Plimsoll Day is held every February 10, and we are excited to celebrate the series of events that brought about safety to our ships and dock — and Samuel Plimsoll, the great man who championed the initiative that brought about this safety. Did you know that in the early years, Commercial sailing was one of the world’s deadliest means of transport? But thanks to Samuel Plimsoll, that has gradually become a thing of the past as a greater percentage of commercial ships travel and return safely with heavy cargoes all over the world today.
History of Plimsoll Day
Plimsoll lines are an important aspect of ships that have radically changed the narratives of commercial sailing over centuries, but before they came on board, numerous casualties and accidents marred the ship transport sector. It was not unusual to hear news of capsized commercial ships in the middle of the ocean leading to crew members’ deaths or accidents on the docks as cargoes were being loaded or unloaded on the ships.
The reasons for all these shipping accidents were not too far-fetched. The majority of these ships were overloaded or poorly loaded. Samuel Plimsoll, an English politician and social reformer in 1853, ventured into the coal shipping business, but he ended up failing woefully and losing a lot of fortune. It was at this time he got to know and understand the challenges those sailors faced in their line of work, and he began to make moves to secure safer practices in the commercial shipping sector.
Samuel Plimsoll led the motions for reforms and regulations of the shipping industry when he finally became a member of the British Parliament, advocating for and leading the institution of England’s Merchant Shipping act of 1876 and the Unseaworthy Ships Bill, which both saw to the birth of Plimsoll lines.
Plimsoll lines appear at the hulls of ships, and they help to indicate the maximum safe draft. They are still very relevant even today, and Plimsoll Day is both to celebrate Samuel Plimsoll for his achievements and remind shipping companies and sailors that their safety is paramount even as they live their daily seafaring lives.
Plimsoll Day timeline
The first sailing ships are built by the Austronesians, now the people of Taiwan, sailing vast distances in the ocean.
The island of Rhodes institutes the first laws to govern and determine shipping conducts and seafaring trade on the Mediterranean Sea.
On February 10, Samuel Plimsoll is born in Bristol, England.
The book Samuel Plimsoll wrote two years to this time, “Our Seaman”, which was an appeal, leads to the passing of the bill which birthed the Plimsoll line.
Plimsoll Day FAQs
Where is Plimsoll Day celebrated?
The day is celebrated in the U.S., U.K., and several other countries of the world that recognize the import of plimsoll lines in the shipping industry.
Do cruise ships have Plimsoll Lines?
Yes. It is also known as a load line, and most cruise ships and boats have it.
What happens if a boat is loaded way beyond the Plimsoll line?
Overloading on a ship can be very harmful. It causes instability, and difficulty in maneuvering, and the ship can sink.
How to Observe Plimsoll Day
Read up on Plimsoll lines
What better opportunity do you need to brush up on your knowledge about plimsoll lines? Read materials online about the troubles that affected the shipping industry in the 1800s and how the Plimsoll line works.
Float a handmade paper or wooden boat
Plimsoll Day is a good time to bring out the inner sailor in you. Make paper or wooden boats and fill them with tiny cargoes to float on the water and study how they fare.
Visit a shipyard
What better way to celebrate Plimsoll day than to see the plimsoll line on several ships for yourself? Visit any shipyard around you and study the plimsoll line, and the sailors will be all pumped up to explain how it works to you.
5 Important Facts About Ships
They have a life-span
Most Cargo ships that sail in the ocean have a lifespan of 20 to 30 years.
Compass in ships
The Chinese were the first to conceive the idea of using a compass in a ship, and it quickly gained ground in other parts of the world.
Largest merchant fleets
Greece boasts of the largest merchant fleet in the world, accounting for about 16% tonnage.
The ‘Titanic Ship’ was the biggest man-made moving object in the world when it was made.
‘The World’ is the largest privately-owned cruise ship with over 165 residences where residents can live permanently as it travels the world.
Why Plimsoll Day is Important
Plimsoll line brought safety to our waterways
Plimsoll day holds a special place in our hearts because of the safety plimsoll line brought to commercial shipping. It secured the lives of crew members and sailors.
It made life easier
Plimsoll has made cargo transport easier by adding our lives to the global space, as we all can trade, and transport food, resources, and all the things we need as individuals and countries to bring satisfaction to our lives. We love this!
It’s a commemoration of great deeds
We are elated at the opportunity to remember and celebrate Samuel Plimsoll, who fought and strove hard to bring about the revolutionary change that brought the needed changes to commercial shipping. It’s a wonderful day to celebrate his achievements.
Plimsoll Day dates