Edward J. Smith has the dubious distinction of being captain of the ill-fated RMS Titanic. It was under Smith's stewardship that the massive ocean liner hit an iceberg and sank in the icy waters of the North Atlantic in the early morning hours of April 15, 1912. More than 1,500 souls went down with the ship. Captain "E.J." Smith was one of them.
Though Smith's name is forever linked to the Titanic, he spent only a tiny fraction of his career aboard the doomed ship. By the time he perished in 1912, Smith had amassed over 40 years of maritime experience, much of it with the White Star Line, the company that owned and operated the Titanic.
Born in England in 1850, Smith rose from relatively humble origins to become one of the most popular sea captains on the Atlantic Ocean. But life at sea is risky, a fact Smith knew all too well. He may have boasted a strong safety record, but a string of maritime incidents suggests it wasn't as pristine as he liked to imagine.
These accidents did nothing to sink his popularity, however. When the 62-year-old captain went down with his ship, he was already a legend.