I recently attended a workshop and heard the term “Plimsoll Line.” I am an admitted nautical novice, and the concept of the Plimsoll Line was intriguing.
Samuel Plimsoll (1824-1898) was an English politician and social reformer who is best remembered for developing what is known today as the Plimsoll Line. It is a mark on ships that helps determine how much weight the ship can safely carry.
The draught (the distance between the water line and the ship’s keel) is determined, which is different on various kinds of ships. This distance between the waterline and the bottom of the ship informs the crew as to how much weight can be loaded and safely carried. Water temperature is a factor (warm water is less dense the cold water), which decreases buoyancy. The same is true of salt or fresh water – fresh water provides less buoyancy, too.