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The SS United States' 24 lifeboats plus her additional rafts could hold 4,060 people — over 1,000 more than the ship itself could hold booked at 100 percent capacity. Welin Davit Boat Company constructed SS United States’ last line of safety measures: each lifeboat was constructed entirely in aluminum. The aluminum build reduced the weight of the boats, allowing for ease of handling in case on an emergency.

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Radar was a relatively new technology in 1952 and was among the first ocean liners to use it.

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Shuffleboard was popular on the ship, as was "deck tennis" similar to regular tennis in that it involved a net, but passengers would toss a rubber disk back and forth instead of hitting a ball with rackets.

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The bridge was equipped with a helm compass, engine telegraphs, radar units, magnetic compass and other controls. Behind the bridge on the port side was the damage control room which contained the controls for the fire alarm systems, watertight and firescreen doors and other emergency systems. Some windows on the front of the bridge were equipped with a type of "windshield wiper" that would allow the crew to see in the event of heavy rain, snow or ice storms.

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The radar mast was also one of the highest points on the ship, so in addition to her radar "eyes", a lookout could be stationed there to warn the captain of any danger in the ship's path.

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On most ships, wooden pucks were used on the shuffleboard courts, but in accordance with the SS United States' strict rule preventing combustible materials, the Big U's pucks were made of plastic.

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Because of the ship's great speed, the SS United States had large wind deflectors so that passengers on the sports deck would not be uncomfortable.


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Rudder design was deemed important because the RMS Titanic's relatively small rudder was a contributing factor in that ship's collision with an iceberg and tragic sinking on her maiden voyage in 1912.

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This configuration was tested and selected for its superior hydrodynamic performance, and the design was overseen by the pioneering Gibbs & Cox female engineer Elaine Kaplan.

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In addition to her complement of over 3,000 passengers and crew, the SS United States could carry 148,000 cubic feet of cargo — the equivalent of 37 modern semi trailers.