. They did not want to leave the ship in small, dangerous lifeboats. Lifeboat number seven with room for 65 people was lowered with only 28 people on board. Lifeboat number 1, with room for 40, rowed away with 12 people. But as the slope increased and the bow sank further and further into the water, more and more people wanted to leave the ship. It was then discovered that there were no lifeboats left on board! More than 1000 people remained on the Titanic and they saw no boats in sight to help them.