In the mid 19th century, greedy British ship-owners overloaded their cargo holds and gleefully pocketed the insurance profits when the ships foundered and sank. Many sailors lost their lives on these ‘coffin ships’.
Samuel Plimsoll waged a battle against this practice. As a result, the Merchant Shipping Act of 1876 decreed that all cargo vessels must display the Plimsoll Line – an indicator of the limit to which they can be safely and legally loaded. Why? Because ships float at different levels depending on the warmth and consistency of the water. A ship loaded to capacity in a North Atlantic salt water port, would be in danger of riding too low and possibly sinking at a fresh water port in the tropics.
What’s this got to do with you and me? Well, modern day individuals and organizations have their limits, too. How cool would it be if each carried a Plimsoll line? You’d know when you were reaching your stability limit, and you’d also be able to see the current state of those around you.
Of course, we don’t come equipped with Plimsoll Lines. But this modern day set of indicators might offer a few clues to individual load and capacity: Read More…
This post was written by Pat Katz on July 17, 2013