It doesn't take Thomas Andrews long to conclude that Titanic doesn't have much time. He also knows that while Titanic carries more than the required lifeboats for a ship that size, there aren't enough seats to save all aboard. Unfortunately the world found out the hard way that while the size of ships were growing so fast, the safety regulations didn't keep up.
The lifeboats are ordered uncovered at 12:05 am by Captain Smith. He also ordered a distress signal sent. The Olympic, the Frankfurt, and the Carpathia all reply. The Carpathia is the closest at 58 miles.
At 12:25 am orders are given to put the women and children into the lifeboats. There is much confusion during the entire process, as rumors fly about what is actually going on, what the real danger, if any, is, and who should be doing what. This is a new crew on a new ship, and the only boat drills that were held included just a few crew members and one boat - no passengers at all.