In preparation for Olympic’s sea trials, four tugs – Alexandra, Herculaneum, Hornby and Wallasey – were sent over from Alexandra Towing in Liverpool. They joined Harland & Wolff’s yard tug, Hercules. On 28th May 1911, the five tugs moved in and swung Olympic round to face Belfast Lough. The next day Olympic was towed out into Belfast Lough where she anchored briefly. The compasses were adjusted and the wireless system was tested. She then headed for the Victoria Channel and the open sea, to conduct her sea trials.
For two days, Captain Smith conducted a complex and thorough series of tests and manœuvres. These were designed to enable him and his senior officers understand their new command, at that time the largest vessel afloat. During one sequence of speed trials, the liner was said to have reached a maximum of 21¾ knots. Also aboard was a Board of Trade surveyor, Francis Carruthers. Olympic returned to Belfast Lough on the morning of 31st May, in time to form part of the backdrop for Titanic’s launch.