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b) the line painted on the side of a ship to indicate its load weight
"The lives of countless sailors and passengers have been saved by the use of the plimsoll line, a visual device to prevent over-loading"
Did you know?
Did You Know?
The plimsoll line represents a fascinating bit of history and demonstrates how a simple creative solution can save millions of pounds and thousands of lives:
As the Napoleanic wars drew to a close and the Industrial Revolution swept Britain, the British Isles became increasingly dependant on merchant shipping for imports of the raw materials needed to support her growing industry.
Manufactured goods replaced ballast stones on ships departing for the far-flung outposts of the British Empire. The great rewards enjoyed on the safe arrival of a sailing vessel loaded with Asian cargo were matched only by the risks of the voyage.
Crowds of well-wishers, owners, family and investors, cheered the departure of ships loaded with valuable cargoes. After the mast-tops faded below the horizon little or nothing would be heard of these ships for months. There were no undersea telegraph cables, no shipboard radios to signal the fate of a ship and her crew. The last word on many fine ships and men was a posting at Lloyd's - "Missing, presumed lost - their fates unknown".
Adventure has its limits, however, and by 1836 public concern about the loss of ships and crews reached the point where Parliament was forced to appoint a committee to investigate the growing number of shipwrecks.
In 1870 Samuel Plimsoll, a member of Parliament from the industrial Midlands, demanded creation of a safety limit, a "load line" to limit the weight of cargo loaded aboard ships. Plimsoll exposed what he described as "coffin ships" created by overloading, and drafted a bill to improve conditions aboard merchant vessels - his most significant proposal being the application of a few gallons of paint to the hull of every ship - the plimsoll line.
Since then every merchant ship afloat carries the "signature" of Samuel Plimsoll, a politician from Derby, part of England closer to horse racing and Robin Hood than the sea.
Wishing you safe sailing today.
All the best,
Today's Learning Tip (8):
Leonardo wrote his notes in mirror-writing, from right to left. Be like Da Vinci and write your new word as it would appear in reflection. The extra effort may help you learn it (another variation is to write the text upside down).
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